Watch: Placing Our Work in Sharp Focus

Following up on a post that my colleague, Samantha Ruiz, posted a few months ago on “Designing for Financial Inclusion in Sub-Saharan Africa,” I’d like to share a video that our team put together to bring to life the joy and power of being user-centred. The video, titled “Bakari,” Swahili for “with great promise," is a creative expression which brings to life a culmination of emotions and experiences whilst conducting ethnographic research in South Africa and Kenya, exploring the financial lives of people at the base of the pyramid.

Bakari "With great promise" from Doblin on Vimeo.

Like most projects we run at Doblin, it’s both gratifying and humbling to connect with the heads and hearts of the people we design for, however after speaking with dozens of people across townships and slums in Soweto, Diepsloot and Kibera, the experience left a lasting impression unlike any other. It was the type of experience that forced me to go deeper than ever before—it challenged all existing conventions and shaped the way I see the world around me. It went beyond the project approach, the processes and the insights. It interrogated who I thought I was, expanded my worldview and brought the purpose of our work into sharp focus.

The conversations and encounters that I had the privilege to be part of have become a driving force and catalyst for the way I approach innovation challenges today. This experience embedded a deep empathy, which serves as the foundation for meeting human needs, and is the basis for designing solutions that are relevant to the end user. As designers, we have the opportunity to create solutions that improve people’s lives, helping them realise their hopes, dreams and ambitions. “Bakari” goes beyond the video itself and was an experience that will not be forgotten. It will continue to inspire as we move from understanding the world as it is, to designing and shaping the world that could be.