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Design Thinking 

I have continued to use the Design Thinking elements to help manage my overall project approach as well as key elements to help define the problems and design solutions. Key parts of this are noted below referenced from The Field Guide to Human-Centred Design from Ideo.

Double Diamond

As in Part One I have used the double diamond as the based for progressing through my project plan. My Part One phase was focused on the first diamond: Discover and Define. I still had my survey to complete which meant Part Two has been focused on finishing the Define stage, and moving through Design and Deliver. I will continue to work through the design and deliver as I continue work on this post my Master's as per my part three plans here 

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Human-Centred Design; What is Desirable, Feasible, Viable?

Another key element I have been anchoring to as I search for solutions has been to really connect with and understand my participants' world. Building empathy with them to understand their lives, and start to solve problems from their perspectives. Understanding my participants deeply, their hopes, dreams, needs, fears and challenges enable me to design for these. This becomes my roadmap to innovative solutions. Once we have that roadmap we can use it to understand whether these solutions are desirable (do the community we are looking to serve want them), feasible (is it technically possible) and viable (will the solution be financially viable). This balancing act is crucial to designing solutions that are successful and sustainable.

Interviews and Surveys

I have sought to gain empathy via interviews and surveys, using empathy as a key factor in determining what and how I have asked questions. This has also been backed up with secondary research to give further data and context to the insights in the subjective interviews and surveys. More detail on my survey process can be found here. The interview methodology and findings were included in my Part One report. 


Immersing yourself in the lives and communities of the people that you are designing for, can really supercharge your ability to build empathy with them. This gives you a much deeper understanding of their daily lives, their desires, needs and challenges. I took a few different approaches to immersion during my Master's, some were quite active and some were more passive.  These ranged from going through the early stages of establishing my own business, and engaging both actively and passively in various women's business etc.  social media forums, slack channels and online groups. This was to hear about the type of things being discussed and seeing how this aligned with my research. 


The most active was travelling to Fiji for a women's retreat where a large proportion of attendees were female small business owners. You can read more about these community engagements here in my findings section.  

Persona Creation

To help synthesise the characteristics and challenges of my potential users, I embarked on developing personas from my research. 


Personas are a way of capturing and summarising key insights from both quantitative and qualitative data to give a designer/design team a summary of key behaviours, goals, challenges and any other relevant information into a relatable profile that can be designed for (Hanington & Martin, 2019, p. 304). 

I was relatively familiar with the value of developing personas, but was aware that there were a range of different ways you could combine your information to build one. After a discussion with Felix, I downloaded the persona templates in Miro to look at the different options. I also found this video from Career Foundry particularly helpful in walking through the persona creation process.   

Combining this information alongside templates I gathered in miro and personal knowledge, I built my own framework for the information I wanted to gather on my users and anchor the persona on. 

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Alignment with Pono/Tika/Aroha

One thing I like about the human-centred nature of design thinking is that it aligns well with a kaupapa Māori approach in the way it leans into the connected concepts of Pono, Tika and Aroha

  • Pono is taking the time to ensure you have the facts and truth of the issue you are looking at, whilst demonstrating

  • Tika is finding an enhancing solution that takes all this into account alongside any additional research. 

  • Aroha is demonstrated in the way that you engage with participants and also try to provide a solution to a challenging issue for people

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