Co-founder Ayush Chauhan spoke at the annual workshop of the University of Chicago Center in Delhi commemorating the graduating class of International Innovation Corps, a year long fellowship program that sends top student talent to work with Indian government on critical development problems. Ayush's panel was on Last Mile Connectivity focusing on how successfully piloted solutions and interventions can be effectively rolled out and adopted across the target audience.
Ayush led by saying that the design of good quality, sustainable pilots required program teams to champion the last mile - that moment of truth when all the careful deliberation on systems, policy and enabling institutions meets the consumer. Using Quicksand's work on the direct benefit transfers project and the urban sanitation project as examples, he demonstrated how an ostensibly powerful, transformative public policy begins to break down when no one champions the end-user.
After sharing a few observations from the two projects, Ayush spoke of the value of human centered design (HCD) as an approach to work through these very challenges, highlighting three core aspects of HCD:
- Understand end-user experience (to integrate people centered research as a part of one's personal repertoire of skills and tools and not relegate it to commissioned studies)
- Co-create solutions (learn to involve stakeholders early on from a wide spectrum of specializations no matter how ambiguous and unclear the problem may be at the moment)- Make prototyping and testing a continuous part of the process (move it out of the domain of just pilots and make it a part of program scale up and implementation as well)