Human-centered design is about engaging people who are experiencing a problem in solving the problem. Since AOK Network efforts are focused on creating a more accessible, coordinated, equitable and just system that works for parents/caregivers of young children, AOK Networks believe they should be engaged in meaningful ways throughout the assessment, planning, and action process. In fact, one of AOK Networks’ system outcomes is that parents are partners in making the system work for them. Supporting parents’ leadership capacity is an important element of Collaborative Leadership and Engagement, a core area of network capacity.
Beyond asking parents/caregivers for information, using a human-centered design approach means developing deep empathy and understanding of people experiencing the problem. This includes their goals and needs, the contexts in which they live and work, and their ideas for solving the problem. Going one step further, it means engaging them as partners throughout the process. This often involves adapting how we work and addressing barriers to their engagement.
Sometimes the people who are experiencing a problem are system providers or other people in the system. In this case, the principles and process are the same. The phrase “ Don’t design for me without me” holds true. AOK Networks believe they should be engaged in the entire assessment, planning, and action process.