Is innovative design the key to solving global health problems?

Human-centred design requires all kinds of thinking


Is there a global health problem that sticks out in your mind as particularly frustrating or unfair? Something you identify or sympathise with – which you feel passionate about changing? It could be something that affects any societal group – refugees, children, women, men, people experiencing homelessness, the LQBTQ community, people of colour. And it could be any kind of problem – mental health, prejudice, widespread poverty, or access to healthcare, food, shelter or clean water.


These problems tend to be gigantic, and widespread. They require innovative thinking if we are to make a significant difference on a global scale. Part of Global Ideas Forum is a session on ‘human-centred design’, in which we attempt to solve global health problems using a creative approach to problem solving.


Human-centred design is a process that:

  • starts tackling issues by looking directly at the needs of the people being designed for
  • ends with new solutions that are tailor made to suit their needs.


It’s effective because it centres on building deep empathy for the group for whom you are designing. Teams work to generate a ton of ideas; build a bunch of prototypes; share what they’ve created with the people they are designing for; and eventually put an innovative new solution out in the world.


Check out this video by Daylight for a great summary.



Reimagine Time at #GIF16


Using the principles of human-centred design, Reimagine Time is an opportunity for Global Ideas Forum delegates to work on a real-­world global health challenge provided by one of our partner organisations. This year’s partners are:



Each delegate at Global Ideas Forum will be allocated to a Reimagine Time group. It is an opportunity for to use the skills and insights they gain from the plenary sessions and workshops, as well as from their own experience and expertise, and apply them to real world global health challenges.


It’s also a great chance for our partner organisations to showcase their work, interact with the next generation of global health leaders from diverse backgrounds, and walk away with some new ideas and perspectives.
So if you’d like to work with a group of like-minded people, from a range of backgrounds, who bring with them a unique technical skill set, make sure you’ve got your ticket for Global Ideas Forum next weekend!


By Lucy Godwin, Communications Manager