A year of changes

We can all agree 2020 was a year that changed the world. We are lucky to be in the position to carry on our work during these times and are grateful to have a healthy team across the world. We moved to an entirely remote network of butterflies and are proud to continue working with wonderful clients and partners. 

Have a look at what we worked on in 2020. 
Beginnings of a toolbox...

We began user research on what is now the Butterfly Toolbox! Full of our method tools to help you apply design thinking to your work. Have a look at it here! 

Try out the method tools we use day to day and let us know how you get on!

Click to explore our brand new Butterfly Toolbox!
Design Thinking in a day

During a one day workshop, DT tools were applied to real life cases, questions and scenarios in order to identify key points and opportunities to embed human-centered design in Norwegian Red Cross’ humanitarian projects.

: Norwegian Red Cross

Work in Progress! Adapting to COVID19

We continued our work as a part of the Work in Progress! alliance, focussing on building the skills young people need to thrive in the 21st century. 

We conducted two remote design thinking courses for youth, including challenges around COVID19. As a follow-up to the TVET concepts ideated in 2019 we have set up core teams for TVET in Nigeria and Somaliland and further developed these concepts through a DT process in both countries. We also continued our research on start-ups and hubs, as well as on engagement and learning for the DT community of Practice.

Partners: Oxfam Novib, Hargabits, Ekobits, VC4A
Design research for inclusion

We conducted participatory research with refugees and Kenyans with visual and hearing impairment in Nairobi with GSMA’s Mobile for Humanitarian Innovation team. The project co-created mobile-enabled solutions to maximise inclusion and adapted tools that can be used by other service providers that would like to better serve people with disabilities.  You can read the outcomes in this report!

Partners: GSMA Mobile for Humanitarian Innovation, UNHCR, Safaricom
A month of tools and material on gender

April saw us work on two projects focussed on female entrepreneurship and gender equality. One developing a toolkit and the 2nd an e-Learning.
Tools for Agribusiness

We have co-created and delivered a toolkit for the Aya, a 6-month entrepreneurship track for women in agribusiness, as part of the 2Scale programme in Ethiopia and Burkina Faso. Part of the toolkit was a training of trainers and training of female led small and medium enterprises.

Partners:  BoP Inc
Gender e-Learning

Early this year saw us kick of a new project with IDH, to develop an e-Learning on gender for their staff across the globe. We used design thinking tools to understand how IDH staff learn best. We delivered a full e-Learning of 8 modules, full of resources, tools, animation, icons and quizzes- providing staff with a mix of theory and practice.

Partners: IDH

Interactive toolbox delivered

We proudly handed over our “Boite à Outils” or Toolbox to our partner GIZ in Burkina Faso. The Toolbox is an offline set of interactive tools - from myth cards to role plays and factsheets - that we co-created together with male and female agri-entrepreneurs. The toolbox supports them on the topics of finance, education and landright for agriculture. 

Partners: GIZ

Our Inspiration sessions also go online!

At our first ever remote 16th Inspiration Session, we brought together unusual suspects from different sectors to address the topic of cross-sectoral collaboration in a co-creative manner.

Curious? Read our Dare to Share manifesto here:


Join the community!

Together with Partos and The Hunger Project we hosted online events aiming to explore examples and experience from partners and discover touch points between Community Led Development and Human Centred design.

We will be continuing growing the human centred design community in 2021, you can find out more here!

Partners: Partos, The Hunger Project. 
Click to join our Meetup community
Arabia Felix serious game!

Together with GIZ, we embarked on a collaborative adventure to find out ways to bring the society together. That is the plot of the 8th serious game from the Arabia Felix series which has been developed by Yemeni developers, writers and artists. Join the community and be the first one to play it! You can also visit the Arabia Felix facebook page here.

Partners: Arkadia studios, Radical Graphics, Bomburo
PASSA Youth now online

The PASSA Youth platform: an online community for change agents in areas affected by disaster. PASSA (Participatory Approach for Safe Shelter and Settlement Awareness) is a methodology that equips young people worldwide with the skills to become agents of change and empower them to reduce the impact of disasters in their homes and communities. Through design research and a co-creative approach we developed an online platform that is used by youth facilitators to connect globally, share good practices and practical tools, showcase the results of their projects and scale up their impact.

