Design Thinking for Social Innovation and Application to Maternal, Newborn, and Child Health


Linda Vesel, Concern Worldwide US
Jahera Otieno, Concern Worldwide US
Katie Waller, Concern Worldwide US

Design thinking is the application of human-centered design techniques to address societal problems with innovative solutions. Design thinking can be applied to products, programs and systems. This methodology, more commonly used in the private sector, is slowly gaining traction in global health. We will lead participants through a crash course during which they will learn to empathize with users and quickly identify perceived challenges and needs related to a personal experience with illness, ideate and iterate creative solutions, always keeping the end-user at the heart of the process. We will ask participants to assume a beginner’s mindset and approach a design challenge that is a shared experience among participants. Participants will also be introduced to Concern Worldwide’s Innovation for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health Initiative’s Care Community Hub project in Ghana that used human-centered design to develop and implement a mobile application to improve frontline health workers’ motivation and knowledge.