Combining superpowers for innovation

Innovation Lab organised by M4ID brings experts together to experience human-centred design
May 29, 2018

M4ID convened over 30 interdisciplinary development and health specialists in an Innovation Lab, which was held on Tuesday 22 May in Seattle. Engineers, water and sanitation experts, as well as family planning specialists among others, collaborated in the event to brainstorm and develop ideas through various methods. The aim was to provide the participants with hands-on experience in concept development within human-centred design, to work closely in an interdisciplinary team, and to explore various innovation techniques.

The Innovation Lab was organised as part of M4ID’s Core project, which co-designs human-centred solutions for women’s health in India, Tanzania, Nigeria and Kenya. The Lab will be employed periodically through the Core programme to help propel the work forward, bringing a wider circle of experts close to our work and making them a part of the innovation effort.

Human-centred design starts from the user’s needs

“Creative problem-solving is achieved through serious fun and productive play. At this Lab, we wanted to create an environment where it is safe to experiment and try new things, knowing that our rigorous human-centred design methodology will root out the best ideas for incorporation into Core,” said Rose Matthews, M4ID’s Design Lead and the facilitator of the Lab. The concept of human-centred design was well received by the participants in the event. Some were already familiar with the approach, while for others it was a new point of departure.

Placing people at the centre of the creative problem-solving process is the core of human-centred design. As one participant put it: “The human-centred design principle of starting from the user’s needs is the only way forward in innovation. It should be at the heart of everything we do, in our way of thinking about problems and collaborating holistically.”

The Innovation Lab was held on 22 May in Seattle in co-operation with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Global Good.


Core in a nutshell

  • Core is a three-year project aimed at better understanding, equipping and empowering women to lead healthier sexual and reproductive lives. The project is implemented in India, Kenya, Nigeria and Tanzania.
  • Core uses a lifecourse approach together with human-centred design methods to co-create and test new women-centred solutions for SRH and well-being. Within the life course, the project will focus on transition points – sensitive moments of change or disruption in a woman’s biological, psychological or social circumstances.
  • Core is in its first discovery phase. Read more about the project here.



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