Human centered design (HCD) emerged from the private sector and has been gaining traction in the social impact field for fostering new and lasting solutions. HCD prioritizes a participatory, bottom-up process where end users and other stakeholders play a lead role in shaping solutions to meet their needs. With a holistic understanding of the problem at hand and those affected, HCD improves strategic decision-making and the effectiveness of programs through rapid cycles of prototyping and iteration.
The Design Impact Group (DIG) is the only design practice embedded within a strategic consultancy purely focused on social impact. Our approaches are iterative, measurable, and results-driven. DIG engages individuals, communities, organizations, and governments to foster creative solutions to the root causes and complex systems that limit economic opportunity and human potential. Our unique, hybrid model combines the best skills in HCD and systems thinking with the robust strategy, planning, and measurement capabilities of Dalberg to create significant added value for our clients and partners. While most design practices focus purely on end-users, we apply HCD methods to stakeholders across the entire value chain – from agents to government officials – to support better decision-making and institutional change.
To learn more about our approach to social impact, read this piece from the Stanford Social Innovation Review.
DIG is led by Ravi Chhatpar and Robert Fabricant, former strategy and creative leaders at the international design consultancy, frog. We have design teams in New York, London and Nairobi.
Service and program design. We work with all stakeholders, from end-beneficiaries to key decision-makers, to align around the most promising opportunities that create value across the entire service delivery experience before engaging in specific program designs.
Product and business prototypes. We rapidly prototype and test assumptions to validate new product, program, or business concepts, and to drive monitoring and evaluation. Our approach takes full advantage of the broader management consulting capabilities of Dalberg to ensure that we test both behavioral and business hypotheses in an integrated and iterative manner.
Innovation strategy and capacity building. We create toolkits and other training materials to support capacity building in a wide range of organizations in the public and private sector. We take a hands-on approach, bolstered by a strong sense of curiosity and empathy, driving learning through active engagement.
Design labs. We employ a diverse set of skills and techniques drawn from lateral thinking, participatory design, scenario planning, and system mapping to provide participants with regular prompts and provocations that push their thinking and generate fresh ideas. We have successfully applied our facilitation methods to small groups of 5-10 people and large sessions with more than 200 participants.
Making small-scale fisheries sustainable is an urgent ecological, economic, and social challenge. Nearly 40% of fisheries have collapsed or are overexploited, risking the livelihoods and food security of billions of people and pressuring countless species in the world’s most bio-diverse waters. With the support of the Rockefeller Foundation Oceans & Fisheries Initiative, DIG was brought on board to create innovative solutions for the sustainable management of small-scale fisheries.
Our team worked with fishers, government, and industry stakeholders Indonesia and Chile to create and pilot promising solutions to shift small-scale fishers to more sustainable fishing practices while reducing risks to their livelihoods. We co-designed, prototyped, tested, and refined solutions anchored in deep insights into fisher values, needs, behaviors, and motivations. We used ecosystem mapping, value-chain analysis, and business modeling to create financial models, success metrics, and staging plans to support each pilot.
Based on our participatory and immersive human centered design approach, we launched two pilot programs with the support of local partners and fishing groups: the Fisher Stewardship Program in Indonesia’s Blue Swimming Crab Fishery and the Fisher Knowledge Exchange Platform in multiple fishing communities in Chile. These programs focus on fishers themselves as the primary drivers of sustainability.
To learn more about this project, take a look at our dedicated fisheries page.
DIG works with clients in more than 20 countries across the public and private sector targeting opportunities in a diverse range of fields, including but not limited to: public health, financial inclusion, ICT, education, disaster response, sustainability, youth employment and gender equality. A broad set of DIG case studies can be found here.
To read more about our work, see our insights or contact:
Robert Fabricant, New York
Ravi Chhatpar, London