Maria Gabriela comes from Venezuela. She is 40 years old and has previous informal experience in beauty practices such as makeup and manicure. Her main weaknesses are her low self-confidence and low self-confidence in her possibilities for labor inclusion due to her poor academic background. All of this results in a need for empowerment, which would favor their inclusion in the labor market.
This phase is aimed at sharing and understanding María Gabriela’s feelings and needs in order to help her in her process of empowerment and labor inclusion. In addition, it is intended to evaluate the initial level of the competencies to be developed during the Design Thinking (DT) process.
To get to know María Gabriela better, the educator uses the activity Day by day. This will allow her to discover aspects of the person’s day-to-day life by watching the video she has made and then clarifying different aspects and commenting on them together.
Based on the information shared, the educator assesses this phase using the Evaluation thermometers. These data allow us to determine the openness shown by María Gabriela during the video and at the time of commenting on it. In addition, it also assesses whether the time spent was sufficient, as well as the degree of satisfaction with the information obtained.
The measures obtained reflect an unfavorable evaluation, given that in two of the thermometers (time spent and satisfaction), the educator considers that she has not been able to empathize with María Gabriela. With several scores below 3 out of 5 points, the intervention must be adjusted before moving on to the next phase of the DT process.
The educator, requesting the necessary permissions, decides to spend a day in the company of Maria Gabriela, which makes it easier for her to empathize with her and thus move on to the next phase of the DT process.
Once Maria Gabriela and the educator have achieved an adequate level of empathy, it is time to proceed with the initial competency assessment. The evaluation instruments used are: the Creative Imagination Test for Adults (PIC-A), the CREA test, as well as an adaptation of the Situational Test of Development of Basic Employability Competencies (DCBE). The information gathered will be useful to evaluate at the end of the process whether the DT methodology has promoted improvements that favor greater autonomy and empowerment in María Gabriela towards her labor inclusion. The results of the initial assessment indicate a low number of responses by Maria Gabriela to a given situation, as well as difficulties in questioning different problems. Also noteworthy are the low scores for teamwork.
This phase is aimed at improving Maria Gabriela’s ability to identify her problems and needs, define them concretely and decide where to start.
In this phase, given the degree of knowledge of the educator having spent a day with Maria Gabriela, both collaborate to be able to express the needs that she might present.
In this way, with the guidance of the educator, Maria Gabriela is able to systematically explore and identify different needs and define them in a concrete and operational way using the Definition formula (Description of the person + NEEDS + need + WHY + personal situation):
Maria Gabriela NEEDS to expand her network of friends BECAUSE she feels lonely in her host country.
Maria Gabriela NEEDS to broaden her academic training BECAUSE it could increase her chances of finding a job.
Maria Gabriela NEEDS to improve her self-esteem and empower herself BECAUSE she wants to enter the job market in the field of aesthetics.
Maria Gabriela must now decide which of the needs will be her first challenge. For this purpose, different criteria are presented to her to be taken into account: the time frame for its achievement (short, medium or long term), its level of difficulty (easy, medium or difficult), the degree to which she believes she will be able to meet the challenge (expectations of success) and the locus of control (whether the resolution of the problem depends solely on herself, depends on other people or is mixed). Two tools are used for the application of these criteria: the Axis of evaluations to classify the ideas according to difficulty and temporality and the Analogical scales which assess expectations of success and locus of control.
María Gabriela decides to solve in the first instance the Challenge 3. Although he considers it difficult, he believes that with a manageable level of effort he could solve it in the short term. She therefore finds it particularly motivating and recognizes that she is more dependent on herself.
Once this phase is completed, both the educator and Maria Gabriela evaluate the achievement of the main objective of this phase through the Evaluation thermometers
The identification of needs, their definition and the decision of which challenge to face. In this case, both assess the thermometers, so the educator explains in detail to María Gabriela the self-assessment process and the indicators used.
The evaluation is favorable (score equal to or higher than 3 out of 5 in all thermometers), so it is possible to move on to the next phase of the process. The progressive increase in María Gabriela’s self-confidence and motivation is noteworthy, as she scored 4 out of 5 on the “appropriate and motivating decision making” thermometer.
Based on the previously selected challenge (Maria Gabriela NEEDS to improve her self-esteem and empower herself BECAUSE she wants to access the job market in the field of aesthetics), she uses the tool The hats to obtain inspiration for the contribution of ideas that can provide a solution to the challenge posed, taking into account different perspectives. Maria Gabriela raises the following ideas:
I would have contacts to work with and it would be easier to demonstrate professional training.
He could devote himself to aesthetics without looking for a job, as a hobbie.
Organize events or workshops in which to showcase their aesthetic and cultural skills and invite other women in the area.
She would look for another job and try to tackle it no matter what they thought of her.
In order to evaluate the ideas provided in each hat, the following tool is used Devil’s advocate, so that for each form of resolution:
You would need to know someone to be able to access the labor market and validate your qualifications, which involves putting too many procedures in place.
It would not improve her self-esteem and she would not feel as fulfilled.
She would need to find that network of women in her situation.
