Getting to Better

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

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

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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Are Street Teams The Right Research Tool for You?

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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6 Street Team Tips for Impactful Public Research

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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How to Use an Empathy Map

July 06, 2017

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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Avoid Becoming the Next Blockbuster Video By Using Strategic Foresight

June 27, 2017

Get your organization on the path that’s the most likely to lead to success using strategic foresight.

A well thought out foresight plan will help your organization lead with a better sense of what the future might bring.

This post will introduce you to using strategic foresight, outline examples of past trends and drivers (Netflix and more), and get you started with some horizon exercises that you and your organization can begin today.

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.

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Putting Creativity in Practice Through Museums and Human-Centred Design

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

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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Using Ethnography in Design Research Can Unearth Problems You Never Knew Existed

May 31, 2017

Using Ethnography in design research can reveal rich human insights.

What if, instead of sending out a survey or bringing people into the lab, you went out and watched how they behave in the real world?

Ethnography is a human-centred research method where you immerse yourself in participant’s environment to gain a more in-depth and often profound perspective of their lives. With it, you can uncover problems and solutions you might never have known existed.

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How Sound Affects Your Hospital Experience and What Needs to Change

May 23, 2017

Human-centred design can transform hospital visits by putting patient’s needs first. Learn how sound affects hospital experiences and what the future holds for patient first care.

Sound, sight, taste, smell, and touch are all very much a part of any hospital visit. This post will focus on how sound affects your hospital experience including noise levels, alarm fatigue, and privacy, and you'll find initial human-centred design ideas that could help put patients first.

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Using Design Sprints to Create an Early Literacy Movement

May 18, 2017

Learn about the human-centred insights and actionable feedback a five-day design sprint can provide through the lens of an Early Literacy Project.

The Early Literacy Alliance of Waterloo Region, (ELAWR) has dedicated six weeks of 2017’s Prescription for Literacy Project to participating in 6 separate design sprints: a series of “unique five-day process[es] for answering crucial questions through prototyping and testing ideas.”

The Prescription for Literacy Project, in collaboration with Overlap, is on a mission to create an early literacy movement that drives people to understand the critical importance of early literacy and its resulting impact on our children and society. The goal is to design, test, and implement new or re-imagined approaches to ignite a passion for early literacy.

This post will outline ELAWR’s Prescription for Literacy Project, explain what a design sprint is, walk you through a five-day design sprint, and share the invaluable insights the week provided.