This Human-Centered Design (HCD) Discovery Stage Operations Guide is a companion to the Human-Centered Design Discovery Stage Field Guide. The latter provides the Why of the HCD project and illustrative case studies, while the former, this Operations Guide (Ops Guide), acts as the workbook and archive of an HCD Discovery project.
The Ops Guides’ format allows project managers, project leads, researchers, team members, and leadership to contribute to institutional knowledge through building an accurate and detailed record of a project’s process. As Discovery provides a format for agencies and departments to continuously pursue a better, more nuanced understanding of people’s experiences, it is crucial that we systematize and archive the knowledge so that these institutions can build upon it in the future.
By listening to those we serve, HCD as a project cycle allows agencies and departments to create new and evaluate current programs. This moves the organizations towards the goal of improving service, both in terms of understanding how people would like to receive services from their government as well as providing a nuanced perspective of any quantitative data that has been collected and requires interpretation.
How this Guide Gives Direction
Throughout this Operations Guide, the authors have elected to speak to a generalized “you”. However, the use of “you” should not be interpreted as a directive to one person. “You” in English can mean a single person, but it can also mean a group of people or a team. It is to teams that we are speaking throughout this Guide.
A team-based approach is central to the Human-Centered Design process. By crowd-sourcing our knowledge and understanding through teams, we get to best answers for problem identification, directed research, open-minded review, and open-minded conclusion-making. Therefore, please read “you” as “you all, the team”, throughout the Guide. We used the simple “you” form as a convenience to avoid wordiness.