What the heck is HCD?

HCD is an acronym that stands for Human-Centered Design. A unique approach to problem solving, it helps businesses think and act people first.

What Human-Centered Design (HCD) is… for real

Human-Centered Design (HCD) is a process that is complex in its simplicity. It’s an approach to problem solving that involves the human perspective in all steps of the process.

The process itself is adaptable, scalable, and highly effective because it puts people affected by the problem front & center. And, it helps you empathize with those who feel the pain, think differently in coming up with solutions to that pain, and take informed action to resolve that pain.

Said more simply: HCD helps you think and be different.

The Typical HCD Method Goes a Little Something Like This

  1. Figure out what’s needed / define/validate the challenge through the eyes of the people responsible and affected.
  2. Gather information from the people and systems around them to further empathize.
  3. Find patterns, gaps, and opportunities presented by the information.
  4. Come up with new ideas/solutions based on findings.
  5. Prototype or model the ideas.
  6. Test with the people responsible and affected, then iterate.

Simple right? And, yet. There are a ton of ways to screw it all up.

Once you start to apply it, questions you never thought will bubble up. Do I really need all the research? When and how do I talk to customers or employees? How do you effectively concept solutions without going overboard and losing steam? How do you prototype just enough?

That’s where we come in.

It took us decades to hone HCD’s use to specific challenges. Rest assured, you don’t need to be a designer, nor do you need a full fledged design studio team on staff to put HCD to use. We will guide you through it, teach your team to do it, and support you into infinity and beyond.

Cover page of the CX By Design 5Ds PDF

How does HCD help you?

Besides providing a flexible, repeatable, time-tested method for solving complex business challenges used by the world’s leading organizations?

What makes the HCD method so valuable is that it’s:

  • People-centric – Your products, services, and solutions will connect with people. Your bottom-line will thank you.
  • Repeatable & Flexible – HCD is a framework that can be used in any context. No need to invent a new system for each new problem.
  • Holistic – The method takes into account all angles of the problem, bringing various puzzle pieces into a coherent whole.
  • Time-tested – There are lots of case studies that will give you the fuzzies. Take a look here.
  • Iterative – If you ever wondered: “Ok, we did that. Now what?” HCD will help you answer that question.
  • Empowering – Stripping problems down to their simple components and examining each with a people-centric approach, will give you the data to confidently move forward.

How do you know you need it?

As with most things, we humans rarely see signs of trouble until they smack us in the face. The best leaders usually have a “gut feeling” something off, but can’t really put their finger on what that “something” is.

Here are a few (by all means not all-encompassing) tell-tale markers we’ve seen over the years:

  • Your organization is drifting from its core vision. It feels like you’re chasing “innovation,” without any real meaning behind it.
  • The founding myth – the ethos behind why the business exists – starts to block instead of inspire. It helped build the company to where it is today, but now old ideas are a bottleneck to progress.
  • Your core product, service, and internal processes run on decades-old assumptions, and no one remembers who came up with them in the first place. It’s just the way things have always been. Yet, it’s not working anymore.
  • There’s a gap between your business and customers, and it’s showing up in your bottom line. You don’t know what it is and why it’s there.

Working with us you’ll learn to apply HCD throughout your organization. No more needing to look outside your company.

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At CX by Design, we’re passionate human-centered design experts with a wicked coffee habit. We offer multiple options to get your business thinking and solving problems differently.

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