It’s time to stop thinking that to do good means living in poverty

I took part in Human-centered Design online course in Feb-Apr 2015. We were asked to form a team with at least four members in it, at the maximum six. Our team SID Inspired consisted of six students studying Service Design at Laurea University of Applied Sciences. The diversity is better if there are more people involved in the team work. But if the team is too big, the scheduling and decision making gets too complicated. We all knew each other and we share the same interest in Service Design so the project work worked well.

SID inspired 22.2.2014

The course was free of charge and it was organized by the company NovoEd that delivers online courses in an online learning environment. The instructor of the course was It is a nonprofit design organization that works to empower the poor. works to create solutions to poverty-related challenges and it inspires and enables others to bring a human-centered design approach to their own work. +Acumen courses were launched in 2013 to share’s leadership training and insights from the field. +Acumen’s vision is to provide thousands of leaders around the world with the skills and moral imagination they need to become more effective at changing the way the world tackles poverty.


The Course for Human-Centered Design is a seven-week course that introduces participants to human-centered design and ways to create innovative solutions. It was created to reach people who are not familiar to human-centered design, so no prior experience was required. During the course we learnt to use methods of human-centered design and got hands-on experience on prototyping and testing solutions.


At the beginning of the course we learnt the human-centered design process by applying it to one of three pre-crafted real world design challenges provided in the course. Our team chose the challenge of Social Entrepreneurship. Each week we studied new readings, case studies and short videos. We met in-person with our design team several times during the course. Each time one person acted as a class leader. A team leader was mutually nominated beforehand and the one was responsible for organizing necessary supplies to the workshop.

I also interacted with other design teams around the world and discussed with them about the course in an online platform. The estimated workload during the course was approximately 5 hours per a week (1-2 hours of individual work and 2-3 hours of team work). Only requirement for joining the online course was a computer with a proper software to watch videos and an ability to upload assignments. Microsoft Office Word and Microsoft PowerPoint software was also required.

The subject to a course completion was the completion of all assignments on time. When the course is completed, participants get a statement of accomplishment signed jointly by +Acumen and

The course was designed with a group-guided learning structure which means that a team will learn the human-centered design process together. The three major phases of the human-centered design process were broken down into Inspiration, Ideation and Implementation.

Course overview

Course overview

Class 1—Intro to Human-Centered Design

Class 2—Inspiration Phase

Class 3—Ideation Phase (Synthesis)

Class 4—Ideation Phase (Prototyping)

Class 5—Implementation Phase


We designed a program for making youngsters aware of the possibilities of social entrepreneurship. Do it for a purpose, but with a profit. It is important to increase awareness. Schools should have social innovation clubs and a competition at the end of the semester. The prize would be something that makes the plans real. A winner could get professional assistance in drafting a business model, a seed money and coaching in scaling. And a personal mentor and a meeting with potential investors. Also any judge may choose to sponsor a good idea that did not win.

                It’s time to stop thinking that to do good means living in poverty.

Please see our end result here: Inspiring Social Entrepreneurs_final

One thought on “It’s time to stop thinking that to do good means living in poverty

  1. What an inspiring course! Design thinking and human centred design should eb used more in this context, I believe. There lies a big opportunity for companies to do business and alleviate poverty at the same time at so called base of the pyramid (BoP) markets around the world and I think many companies do not realise this yet. These people have little to spend, but providing cheap services that can be easily multiplied can bring profit to the companies while helping these people out of the poverty.

    I will check out if this course is still available later on, I would be really interested to participate. Thank you for sharing!

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