Getting to Better

Welcome to Getting to Better, our blog for stories, insights, and industry trends surrounding social innovation, capacity building, design thinking, and human-centred design.

A Beginner’s Introduction to Human-Centred Design

Posted by Overlap on September 01, 2018

Human-centred design (also known as design thinking) is iterative and collaborative. An introduction to human-centred design will help you embrace design to reach better results for people, teams, and organizations.

In this post you’ll find:
  1. What is Human-Centred Design?
  2. Defining Human-Centred Design
  3. How to use Design Thinking at home and at work
  4. Human-Centred Design Resources for getting started
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Tags: Design Thinking, Human-centred Design

How to Use an Empathy Map

Posted by Overlap on July 06, 2018

An Empathy Map is one of those tools that we always keep in our back pocket because it often produces an "aha!" moment and it is incredibly versatile.

Originally developed by Scott Matthews, Empathy Maps provide a process for empathizing with your own customers, service or product users, or stakeholders. They help us dig into a person's experience of the context in which we interact with them.

Continue reading to learn how to use an Empathy Map as a research tool and scroll to the bottom for a free download to try it yourself!

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Tags: Tools, Design Research, Engagement, Human-centred Design, Design Thinking

How to Create an Ideal Workspace Using Human-Centred Office Design

Posted by Jordan Nottrodt on February 07, 2018

Human-centred office design can help you reshape your workspace to meet the needs of the people using it.

Taking a human-centred approach to design results in an office that works for your needs and not the other way around. A workspace designed for the people that use it can increase productivity, facilitate collaboration, and boost company morale.

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Tags: Design Thinking, Human-centred Design, Overlap

Rethinking Professional Development Because People Are Our Most Important Asset

Posted by Overlap on January 30, 2018

In 2018, Overlap is turning training inside out to focus on making ourselves the best trained team in the industry.

All Overlap employees are given five full days of Professional Development and can choose which courses best align with their Development Goals.


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Tags: Human-centred Design, Design Thinking, Overlap

How You Can Prepare for the Future Using Strategic Foresight

Posted by Overlap on January 17, 2018

You may not be able to predict the future, but you can prepare for it. Foresight uses research to map out educated possibilities for the future. The more you consider these possibilities, the more you can prepare yourself, and your organization for what’s to come.

This post will introduce you to using strategic foresight, outline examples of signals and trends, (including the rise of Netflix), and get you started with an exercise that will help prepare your organization for the future.

Change may be a constant, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. Consider all of the technological, social, economic, and political changes that have occurred even in the past ten years. Get your organization on the path that’s the most likely to lead to success using strategic foresight.

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Tags: Human-centred Design, Design, Foresight, Design Thinking

The Pros and Cons of Chatbots and How to Use Them to Gather Rich Data

Posted by Dave Dowhaniuk on August 23, 2017

Chatbot technology and user experience have come a long way since the days of Microsoft’s Office Assistant named Clippy. When designed well, today’s chatbots can help businesses automate, assist with user experience, and gather rich data from its customers.

Overlap’s design team uses chatbots for certain types of design research because they can access user data in a way surveys or person-to-person interviews cannot. Chatbots can produce phenomenal results, but to get there, they take plenty of planning, thoughtful design, and continual monitoring.

Overlap’s Senior Designer Dave Dowhaniuk participated in a Twitter chat with Startups Canada that dug into the pros and cons of chatbots. You can view the full chat on Storify and continue reading for Dave’s expanded answers on taking a human-centred approach to chatbot design.


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Tags: Human-centred Design, Design Research, Foresight

Are Street Teams the Right Research Tool for You?

Posted by Delaney Swanson on July 28, 2017

We're understanding more and more that including end-users, stakeholders, or customers of a product or service in the design process improves outcomes. So the next question is, how do you engage with them?

Street teams are one of the core research methods that we regularly use at Overlap to learn about people's needs. We use street teams in our human-centred design work when we need to gather insights from people in their communities.  

Continue reading to learn more about running street teams, when this method works best, and what type of research street teams are suited for.

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Tags: Community Engagement, Design Research, Human-centred Design

6 Street Team Tips for Impactful Public Research

Posted by Overlap on July 27, 2017

In this post, we’ll give you six street team tips and pass on some lessons our teams have learned over years of conducting research.

Street teams can gather impactful data, but we also know from experience how unnerving it can be to go up to a stranger and start asking them questions. Follow our six tips to get the data you’re looking for and to minimize street teamer stress.

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Tags: Design Research, Human-centred Design

Putting Creativity in Practice Through Museums and Human-Centred Design

Posted by Katherine Hannemann on June 20, 2017

Too often, creativity and play are shunned from day-to-day work and life. Yet by incorporating inclusive opportunities to be creative, our perspectives can expand beyond measure. 

  • A space for discovery, play, and inspiration
  • A space to listen to diverse voices from the past and present
  • A space where everyone, of all learning styles and abilities, is welcome to be creative

As a museum professional now working in human-centred design, to me this describes museums as well as the spaces and places where we apply human-centred design every day.

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Tags: Human-centred Design, Design

5 Innovative Leadership Retreat Ideas Your Competitors Haven’t Thought Of

Posted by Jordan Nottrodt on June 14, 2017

This year, instead of the same old leadership retreat, why not give something new a try? Take a walk on the creative-side and embrace innovation, design, and collaboration across your team.

By pulling in design thinking tools and resources, you can build your own leadership skills as well as your team’s, all while learning from one another along the way. Below you’ll find five innovative leadership retreat ideas that will get your colleagues, organization, and competitors talking.

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Tags: Human-centred Design, Collaboration, Innovation