I’m tired of myself talking about making products but never. So I’m committing to make 1 minimum viable product per month, starting Feb 2018. I’ll keep going till I run out of ideas or money, or something takes off in a huge way that requires all my time, or exhaustion kicks in. Whichever comes first. #1mvp1month
For my 1st MVP, I’m launching an online store called Outsprint Store selling and sharing design tools for public good. This builds off my existing design consultancy business Outsprint, which works mainly with governments and non-profits to design better public policy and social services.
WHAT’S THE OPPORTUNITY?
I’d always believed in the power of human-centered design for creating public good and social impact. Having done many projects with government agencies and non-profit organisations, I developed many tools along the way. Tools to help shed light on public and social issues around employment, technology, government-citizen relationships, and more. Tools that others have asked me to share. So I thought, “Why let these tools go to waste, after a project is done?” So that’s why I created this online store to share and sell design tools for public good.
Granted, you can already find general design thinking templates and tools available online. Too many, in fact. But most are related to the method itself, and there’s few that are issue-specific, i.e. tools that were created to be used for specific public or social issues.
One good example of an issue-specific useful tool is the Career Conversation Cards. This deck came from a project to understand people’s career aspirations. The team first used these cards as part of design research for the project, but that’s when something surprising happened. Participants were coming back to tell us – post-interview – that the session had been akin to career counselling, even therapeutic. Some said it helped them have better clarity of their career journey, and the questions we asked were questions that few people had asked them, not even their employers. Throughout the project, one thing that really stood out was how there was a hunger for such open conversations around career. Career conversations with employers and HR tend to center around compensation and performance. What seemed to be missing – and therefore the hunger – was talking about the why. Why do you work? Why do you want to work here? What really matters to you? It’s definitely not only money and promotions for sure. We knew we are on to something then, and these cards could play a role in making these conversations more common beyond the project. We improved on the deck thereafter, and here it is.
Besides, there’s also many useful tools that were created by other designers I know. I hope this store can then be a platform for them to distribute their awesome work. These tools are meant to be super-easy to use, especially by non-designers. Public officers, policy planners, social activists, civic-minded citizens who want to try out their ideas to create public good and social impact can all pick up these tools and use them right away. There’s currently no easy way for both sides to share and distribute, so this store aims to plug that gap.