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.

How to Improve Any Project With Just 4 Questions

Posted by Dr. Linda Carson

We ask for feedback all the time:

  • How do I look?

  • Has this milk gone off?

  • Can you proofread my résumé for me?

  • Listen to the engine. What do you think that noise is?

Feedback helps you make everything better: your outfit, your breakfast, your job prospects, and your mileage. Feedback isn’t disapproval, it’s information.

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Tags: Design, Human-centred Design, Tools, Design Thinking, Empathy, Collaboration

3 Occasions for an Empathy Map

Posted by Overlap

An empathy map is a great tool for you to use when trying to understand the experience of an individual or a group. Empathy maps help you empathize in a meaningful, useful way. As you might have guessed, after reading about How to Use an Empathy Map, we use this tool quite a bit in our work. Below we've outlined three occasions where filling out an empathy map can help you. Scroll to the bottom for a free download of this tool today!

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Tags: Human-centred Design, Tools, Engagement, Community Engagement, Empathy

3 Free Design Tools for Understanding Student Needs

Posted by Overlap

The first step of engaging with students is listening to them. Whether the end goal is to help students feel comfortable on campus, succeed academically, or access the mental health services they need at school, working with students to create effective change is no small task.

Universities and colleges are understanding more and more that there's a need for open and honest engagement between students, faculty, and staff. Education systems and campuses will improve by engaging with the students they directly impact. 

In this post, you’ll find 3 design tools for understanding student needs that will give you the insights you need to make their experience better.

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Tags: Tools, Design Thinking

How to Use an Empathy Map

Posted by Overlap

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

75 Design Thinking Tools and Resources Explained

Posted by Overlap

Design thinking is human-centred, iterative, and collaborative. It’s a process that embraces design to reach better results for people, teams, and organizations. Design thinking is accessible to any experience level and an asset for any industry.

Whether you want to embrace design to achieve personal goals, reach new heights as a team, or improve the world around you, the following design thinking tools and resources will help you do that and more.

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

How a Journal Can be a Powerful Design Research Tool

Posted by Chelsea Mills

Journaling is a great way to collect in-depth data on a participant’s experiences. This post will take you through some of the benefits and drawbacks of journaling, and some tips on how you might use journals in your own research.

As with any research tool, there are a few things to take into consideration before deploying it to ensure you’re collecting useful data.

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Tags: Design, Design Research, Tools, Engagement

How to Use Community Prioritization Boards to Make Decisions

Posted by Overlap

Decision making is tough enough as an individual, and it's even tougher as a community.

You want to be as inclusive as possible when making decisions as a community organization, but at the same time, you likely don't have the resources to try a whole lot of new ideas. 

You can find out which ideas resonate most with your community using a tool we call Community Prioritization Boards.

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Tags: Tools, Community Engagement, Libraries

3 Easy-To-Use Design Tools for Understanding Patient Needs

Posted by Overlap

More and more, we recognize the need to engage patients in healthcare. "Improving patient engagement" is becoming a popular theme in hospital strategic plans, and governments are pushing for it to become a bigger priority too. 

So, we get that we have to engage patients more, but how do we do that? We don't want to just engage for the sake of engaging, right?

Here are 3 free and easy-to-use tools for engaging with patients that will give you the insights you need to make their experience better.

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Tags: Patient Engagement, Tools, Design Thinking

15 Free or Nearly Free Design Thinking Tools

Posted by Jordan Nottrodt


Embrace design to reach better results, achieve personal goals, thrive as a team, and improve the world around you.

Design Thinking is a process and mindset that's human-centred, iterative, and collaborative. Design Thinking methods are accessible to any industry and any experience level so you can get started today.

Begin applying this approach, and reaping the benefits, with the following free design thinking tools.

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Tags: Design, Tools, Design Thinking