I was first introduced to innovation for social good in my freshman year in college. I read a story about Embrace Infant Warmer, a low-cost portable incubator designed by a group of Stanford students in 2008. They applied design thinking, a human-centered design methodology, to identify challenges of neonatal care in developing countries. They determined a lack of electricity access as the most significant barrier to providing good care for premature infants. To solve the problem, they designed an extremely low-cost, off-the-grid incubator that has since reached 200,000 infants around the world. I was touched and inspired by how combining technology and a human-centered approach can make such a meaningful impact for the disadvantaged.
Eager to learn more, I applied for the first design thinking club in Taiwan, was selected as a pioneer member, and was coached by members from Stanford’s d.school. Through the process, I learned how to use design thinking to cultivate creativity and empathize with people from the very privileged to the very disadvantaged. I was especially interested in working with engineers, designers and entrepreneurs to bring ideas to the for to consider users with varying capabilities. Therefore, I proactively practiced my facilitating skills and learned to be a coach to help teams to adopt user-centric approaches. In the five years since then, I have led hundreds of people, from students to senior executives, to apply human-centered methodology in their workplaces and to make positive social changes.