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Personas for global health

How can design thinking improve global health?

It is an ambitious goal, but one that could play a huge role in improving health outcomes for a large number of people across the world.

And ThinkPlace is delighted to have played a role in helping bring this important intervention to life.

A new website has been created as a partnership between USAID and The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, two organisations that are engaged in world-leading public health interventions across the globe and with whom ThinkPlace has worked extensively.

ThinkPlace Kenya Studio Senior Strategic Designer Michael Ngigi was selected to be on the board of advisers for the site, which provides resources for those working in global health to deploy design thinking and human-centred design techniques that evidence shows lead to better project outcomes.

The site has created detailed personas of five different types of health workers on various stages of their journey towards understanding and using principles of design thinking in their work. It then provides tailored resources for each of those five stages.

We sat down with a proud Michael Ngigi to talk about the site, which was recently launched.

Michael Ngigi

Q: What is the purpose of the website? Why was it created?

MN: The purpose of this platform is to improve outcomes in global health especially around demand challenges and behaviour change.

This is a resource platform for stakeholders in the global health sector that was created to increase shared understanding, appropriate use and an appreciation of the value of design to address global health challenges. This platform addresses aspects such as definitions, processes and approaches which can sometimes be confusing for designers, implementers and donors.

Q: Who is it targeted at and how will they use it?

MN: It’s for people across the aid and public health sectors. Donors, awardees, sub-awardees and designers. The platform features tools and case studies that will enable these target users to gain a common understanding when using human- centred design in global health projects. And that means they can better speak to each other.

Personas for global health
The project created five personas to represent global health professionals at varying stages of their journey towards deploying human-centred design.

Q: What problem is it attempting to solve?

MN: It’s really an attempt to solve the confusion and miscommunication that normally crops up during the interactions of different stakeholders when applying human-centred design on global health projects.

Q: What role did ThinkPlace play in creating it?

MN: ThinkPlace has carried out many projects in developing countries and has gained a lot of experience in public health especially in Africa. I was selected as member of the board of advisors to represent firms and designers working in developing countries since that is where most global health projects are carried out.

Q: How does it relate to other work ThinkPlace is doing in this space?

MN: Most of our projects at ThinkPlace Kenya are health related and this platform enables us to play a leading role in designing the future of global health.

Q: What kind of impact do you see it making?

MN: Big impact! We expect to see improved outcomes in global health projects through increasing shared principles and understanding that will allow more people working in this important space to connect the value of design thinking with global health initiatives.

A screenshot from the website
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Michael Ngigi

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