Unlocking Value with Human-Centred Design

Dare’s Creative & Design Director, Arnaldo Boico, explains the value of human-centred design and why we need to embrace it more than ever.

An empathetic approach

A year on from the start of the pandemic, it’s become clear that taking a digital-first approach to projects here at Dare, and in the world beyond, has changed from being a preferential requirement to a mandatory prerequisite.


The need to accelerate consumers’ digital adoption and introduce them to new trends, forms the backbone of the briefs we are given these days. Yet there’s a hidden value in this, which is sometimes overlooked:

the opportunity to explore new routes in product design, placing humans at the centre of the experience.

Any transformation is really about people, not process or technology. Sustainable change starts with understanding people’s needs, measuring their satisfaction and improving the efficacy of the digital life. Human-centred design is an approach to problem solving that develops solutions by methodologically and instinctually involving the human perspective throughout the problem-solving process.

By adopting an empathetic approach to problems, organisations can identify frictions to reduce user frustrations and increase adoption and productivity.

Human-centred design is uniquely situated to arrive at solutions that are desirable, feasible, and viable. By starting with humans, their hopes, fears, and needs, we quickly uncover what’s most desirable. But that’s only one lens through which we look at our solutions. Once we’ve determined a range of solutions that could appeal to the community we’re looking to serve, we then start to home in on what is technically feasible to actually implement and how to make the solution financially viable.

The Field Guide to Human-Centred Design

By IDEO.org

The Field Guide to Human-Centred Design

Trust the process

It is not easy to unlock this value in the product. It's like trying to look for gold: we need to search, dig and sift the ore. Then we need to wash, weigh and polish what we find.


Gold only becomes gold after a long, painful process - and many people give up in the middle of the journey.


Well, don't give up.

HCD (Human-Centred Design) feels like madness during the first steps, but remember that being innovative is about walking in the dark, dancing with the uncertain, embracing mistakes and developing learnings.

This process has been designed so you can learn with your audience, opening yourself up to a breadth of creative possibilities. There are 7 mindsets to bear in mind when you enter this journey: Empathy, Optimism, Iteration, Creative Confidence, Making, Embracing Ambiguity, and Learning from Failure.


You will diverge and converge with the other participants but be resilient and have these 7 behaviours at the front of your mind throughout.


The answers will come, eventually.


I know that so far, this sounds like a philosophy, but believe the process; this is a methodology and we have 3 core pillars for it: Inspiration, Ideation and Implementation.


Each pillar has different steps to be followed and different dynamics. At the first attempt to follow the methods, it will look like a big mess. But step by step, dynamic after dynamic, you will find convergence. The most important thing to have in mind at this stage is the seven mindsets I mentioned, above. If you incorporate these into your path, the journey to a definitive answer will be truthful.

Graphic illustrating converging/diverging thought processes

Human Results

So, you’ve shown resilience and followed the process. Now get ready for an answer that, at first, you might not understand but is what your project desperately needs.

As an example, in layman’s terms, it might be that you’re working on a commercial project and the client requests a video to be produced. But, after various sprints, you end up deciding a website is the optimum solution.


What I’m saying is, if you start to use this process, be prepared to face different routes to the answer. Get ready to embrace the inevitable failures. See them as a prize.


I appreciate you could say to me ‘Arnaldo, this sounds too abstract.’


Well, yes, it is.


Being a human-centred designer is about believing that, as long as you stay grounded in what you’ve learned from people, your team can arrive at new solutions that your client needs, not what they expect.


This is the road to unlocking assertive human values, and finding meaningful answers.

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