Global innovation firm Frog Design are known for designing and producing innovative products and services for the western world. They also focus some of their efforts into social innovation in developing countries. This led the team to ask themselves two questions: In countries where design thinking and problem solving is a completely foreign concept, how can the design process be translated into something centred on skill development and knowledge sharing instead of concept generation for designers? Somehow, can design thinking become a vehicle to teach inquiry, leadership and problem solving to anyone in any culture?
In response to these questions, Frog Design developed the Collective Action Toolkit. These are a series of cards which helps community groups create positive change in their communities. Possible problems to solve can be endless. Nutrition, clean water access, public spaces could all be examined. All you need is a problem with a will to solve it.
Using a non linear group of activity cards, which include brainstorming, filming scenarios and community research, the activities continually return to the same premise: clarify and then re clarify the goal that needs to be achieved. Designed to maximise the effectiveness of group situations, the toolkit helps people openly share and discuss problems, drawing on each participants strengths and perspectives. It's a like a design superhero's ultimate research utility belt for non-designers.
Each activity in the toolkit was tested and evolved from participation of 50 adolescent and teenage girls in Kenya, Ethiopia and Bangladesh, as well as input from community leaders. Issues that were found during this prototype stage included the use of language. The idea of 'brainstorming' was completely foreign to the prototype participants, which led the team to abandon all forms of design language in the toolkit. The word 'design' is never mentioned once. Instead clear and simple vocabulary is used to get the message across.
The response sine its release has been tremendous, with over 10,000 people having downloaded the toolkit. It has been translated into Chinese and Spanish with translations under way for Italian, German, Pashto, Portuguese, Sinhalese and Tamil.
Best of all it's open source and free. So, if you think that there is a problem worth solving and you live, anywhere in the world, get your copy here.