In the following short blog post, Illustration + Designmatters Concentration Student, Adriana Crespo shares her experiences as a Graphic Design Intern at IDEO.org last summer.
This past summer, I was fortunate enough to be part of an incredible team of creative people with backgrounds in business design, interaction design, industrial design, engineering and writing, to mention a few. This multidisciplinary group of people make up IDEO.org, a non-profit born from design consultancy (IDEO). IDEO.org saw the power and success of design thinking and human-centered design, and decided to apply these methodologies to solve pressing issues of poverty around the world.
Being a Designmatters Concentration student, I couldn’t have asked for a better opportunity to start exercising my design skills in the social impact field. My title of “graphic design intern” only partially describes all the tasks and challenges I was asked to take on.
On my first day, I joined the Efina Project, with Minnie Bredouw (former IDEO.org fellow and Interaction Designer at IDEO) and Ravi Prakash (former IDEO.org fellow and former Systems Engineer at NASA’S Jet Propulsion Lab). They had just returned from their second field research trip in Nigeria the day before but were ready to hold a debrief session with me about their progress, proposed strategies, and the possible challenges around the project. After being involved in multiple ideation sessions with our team of five now, and many feedback meetings with our partners from Nigeria, we created a visual communication campaign to educate rural communities in Nigeria about affordable healthcare options that would not only benefit them and their families but would work as a community healthcare support system. All the thinking and iteration involved in creating a long term business strategy, designing a user experience, producing a training manual, posters, brochures, and tons of other collateral, taught me how far human-centered design can go, through listening and attending to the needs of the people we were designing for.
Every project I took part of was more challenging than the previous one. They all required different skills and some required skills I had to learn on the spot. Being a fast-paced growing community of global thinkers, at IDEO.org everyone is working hard and passionately. This became all the motivation I needed to keep myself learning and wanting to contribute to such a beautiful mission, a mission that has reached thousands of people around the world who are now learning, teaching and practicing human-centered design to improve the quality of life in their communities.