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Analyze Your Data & Generate Insights

After your research phase, you’ll likely have a lot of data to analyze and synthesize, extracting important insights. This is often left up to one person or a small group of people who decide what’s important. The human-centered design methods below make the process more collaborative, which can generate discussion and reveal different insights from diverse team members. They work best with qualitative data, but there’s opportunity for insight generation when many people with different perspectives are looking at the most salient data together.

What is this?

An evidence safari allows you to examine the evidence surrounding a policy issue in a collaborative and visual way.

When should I use this?

Do an evidence safari at the beginning of a project to examine background research and set a common fact base for your team. You can also use an evidence safari to generate insights after collecting and analyzing quantitative and qualitative data during your discovery phase.  

What is this?

This method consists of saturating a space with lessons and data and then grouping them by themes.

When should I use this?

Qualitative and quantitative research produces a lot of information. Use this method as a way to take it all in and start to make connections. The groups and themes you identify will generate insights and the kernels of potential solutions.

What is this?

An empathy map is a tool used to synthesize findings from interviews, observations, and other research methods. It organizes observations into what people say, do, think, and feel to identify needs and other insights from their behavior.

When should I use this?

Use an empathy map when you are processing information gathered from people that are directly affected by the education policy or practice you’re researching. 

What is this?

A persona is a fictional person that represents the needs, desires, and motivations that your research has uncovered. Designers and marketers routinely use personas to focus their products and services on what matters most to their target population. You can also use personas to share your recommendations.

When should I use this?

Use personas when you need a meaningful archetype to use as inspiration for policy solutions and to test your ideas against.

What is this?

A 2x2 matrix is a very effective tool for rating existing or potential solutions on two dimensions, such as impact and feasibility or efficiency and effectiveness. 

When should I use this?

​​​​Use a 2x2 matrix when you have two characteristics that are particularly important for the success of a policy and want to gauge your ideas against them.

What is this?

The COCD box is a 2x2 matrix that you can use to rate potential solutions based on feasibility and originality. It helps you organize potential solutions into those you can implement easily, breakthrough ideas, and ideas for the future. 

When should I use this?

Like other 2x2 matrices, this should be used to evaluate potential solutions generated during brainstorming. The COCD box is particularly useful when your project has room for innovative solutions and you’re looking for original ideas.

What is this?

A journey map is a method for visually charting the experience of a person as they move through a process.

When should I use this?

Journey maps are best used to understand how a person currently interacts with a service or how they could potentially interact with a service. Consider using this when you want to see how a student or parent experiences a specific part of the education system. 
 

What is this?

This is a method to quickly screen potential solutions for feasibility by forecasting constraints and barriers to adoption and implementation. 

When should I use this?

Use this after generating a lot of potential solutions through brainstorming and identifying promising ones using a 2x2 matrix or another method above.