I am on a journey to explore human-centered design.  I’ve been doing social media for over 10 years now and it’s time to look in depth at how to use social media for social good by taking a 5-week human-centered design class, put on by IDEO.org.  In this class, I’ll going to learn to create innovative, effective and sustainable ways of enacting social change worldwide.

Human-centered design is based on the principle that product design is more about the user experience than the materials, machinery or hardware.  IDEO's David Kelley has helped  spark these new ideas by harnessing and infusing innovation into businesses.  Kelley sees people and the organizations they run as the key to designing sustainable, unique products.

This is not a textbook or instructor-driven class.  Each design team of two to six people will take on one of three social sector design challenges in their community.  It’s a unique opportunity to bring a real-life business or social issue to the table and get input from the best problem solvers out there –  your peers!  This also isn't entirely team-driven — part of the course involves interviewing members of the community and testing out prototypes of concepts and designs on the ground.  At the conclusion of the class, each team member commits to their next social sector design challenge.

With all the newest technology available to us and the explosion of online learning, this is one class that actually will meet in person once a week.  But the teams will also have access to a larger online Google community that Acumen has created, to allow for cross-pollination of ideas and a forum for questions.

This is a truly exciting pilot class, which has over 3,500 people signed up worldwide, and it’s free!  Registration for the pilot class has closed, but you can learn more about the human-centered design coursework at the Acumen website.  It's the next new trend in team-based, student-led learning.

I’ve started thinking quite a bit about what topic our team could tackle in the 5-week class.  It probably wouldn't take you long to come up with a problem in your business or personal life that needs an innovative solution.  What topic would you tackle?

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