Design - with and for - the people
People form part of the human capital of any successful vision, strategy or goal and hence must be managed, valued and nurtured. According to Best , the quality and nature of the relationships between people can have enormous impact on the success of an organisation’s projects as well as individual stakeholder well-being and ultimately other business measures such as profitability and reputation. Being people smart and effectively managing relationships between different roles and resources both in and across organisations can therefore help facilitate project and business success.
People dynamics – how people interact, contribute and are purposefully engaged – are the corner stone of collaborative working processes and practices. Design management is concerned with how the relationships between clients, consultants and end users are organised and managed. Putting managerial framework in place is essential to deliver additional business value as a result of the outcome of the collaborative creativity.
Design with the people also addresses the issue of inclusive, participatory design or co-design i.e. how to engage users in the design process. Design for the people refers to particularly, social responsibility initiatives and the people-centric approaches, that are useful tools to build positive relationships with external environment.
Philips Design has developed a theoretical framework to research social and cultural phenomena. A multidisciplinary team that includes sociologists, psychologists, and anthropologists is systemically studying changes in society, culture and people. It is also developing a number of themes or opportunity areas to inspire designers in creating new sustainable value .
Increasingly, large businesses are becoming more engaged in social change. Rather than giving cash donations to non-governmental organizations (NGOs), some companies are using their expertise to directly help more fragile segments of society. The corporate payback is not measured in profit, but in brand equity, employee motivation and inspiration for future work. At Philips Design, that program exists since 2005 under the name ‘Philanthropy by Design’.
The breath counter:
One of our projects addresses pneumonia disease.
Pneumonia is one of the world’s leading causes of fatalities in children under the age of five, claiming more than two million children’s lives every year. A ‘fast breathing test’ is used to diagnose the disease.The Breath Counter was designed by a team led by Megumi Fujikawa, Philips Design’s Interaction Design Consultant in Healthcare, to solve these issues and more. Solar cells power the device, extending its lifespan to potentially more than five years. An LCD screen logs three test results, making them easy to compare. Aesthetically, the Breath Counter looks like a medical tool, to give the user a feeling of commitment and contribution to this important issue. For those who cannot read, Philips Design created a simple manual with clear visuals that explain the procedure. “It was initially very difficult to understand the current issues without having been in the field,” Megumi explains. “Over time, putting together our skills and the feedback from the NGOs made it seem obvious what needed to be improved.”
MUAC strip [Trunky Monkey]:
Malnutrition is considered one of the key challenges for the health of children across the world. The World Health Organization estimates that approximately 150 million children under 5 years in developing countries (26.7%) are malnourished. An additional 200 million children have stunted height. Malnutrition is not a disease, but it is the most important risk factor for disease worldwide.
MUAC is routinely measured as an immediate indicator of whether a child is malnourished or not, but children are often anxious during measurement, which can slow down healthcare worker activity and lead to inaccurate results. ‘Trunky and Monkey’ were specifically designed to appeal to children, creating something playful and non-medical looking to encourage the children to co-operate in having their arm circumference measured. They are intuitive to use, so can even be used by parents to quickly check their children at home.
“Detecting malnutrition in the field is a real challenge,” explains Caitlin Quilling from the Real Medicine Foundation. “Often malnutrition is an educational problem. Sometimes families don’t realize their children are undernourished − it almost becomes invisible because it is so prevalent. We give parents simple knowledge and advise them how to screen for malnutrition. Once it is detected, our aim is to maximize nutrition within the resources and services that are available.”
A plate helps the mother serve the right proportions food for the child. A series of plates can be made to adjust different ages.
Qualities compared to existing solution:
Awareness at home | Intuitive and easy to use | Empowers – the parents to check what the child is eating | Illiterate friendly – illustrations
How to use it:
Serve food to the child according to the indicated portions.
Source: As mentioned on the image.
The section text is based on:
Best, K. (2010). The Fundamentals Of Design Management, AVA Publishing, SA.
The case examples are from:
 Green, J. (2001) Strategic Marketing, February, Philips Design: Eindhoven.