WHO project description (2009)

2009 Teachers and coordinators:
Teemu Leinonen, Mari Tikkanen (http://www.m4id.fi) and visitors

Social media tools and services are revolutionizing how we communicate and work together. The private sector has already begun adopting these new ideas and techniques, however, the same transformation has yet to take place among the international development sector, particularly within the United Nations. The possibilities these tools provide for new, better ways for global agencies to collaborate, communicate and work in a field environment are immense, yet they have not been explored. The urgent need for innovative design thinking and creative, yet practical and feasible solutions and services, is great.

Drawing upon the experience, insight and needs of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Health Action in Crises (HAC), the project will seek to find solutions for increasing the effectiveness of WHO’s emergency programme and communication by leveraging new/social media services, tools and technologies. This is a first attempt within the UN to incorporate new online technologies and services in this manner. In this study project we will thus explore the intersection between service design, media, digital tools and action (or the lack of it) through design research. The aim is to study the context in which WHO operates, define design challenges from this context, conduct participatory design with stakeholders and as the final deliverable present design concepts and prototypes.

The study project will last 15 weeks, starting January 16th and ending May 4th in a session presenting the concept and prototypes made. The final seminar with the presentation of the concepts will take place in TaiK.

Learning outcomes:
Students will learn to define design challenges and outputs with the customer and to manage and implement a design consulting process. Students will also learn about design for international organizations operating globally and in challenging environments.

Assessment criteria:
Students are expected to attend at least 80% of class meetings and participate actively in the discussion/process. At the end of the study project, students must present their design concept.

Study material:
Will be provided within the study project.

Begin date: 2009-01-16
End date: 2009-05-04
Max students: 12 (3 groups of 4)

8 full-day workshop days and group work between the workshop days.

Expected project outcomes:
* 3-4 unique and novel concepts of social media services and tools and their usage in the work of HAC and WHO.
* Full online documentation (blog) with all the project steps.
* Capacity building for HAC personnel on possibilities of social media, digital communications and services and cooperation in their work.

The student groups (3-4) will each have a budget of 2000-3000 € for materials, traveling etc. With the resources students may, for instance, travel to a WHO office to meet and work with WHO experts for a number of days. The student groups will design their own budget and will present it for the teachers who will approve it.

Project space:

was Collaboration Wiki in Google Pages.