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Design Thinking

Project Background

Community Development and Health Network (CDHN) has been funded by Health and Social Care Board (HSCB) to deliver the Self-Care Pharmacy project. It aims to improve the knowledge and understanding of self-care for minor ailments through a health literacy approach.   The project is part of a strategy from the Department of Health to put pharmacy first and support self-care for minor ailments. One of the main elements of the project is Design Thinking.

What is Design Thinking?

Design Thinking is an approach to solving problems which allows everybody engaged in the process to be a creative thinker. It is most useful when tackling problems that are ill-defined or unknown – in this case, improving health literacy and increasing people’s capacity to self-care for minor ailments.   It is a five-stage process as follows.








How will the Design Thinking project be delivered?

Empathise:   A major part of this stage of the process is insight gathering.  Between May and August 2019, CDHN gathered insights with over 150 people in communities throughout Northern Ireland.  In November and December 2019 we held six workshops to hear the views of GPs, GP practice managers and receptionists, GP social workers, pharmacists, NI ambulance service, Out of hours and Emergency departent staff.

Define the problem, Ideate and PrototypeThese stages will be delivered through a two-day Design Thinking workshop.   The participants will:

  • View the findings from the insight gathering and add further insights and knowledge
  • Listen and learn from each other about the real issues facing patients and health professionals and others who support people with minor ailments
  • Identify the problems and use a human centred approach to build problem statements 
  • Identify key themes and reach agreement on the top challenges that are ripe for innovation
  • Generate new ideas to solve the challenges
  • Begin to build potential solutions
  • Agree next steps for action

Test:  CDHN will take the lead on exploring how the solutions could be implemented.   These solutions will be presented to the project funder HSCB and the Self-Care Pharmacy reference group where potential lead partners and funding avenues will be explored.

The Design Thinking process is currently underway, if you would like any more information contact