Q4: How Could We Respond?

This phase outlines a three-step creative process to respond to user challenges, facilitating your team’s ability to generate solutions and test their efficacy. It will encourage divergent thinking: generating many ideas before converging on the most desirable, viable and feasible. Top ideas will be rapidly prototyped so that early, promising solutions can be modified and improved, and less promising solutions can be cut prior to investing too many resources.

The creative process of generating and evaluating solutions is experimental. The exercises of conceptualising ideas and getting feedback from the field will be iterative. Some ideas might prove problematic, and we will drop them; others might prove promising, and we will work to improve them. Only through experimentation can we design optimal solutions.

These phases should not involve undue time and resources. Months of planning are not necessary. These phases and their associated exercises are intended to enable rapid ideation and the gathering of imperfect but critical experimental evidence in little time. By the end of this question, we will have a set of solutions ready for initial implementation in the field.

Q4 | 4a

Conceptualise Solutions

This first step is built on the premise that good ideas are born from a lot of ideas. Conceptualising is the exercise of generating as many solutions as possible that might help to solve the challenges presented in your prompts.

Conceptualising is centred around team brainstorms, which require thoughtful preparation and disciplined facilitation. Conceptualising ends with a short evaluative exercise to categorize the solutions coming out of a brainstorm, highlighting top contenders.

Tool #17

Brainstorm Concepts


Generate a large quantity of possible solutions to each of the prompts drawn from your Field Notes.

Tool #18

Assess Concepts


After brainstorming, use this chart to select the best ideas for each prompt.

Q4 | 4b

Design Quick Examples

The process of design forces us to think in concrete terms about how an idea would work. For each of the candidate ideas that made it through your Assess Concepts step, consider how the idea might be made more real.

Know that designing does not require designers. Ideas can be designed quickly, easily and cheaply by anyone with basic materials. Design is not about perfection. Design is about making ideas concrete enough to gather feedback from the field during prototyping.

Tool #19

Design Solutions


For each concept that made it through your Assess Concepts step, make the idea real by visualizing, building a model or storyboarding a sequence.

Q4 | 4c

Prototype Designs with Users

Prototyping is the exercise of testing low-fidelity designs with real users. This method allows users to experience and react to simulated solutions within their environment (the home, the clinic, the community).

The purpose is not to rigorously measure performance (that comes later). Instead, we are interested in determining elements of an idea that are working well and elements that require rethinking. This step precedes full-scale implementation to optimize ideas prior to investing resources in their roll-out.

By the end of this phase, your team will have a final set of ideas that have been tested, reassessed, and redesigned.

Tool #20

Prototype Planning


For each solution you are taking into the field, use this worksheet to develop a prototype plan in preparation for gathering in-field feedback.

Tools 21

Prototype Evaluation


Use these three dimensions that focus on an idea’s potential to evaluate the simulated solution’s future success. For each idea, use this page to evaluate the idea post-prototyping.