Tabula Rasa -- "a blank slate." For us, this means looking at a problem with fresh eyes.

The key component for our human-centered design approach is the careful investigation that takes place before each engagement. We call that process Discovery. It requires curiosity, objectivity, and empathy. It’s a process we use to deeply know all the audiences for which we are designing. It’s critical to our work. This process is what informs an innovative and lasting solution. Our Discovery process includes activities such as interviews, surveys, and fly-on-the-wall observations, among others.

To be able to conduct a Discovery, you need complete objectivity. That’s nearly impossible to do when you are part of the existing ecosystem. Fresh eyes are key to uncovering pain points and working toward refinements and changes that makes lasting improvements.

Human-centered design requires deep understanding, thoughtful analysis, and critical thinking. You must be able to identify patterns, outline priorities, and translate the information you gather into a strategic roadmap.

Why are fresh eyes essential to the Human-Centered Design process?

A DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVE PROVIDES INSIGHT Outsiders are not tainted by existing internal views of an organization. They have not been part of the politics that may have created an obstacle in a system.

AN OUTSIDER HAS DIFFERENT EXPERIENCES FROM WHICH TO DRAW CONCLUSIONS A fresh set of eyes can bring a new understanding of a subject that an organization may not have. Outsiders can leverage past experience to educate others.

OUTSIDERS ASK DIFFERENT QUESTIONS Asking the right question can reveal essential information that leads to the perfect solution. Looking at something from a different angle can stimulate conversations that inform the design process.

FRESH EYES ARE NOT JUDGMENTAL Because outsiders are not connected to the system, they have no personal stake. Through discovery interviews, often those within the organization feel more comfortable supplying honest feedback. That honesty is what often leads to the best solutions.

We all know it’s difficult to take an objective look at your own systems. You’re in it too deep. You may feel like you know that something is “broken” in your organization but sometimes you just cannot pinpoint how the solution should be presented. A thorough Discovery provides meaningful findings that generate a strategic roadmap for an organization. And it very well may validate something you may have felt all along or bring about a surprising reveal. With a human-centered design process—with Discovery at its core—you find the lasting solutions.