Design Thinking to End Homelessness


Design Thinking to End Homelessnes

We partnered with City of Minneapolis/Hennepin County Office to End Homelessness in Spring 2012 on the redesign process of their single-adult’s emergency shelter system. Using design thinking we engaged three key stakeholder groups - shelter staff, shelter clients, and community stakeholders. Building empathy through sharing stories, participants made drawings of their experiences in the system, and defined the problem. We mapped the complex system, proposed solution ideas, developed prototypes, a timeline, and next steps for the transformation ahead. Workgroups developed during this process continued action on the systems change process. We discovered that it takes on average a new staff person 7 years to completely understand the complex system. ‘Making things visible’ is one design thinking mindset that will benefit everyone working to end homelessness.




Minnesota Design Center

89 Church St SE

1 Rapson Hall (directions and maps)