Community-Driven Discovery

Community-Driven Discovery

Consider recruiting members of the community to be the primary researchers, translators, designers or key informants for your project.

By asking respected community members to lead the research, your team will gain expertise, insight and perspective. The involvement of community members with strong relationships or a reputation for intelligence and fairness may help other participants to express their concerns openly and honestly. These research partners can also help interpret the meaning and motivations behind the statements of other participants.

2-4 Days
  • Pen
  • Notepad
  • Design team
  • Community members
The HCD Toolkit
and all HCD methods are licensed under: Creative Commons License
Instructions for this Method
  1. Before starting a project using Community-Driven Discovery, work to understand the relevant dynamics and power relationships of participants. Community politics can sometimes transform your research project into a community battle for access to the resources of you and your team. Even the incorrect perception of favoritism can be damaging to your project.

  2. Identify a few people in the community who will be good members to have on the design team. Try to ensure that these individuals are trusted, respected members of the community, that they are fair and unbiased, and have no personal stake in the results of the design solutions.

  3. Decide how you will compensate these individuals. Sometimes it will be appropriate to pay them a salary based on what other members of the design team are getting paid, while in other situations, non-monetary gifts are more appropriate. If you are uncertain, seek advice.

  4. Integrate these community design team members at every point in the project, valuing their knowledge of the community dynamics and needs.

  • When identifying participants, it may be helpful to include people in the community who are particularly innovative or who have been doing things out of the ordinary in order to achieve success. Consider how might you partner with these individuals to inspire new solutions. Learn by leveraging their innovations and knowledge.
  • Check out the following tools for assistance designing your interview: Identity, Power & Politics Worksheet

Discuss this Method