Human-Centered Design

Human-centered design (HCD), or design-thinking, is a philosophy and set of protocols for prioritizing the human perspective in all phases of the problem-solving process. This means that instead of treating organizational components as discrete objects, HCD targets the quality of the human experience as the key driver of structural, process, and system changes. In short, HCD is based on the belief that work outcomes are improved with meaningful involvement from the employees who produce them. There are several ideas, such as collaboration, understanding, experimentation, and experience (e.g., the employee experience) that guide the HCD philosophy. These are intended to focus attention on the importance of capturing the context for which a solution is being designed. HCD is not a new, complex and difficult to deploy framework. It is simply a perspective on the design process that acknowledges the value of employee participation and feedback in solution-building. It can be accomplished with a basic methodology and techniques familiar to most organization members, namely interviews, story-telling, focus groups, and brainstorming sessions.