She does not have the same strength and self-confidence that her mother has.
Finally, the perspective selected to face the challenge is the one related to the yellow hat, since the NGO that supports Maria Gabriela could help her to find a support network of migrant women in the same situation.
The procedure of analyzing the unfavorable aspects of each of the ideas has allowed Maria Gabriela to understand and train a systematized procedure for making informed decisions, while favoring greater autonomy and efficiency. It also helps Maria Gabriela to become more aware of the reason for her decision, which will have an impact on her motivation and expectations of success.
In order to evaluate this phase, the educator, as well as Maria Gabriela, use the Evaluation thermometers which in this case evaluate: the number of ideas proposed (fluency of ideas), their variety or diversity (flexibility of categories) and finally their degree of personalization (originality).
In order to evaluate the fluency and flexibility indicators, the criteria established by the educator are applied to the thermometers: the number of ideas (rated from 1 to 5) and the different response categories proposed (rated from 1 to 5, so that if more than 5 alternatives are offered, the score of 5 is maintained). In terms of originality, María Gabriela and the educator comment on and take into account the level of personalization of the proposal and the extent to which it reflects their personal idiosyncrasies.
Based on the results obtained, it is possible to move on to the next phase of the DT process by obtaining a positive evaluation (score equal to or higher than 3 out of 5) on the flexibility thermometer. In this case, fluency is not assessed, since only 4 ideas related to the 4 different hats were requested. In addition, Maria Gabriela’s proposal is considered original due to its personalization and adaptation to the personal context.
In order to prototype the chosen idea, Maria Gabriela must think about and then
Draw her idea with the steps you are going to follow. In this case, it uses a tool for the creation of online comics (Storyboard), so that an NGO worker with experience in the use of ICT tools collaborates in this phase.
In addition, the educator offers Maria Gabriela her opinion on the process she has decided to follow and improvements that could be included. This reflective process allows María Gabriela to clearly identify how to put her idea into practice.
At the end of this phase, it should be evaluated whether the competencies that were intended to be developed have reached a satisfactory level: ability to identify all the significant elements that allow solving the challenge, ability to propose an adequate time sequence and ability to precisely define the steps to be followed.
The evaluation obtained with the help of the Evaluation thermometers (in all of them the score has been equal or higher than 3 out of 5 points) allows to continue towards the last steps of the process, since Maria Gabriela has been able to propose an adequate time sequence, to define the steps quite precisely and to identify most of the most significant elements.
In this last phase, the plan is implemented and the programmed actions are executed. The facts are as follows:
María Gabriela goes to the NGO that helps her to ask for a list of women in her situation. Faced with the institution’s refusal to provide her with this confidential data, they proposed the possibility of convening them through a meeting at the institution, in which Maria Gabriela took the initiative and explained to the other women the idea of indicating their skills for the creation of workshops or events. At this meeting, the data of the women who are willing to participate is recorded, thus deciding that the initiative would focus exclusively on the organization of events, which could be attended by anyone (they should therefore seek promotion on social networks, develop posters, etc.) and, in addition, companies dedicated to the aesthetics sector would be invited so that they could visualize their work and be able to hire them.
In this way, since all the participating women were interested in the esthetics sector (manicure, pedicure, makeup), the tasks were distributed as follows:
The evaluation of this last phase is carried out in a final Final meeting with María Gabriela, reflecting on the implementation of the prototype following the planned plan, taking into account criteria such as: persistence and resolution of difficulties during the process, autonomy and empowerment to carry out the plan and resolution of the challenge posed. María Gabriela is empowered and satisfied with the application of her idea to the real context, as well as with the decision-making process and the difficulties overcome.
To finalize the process and make visible through objective data the improvement of Maria Gabriela in the different competences related to the problem solving process, the evaluation instruments related to session 4 are applied again (CREA, PIC and the adaptation of the DCBE). The data obtained provide María Gabriela with objective evidence that helps her to become aware of her improvement in exploring her needs, making decisions, seeking alternative solutions, planning and organizing, empowering her and thus increasing her chances of labor inclusion. In addition, the results of these tests show, with respect to the initial evaluation, an improvement on the part of Maria Gabriela in terms of the responses offered to a given situation.
The information obtained through objective tests is completed with an interview.
Interview focused on the following questions: does Maria Gabriela feel more empowered, did she have fun, does she think the methodology can be useful in the long term, what aspect of the DT process did she like the most/least, what would she change, which phase and which activity caused her the most/least difficulties, is she aware that a problem can be solved in different ways, will she face problems differently from now on? Maria Gabriela is more empowered, affirming the usefulness of the DT process to apply to the resolution of her daily life problems. Likewise, she highlights her interest and liking for the activity and tool of the hats, given the metaphorical sense of being able to see problems from different perspectives.
Finally, in order to evaluate the correct acquisition, internalization and comprehension of the DT methodology, the following games are used Design Thinking. Turn your problems into solutions and Maria Gabriela is asked to carry out the process again in an autonomous manner, starting from another of the challenges set out in the Define phase. The educator, in this case, only records progress.