A Call For Human Centered Design: Co-Creating the Call for Community Solutions with our Network

by | September 30, 2022 | News | 0 comments

“As we enter our 5th pivot toward transformational leadership, I remain enamored by the support that this following and (CCS) platform affords as it is an opportunity for us to provide cogent feedback and direct access to support systems that we think are relevant. “If you create an ecosystem that is agile and iterative, it allows more people to participate in the pivot and it also gives you more vantage points to look at solutions from a myriad of perspectives.”

Fred Brown, President & CEO of The Forbes Funds

Call & Courageous Response

As part of TFF’s unwavering commitment to embed regenerative processes and 360 mechanisms across our platforms that become self-sustaining throughout our interdependent ecosystem, we continually challenge ourselves to think and act in an adaptive, iterative fashion that inspires courageous conversations. With that objective in mind, our Call For Community Solutions took an intentional pivot this week toward the Human-Centered Design approach to drive engagement and maximize its potential. What emerged was an interactive session and thoughtful response from the community on a range of topics and questions designed to help us evolve our CCS platform collaboratively while transforming this shared space for community members to convene, drive conversations, and foster connections. Ultimately, collective impact gets measured by our ability to tailor programs and deliver services that fit the demands of the sector and serve the regional needs of the community. Doing so requires diverse perspectives and lived experiences which equip individuals with the agency and courage to recognize their unique thread within the safety net for humanity.

What Is Human-Centered Design?

It’s All About YOU!

Human-centered design (HCD) is an adaptive approach to problem-solving commonly used in the process, product, service, and system design, as well as management frameworks that develops a solution to problems by involving the range of human perspective and depth of emotion in all steps of the problem-solving process. Human involvement is essential to the process of informed decision making, particularly in the context of insights, research, and the iterative development of concepts and design solutions, work implementation, and success outcomes. From our perspective, the ultimate goal of human-centered design is an approach to interactive systems development that aims to make (eco)systems and platforms such as CCS usable and useful by focusing with intentionality on the community’s response, while remaining steadfast on being attentive to your needs and requirements.

Getting Out On The Balcony

As a fundamentally sound tenet of adaptive (and transformational) leadership, the human-centered design affords us the opportunity to go from being on the dance floor to “getting out on the balcony.” The concept of dance floors and balconies is introduced as a metaphor for being tactical versus strategic. Transactional versus transformative. Adaptive versus technical. Dancing is tactical. Getting out on the balcony overlooking the dance floor is strategic. It’s a deliberate move to see beyond what’s in front of us and who we’re dancing with in order to more fully adapt to our surroundings. Moreover, it provides a more comprehensive perspective and experience.

“It helps us to see that the bigger picture actually exists.”

Getting out on the balcony gives us removes us from the equation, making it less personal and less transactional. Getting curious and embracing a new perspective creates an opportunity to shift our mindset, enabling us to better adapt to critical changes facing our communities, our organizations, and our environments such as DEI or the mental health tsunami that is already devastating our communities and most vulnerable populations.

A Few Things We Discovered…

During the call, we posed several questions to the group that was polled instantly utilizing the Mentimeter platform. Following are a few, key highlights:

1.) Goal Alignment Is Key:

As an initial point of feedback from the polling during our call, goal alignment with TFF’s core, global frameworks (SDGs and SDoH) was cited by the community as something that has inherent value as a key feature for the call with relevance for the work, shared impact and results we are creating.

  • “Non-Profit leaders should understand the value of these frameworks…”
  • “Having an educational session that is separate would be helpful…”
  • “Any additional info helps others identify where they are developing impact or need to make changes…”

For added perspective and context, our human-centered design discussion aligned with the following:

  • Sustainable Development Goals:
    • Reduced Inequalities (#10)
    • Partnership For The Goals (#17)
  • Social Determinants of Health
    • Social & Community Context

Going forward, as a faithful response, it was recommended that we summarize the call with specific points, takeaways, and next steps that support and demonstrate alignment with the frameworks.

2.) Topic of Discussion

It was clear from our conversation that the variety of topics is the primary driver for registration, attendance, and participation in the calls. The polls provided during the CCS have effectively served as a vehicle to bring relevant topics to the forefront of the community. Overall, the balance appears to be key between topics that are meaningful to the broader audience and topics that are informative and meaningful to specific subsets of the ecosystem. In terms of format, “the more interactive the better” was the resounding response as the group expressed a strong desire to be able to engage with the speakers and presentations throughout the call.

“Breakout sessions facilitated by the speaker would be a great element to encourage interaction and deeper engagement.”

As we adapt and evolve this regenerative platform, another key theme and takeaway for maximizing our topics and corresponding levels of engagement coming out of the weekly calls was cadence. Specifically, as the call goes out on a weekly basis, TFF will endeavor to ensure that adequate forum and space are created to formulate the Call For Community Response to the opportunity, challenge or information presented. From this vantage point, the CCS is transactional, while the CCR becomes much more transformative.

3.) GPNP Policy Updates

The megaphone that the GPNP serves has come through loud and clear. In addition to the COVID-19 updates, other areas and suggested topics to cover include:

  • State budget (overall, prioritizing local and state over federal)
  • Equity in philanthropy (Trust-Based Philanthropy)
  • Talent retention
  • Equitable wage issues
  • Crisis response/Trauma-informed care
  • Civic and voter engagement
  • Immigration
  • Advocacy work
  • Education

Your response is always encouraged!

These are just a few highlights extracted from our human-centered design session. We need your response and perspective to truly make this pivot toward transformational leadership and the process of adaptive change effective and complete. Here are a few next steps on what you can do to lend your voice to the narrative going forward. Join us, as we join you in moving together from the dance floor to the balcony!

You can still submit your feedback – please do so here!

Take the advocacy capacity assessment!!

The goal of this assessment is to establish a baseline for advocacy work currently taking place by nonprofit organizations. We will then identify opportunities to:

  • build capacity through empowering nonprofit professionals as the subject matter experts on the needs of their communities to act as ambassadors linking government and nonprofit entities on each issue area
  • introduce or coordinate groups doing similar work across SWPA, and
  • convene diverse coalitions to DO THE WORK on an ongoing basis.

Reach out, share feedback or schedule a one-on-one discussion to go deeper:



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