From our partners +Acumen: Human Centered Design – Amplified, featuring Hub Youth Academy in “The power of networks”.
Read the full blog at: http://london.plusacumen.org/blog/human-centered-design-amplified/
In April the +Acumen course community had the great pleasure of welcoming Sean Hewens, of IDEO.org, to speak at our Human-Centered Design pre-course meetup. As the architect responsible for designing the course, we were incredibly lucky and blessed that he was in town and available to share an evening with the prospective HCD class of 2014 in London.
The event was incredibly popular, with tickets selling out within a week of registration opening. Attended by 80 enthusiastic new social entrepreneurs, plus our committed volunteers, the evening was a great success.
Sean shared invaluable insights into the Design Process and what the course held in store, as well as being able to share case studies illustrating it’s practical application, bringing the process and the course to life. He showed us that HCD was so much more than just an academic discipline, exciting all of us with the potential of what anyone could achieve as a result of human-centered design, what social enterprises with real social impact might be created by all of us in the room off the back of this course.
He also spoke about his exciting new initiative ‘Amplify’, an open sourced platform for Human-Centered Design for Social Innovation sponsored by DiFID.
The venue was generously offered free of charge by London Business School, who have also initiated a “Design Club” based around the +Acumen HCD course to bring together MBA’s in the cause of social innovation. A new course partnership being developed this year which is adding consistent value to my effort as online course ambassador.
The speeches were followed by drinks and networking, where we all had the opportunity to chat to discuss HCD with Sean and each other.
Having designed a colour coded name badge system to categorise people by geographical location, it was that much easier to mingle and form groups for the start of the course.
Organising for a speaker with first hand experience in implementing HCD for social innovation was part of our wider strategy to encourage people to view the +Acumen course as a practical tool and help build confidence for course participants to believe they can seamlessly move from theory to practice during the course, at the same time trying to stimulate and increase course completion rates.
The power of networks
The second part of our strategy to increase engagement and attainment for the online courses was to develop a long-term partnership with a centrally located venue, to be used freely by lab groups when needed. This would solve the problem of finding a creative, convenient and affordable venue for lab groups to use each week, and to encourage a community feel around the courses, encouraging collaboration and learning between lab groups.
We managed to secure a partnership for this purpose with Impact Hub Islington. Every Thursday evening from 6-9 the space is booked for the use of the +Acumen course community. Next week will be the first time that the space is used by multiple groups at the same time, and we are so excited to see what comes out of this “School of Human-Centered Design”!
But no partnership is just one way, and we are very proud and excited by just how mutually valuable this partnership has been for +Acumen, Hub Islington, and the wider social enterprise community in London. Our side of the partnership involved offering a one day workshop of HCD, based around the +Acumen course curriculum, and facilitated by chapter member and Human-Centered Designer Phillipa Banister. This formed the focus workshop of the two week long Hub Youth Academy programme, a social enterprise training programme for 18-25 yr olds aspiring social entrepreneurs.
The culmination of the course occurred last week with a pitch event to an expert panel of judges. The standard of the pitches and ideas was very high. The innovative and impactful ideas were backed up by solid research and insight, and considered business plans. These included Inter-Voice, a venture to train and support Young Community Interpreters in East London; Rabble, a community focused, team based, affordable alternative to getting fit, and SolarBox, who plan to repurpose unused telephone boxes as solar powered phone charging stations, and more. A few of these had already managed to secure some sort of backing and even in some cases, seed funding.
This success of this partnership shows the sort of power the Acumen online courses, and the wider Acumen Leadership Academy has. It has the power to create new generations of teachers and students, practitioners in social enterprise, within the chapter, the +Acumen community, and the wider social enterprise network in London. Moreover, it reveals the power of social enterprise networks. As the London+Acumen online course ambassador, scaling the impact of the online courses this year is all about developing partnerships. I hope to thus capitalise on the knowledge, skills, resources, passion and drive of everyone active in social enterprise in London, increasing the value and outcomes of all of our efforts, and maximising our collective impact.
Anna Rickman, London+Acumen online course ambassador.