Partners: IFRC, Habitat for HumanityHabi Education Lab

Visiting Romania from the classroom

We co-created an online game experience to replace traveling physically for students of the Innovation for Development Programme at the Van Hall Larensteijn (VHL) University. Making use of Google Earth and various game formats such as competition, clue hunting and team building, the result is an exciting alternative which gives students the opportunity to virtually explore and dive deep into a culture or context.

Partners: VHL

Calling design thinkers

Building on the DT course that we rolled out as part of the Work In Progress! alliance in 2019, we are creating a community of practice for design thinkers. The community is being co-created with our network and it will allow design thinkers and clients to exchange skills, knowledge and build networks. 

Stories on conflict sensitivity 

We collaborated with ZOA to support their international team in the creation of videos on Conflict Sensitivity, to exchange learnings and experiences. In 2019, we held a co-creation workshop in Hoenderloo to practice filming material covering a local conflict-sensitive issue. The following months, the country teams created actual content that resulted in inspiring final videos.

Partners: ZOA international

Boost the design industry in Ghana!

We conducted alongside the Ghana Design Network an online training for a selection of 20 Ghanaian designers and 6 commissioning clients to boost the Ghanaian Design Community. The 5 training sessions addressed topics such as the value of design, budget and pricing, pitching and professional client communication. A range of Ghanaian and international trainers and speakers collaborated with the designers on practical assignments.

Partners: RVO, GDN, Dr Monk
User-centered platform design

We conducted user research in collaboration with the Nairobi Design Institute and created a working prototype for a digital platform. The design research unveiled the needs of the users - Kenyan youth - for a digital platform to get reliable and information about Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights. Through an iterative approach, we translated the users’ needs into the website functionalities, building an information flows that allow users too easily navigate the platform.

Partners: SOA Aids, Nairobi Design Institute, LVCT

Updates and advice for The Next Economy

We have been working on the updates for three curriculums used in The Next Economy programme. This programme is targeting youth in Mali, Nigeria, Somalia, Somaliland to unleash their talents for a successful career. 

For SoS Children's Villages we co-created with trainers, coaches and coordinators. We ideated an easy-to-adapt format that is currently being tested in the new training sessions of Core Life Skills and Employability. In collaboration with Crosswise Works we worked on an incubation curriculum which is moving into the testing phase soon!

Partners: The Next EconomyCrosswise Works, SOS Children's Villages

GSMA DT workshop

We conducted an online training to introduce Design Thinking to the staff of GSMA to guide others in applying the Design Thinking process. We used a custom made DT training programme which included the mindsets, tools and steps that are part of the process. The training was held over 2 weeks and made up of 5 1-hour sessions. 

Partners: GSMA

Prototyping a Digital Hub

To explore the idea of a new international Digital Hub, we conducted user research to identify the needs of Share-Net Country Hubs’ members. The insights from the research were validated with the different Country Hubs and translates into functionalities through a co-creation session. These functionalities and the information structure of the Digital Hub were embedded in a working prototype that fulfils the needs of the stakeholders in terms of objectives, information content and structure.

Partners: Share-net


Remote Workshopping

During the Online Educa Berlin Conference, we introduced our design thinking and co-creation method for learning experience design to education and EdTech specialists from all over the world. Together with 50 enthusiastic participants we worked on a design challenge during a 1-hour online workshop: in Miro, made personas and used the lottery game as examples of DT tools.

Knowledge sharing in Burundi

Together with GIZ and 10 organisations working on social cohesion and peace in Burundi, we co-created new ways of sharing knowledge and learning from each other, using our design thinking approach. The organisations were also coached on how to use design thinking tools in their projects, as well as how to measure impact using DT tools.

Partners: GIZ, CAFOB, Centre Ubuntu, PPSMFondation Stamm, ERB, CHIRO, Biraturaba, SPDH, THARS

Our brand new Toolbox launched! 

On the 10th of December, we hosted our 17th Inspiration Session in which we launched our Butterfly Works Toolbox interactive website.

The session brought together 33 participants from various backgrounds, to whom we presented the Toolbox and who then collaborated in breakout groups.

Each breakout group worked on a real life challenge from The Humanity Hub, Makers Unite, and a project we did with GSMA. 

Click to explore our brand new Butterfly Toolbox!
Looking forward...

We cannot wait to see what the rest of the year has in store for us, and we are excited to collaborate with more and more inspiring people and partners around the world.
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