Sometimes, things just fall into place where your past meets your present in a perfect way.
This happened earlier in the year in April, when I had the pleasure of joining colleagues from Parsons’ SDM program in facilitating a design workshop for UNWomen’s Fund for Gender Equality (FGE). My past international development work got to merge with my current design roles, and it was, for me, a perfect fit.
Over the course of two days, the facilitators’ goal was to help these global women explore new ways to combat the challenges they foresee for women CSO’s now and in the future in relation to their work with FGE. Starting with a one day futuring session a month prior, we took those learnings and presented them to the group. They then engaged in a HCD process during this two day workshop that brought the participants from research that was collected by the leaders and FGE, through synthesis, ideation, and for a few, prototyping.
After reflecting on past research and where each participant was coming from, groups discussed challenges, and were led through a series of reflection activities that led them from ideation (aka brainstorming) to voting on ones they found most impactful and more relevant. Once 4 projects emerged, groups split up, and facilitators got to bring the smaller groups through finessing their ideas and prototyping what they might look like.
For my group, the team wanted to be more creative in their everyday work, and encouraging cooperation across departments. What we ended up with was an adaptable binder that staff can add/remove ideas from in regards to creative meetings and approaches to work. This binder allows UNWomen teams to be co-creative in their approach, and iterative for each office to choose what works for them.
The best thing about these types of workshops is that everyone is generally grinning by the end. My group in particular were extremely interested in the methodologies used during the workshop, which influenced how they approached their prototypes. This proved to be challenging to recommend how to move forward, because changing office culture can be difficult! But we’re hoping the adaptability of the basic prototype can be edited as they test this summer as some team members test it out.
Check out FGE’s 2018-19 annual report, featuring these workshops on page 12-15!