From the Technical to the Political: Democratizing Design Thinking
“Mainstream design thinking methodologies are limited by their myopic focus on technological innovation and failure to address political power dynamics. After identifying a need to reformat design thinking for the social good, we present a curricular framework that integrates design thinking with social justice to transcend these flaws and address complex social problems.”
Design Thinking for International Development
My main research field, this Master’s Paper was completed in partial satisfaction for the degree of Masters of Science for the Energy and Resources Group. The paper is split into two main parts, which each serve these purposes:
- To integrate the field of design thinking for the poor into the larger discourse of product and service development for the poor, i.e., Bottom of the Pyramid research,
- To characterize and evaluate elements of HCD competence for development-based challenges in the OpenIDEO platform.
By synthesizing seminal texts describing metrics for design thinking, we develop a collection of metrics that use empathetic methods to identify user needs. We then apply qualitative coding methods to find parallel themes between OpenIDEO Challenges that address issues in impoverished communities. Moreover, we use this comparison to answer the following questions:
- Which, if any, of the HCD characteristics are potential predictors for successful designs?
- How well do the present themes and metrics of the OpenIDEO design community correlate with metrics of Human-Centered Design?
These qualitative methods complement previous quantitative network analyses of the OpenIDEO network, in the hopes of developing benchmarks for HCD methods that successfully cater to user needs.
This project is the culmination of a semester-long design collaboration project for human sanitation solutions in Nairobi slums. It includes a proof‐of‐concept prototype, the process of design, holistic design evaluation, stakeholder analysis, and opportunities for further prototype development.
Usability Assessment for Open Innovative Platforms
This document is a Usability assessment which critiques the open collaborative design platform OpenIDEO, to increase user retention and user collaboration on the website.
Development Theory and History Critique
This report critiques the dichotomy of the global vs. the local in the field of international development, by analyzing the two contexts of C.K. Pralahad’s “Bottom of the Pyramid” philosophy and Bunker Roy’s Barefoot College.
Economic and Policy Analysis
This policy memo is an argument for using an EITC expansion to increase the employment rates and to curb declining wages for low-skilled men.
Solar Concentrator ISRU Technologies
A paper completed at NASA Glenn Research Center, it presents and compares different solar concentrator technologies for extracting oxygen from lunar regolith, as a part of a in-situ resource utilization process.