Improving Clean Water Access in Belcourt, ND with Design Thinking

Four Masters of Public Health students are completing a month-long design thinking sprint on improving access to healthcare in rural areas. Join us July 1st at 10am to hear their story.

Creativity with a Cause

NiceX is a design-thinking sprint hosted by the Nice Center with the goal to create ideas and solutions for real-world problems. This June, The Nice Center partnered with Stefanie Meyer in the Department of Public Health at NDSU to use this approach to address rural healthcare challenges.

At the beginning of the month, four students joined from around the globe including:

  • Leonela Nelson from Navajo Nation
  • Omobosinuola Shyllon from Nigeria
  • David Adeyeye from Nigeria
  • Mykaylynne Belgarde from Belcourt, ND

The initial meeting was the ideation session. With two students in-person and two remote, they generated over 70 potential ways to address the challenge. In this ideation session over 90 minutes, they learned the lesson that the best way to have good ideas is to have lots of ideas. They practiced the art of capturing every idea and not filtering out their creativity. Look at this amazing body of work in just 90 minutes!

Improving Clean Water Access in Belcourt, ND

After the ideation, they then organized those 70 ideas into topic areas and focused on a challenge they wanted to work on for the next three weeks. You can see the dark orange ideas that were their initial choices, ultimately settling on clean water access.

With that topic in mind, we then added the constraint of time and the concept of an MVP – minimum viable product. Since they only had a couple of weeks for the project, they needed to get specific. They worked independently to talk through the ideas and identified Belcourt, ND as a specific geography they wanted to work on as they explored the challenge of improving access to clean water.

Learn by Doing

With the challenge in hand, the next step was to conduct user interviews. They reached out to anyone in their network who had expertise related to the challenge. This included professors who research in the area, local residents who work in Belcourt, local agencies who handle infrastructure, and others who face similar challenges elsewhere in the world.

With these interviews, they identified the common challenges the users faces. By doing this they found a specific problem to focus on and validated that problem with local users, or residents. That problem became the launch pad for their opportunity statement: how might I?

The students asked how might we solve these specific problems faced by their interviewees? How might we use the knowledge from the interviews to solve the problems?

The opportunity statement led the students to their MVP. They worked to create a small version of an idea that would help solve the challenge.

Showcasing their Ideas

The final step is for the students to share their MVP. This prototype will ideally spark ideas and support in the community. We know the best way to have a good idea is to have lots of ideas, so by showcasing their work, they are working to activate a broader community to help solve teh challenge.

Fortunately, you can help!

This Thursday at 10am Central, the students will be showcasing their work and the journey to get there. You can join virtually and ask questions, provide support, and learn how we can all solve problems facing communities we care about.

Register here for the showcase.

Posted on June 28th, 2021 by Scott in Events