How did you make sure that your idea actually fits the needs of the users?


Every project comes with requirements and deliverables, knowing that the people in charge of the project will come up with a bunch of ideas which should perfectly fit the target user’s needs, and consequently create the perfect product. However, is not that simple, 8 successful innovators share their strategies and tell us how to do it.

According to the founder and current President of Cibervoluntarios, “Nothing is more human than technology, because technology is communication, participation, action and we are social beings by nature… All our training activities are adapted to each specific need of each collective… Our programs have a wide range and each of the programs we run is specific for each group of attention: “Innovadoras TIC” to foster the potential of women in TECH, “Digitalizadas” to train in Digital competences for entrepreneurship for women living in rural areas, “Para Piensa Conectate” to raise awareness among children, teens, parents and educators to fight against cyberbullying and use Internet in a safe way, “Integra en Red” to train people with disabilities in Digital competences.  And this is how social innovation should be: Putting the citizens needs at the centre. Social innovation is an everyday practice attending to the needs of people who might be at the risk of social exclusion. There is no social innovation if the solutions provided don’t solve existing problems”.

Yolanda Rueda, Cibervoluntarios

“This was one of the hardest parts of what we did”, the CEO and co-founder of Fresh Check explains, “Our core technology is fairly robust, but there have been hundreds of hurdles along the way, all based on what our users need and do. Different companies have different cleaning routines and explaining the fine-points of how our product works has proven very difficult. We’re still refining and tweaking our spray so it better suits users through an iterative process. Going and spending time with people using our product was the most useful, as it shows us how people interpret what we’re doing so we can better explain it. It’s often not easy to see our product taken apart and critiqued, but it has been one of the most important processes we’ve ever done and worth all the months of testing!”.

Alex Bond, Fresh Check

The initiator of Re-BUTTON has a different perspective “Testing in a «hard» situation must be part of the design process. You have to be sure that it works as well as possible without the need for too much intervention or explanations to use it. Also, you need to get feedback and ask the right questions to bring the project to the next level”.

Chris Obrist, Re-BUTTON

Peter Frühmann, CEO of Story Bag and Khaled Al-Ostath, an undergraduate student launched Reading Stars of Gaza; an English literacy program that targets Children in Gaza to help them to become fluent and proficient readers. Frühmann, an expert in the field of narrative techniques and storytelling, with over 30 years of experience, explains, “Khaled had set up a programme that was seemingly so convincing and enthusing, that mothers of other (not-orphaned) children asked if their children could participate as well; they also offered to help with the lessons”.

Peter Frühmann, Story Bag

DayCape is a digital image calendar for children with autism. By transforming autism into a superpower, Håkanson wants to help the users develop the confidence to embrace the exciting day ahead, he says, “I´m an educated User experience designer so my first and current focus is to always focus on the users’ life and needs. During my work I frequently done interviews with children, families and schools to learn how to create and progress with DayCape. After we launched DayCape we also frequently received feedback mail and calls from all over the world from DayCape users. In Sweden we actually received an award for one of the teen most user focused companies in Sweden called Human cantered Business index”.

Anton Håkanson, DayCape



For Alejandro Hernández Renner, the soul of Fundación Maimona, it is about people finding solution to people´s problems in an innovative and collaborative way, “Yes, there was a vast consultation process, and several kinds of links with the users are always active”.

Alejandro Hernández Renner, Fundación Maimona


As explained by the general manager and founder of AVANTUS employment centre, “Children today have a lot of plastic toys and many toys focussing on learning and addressing the intellectual part of their brains. However, they also need toys for cuddling addressing and mobilising the emotional part of their brains. We were not sure in the beginning whether this would appeal to children, but our customers took away this doubt. Apart from the toy in itself, the fact that the toys are made in a social enterprise, by persons otherwise excluded from the labour market and using a “waste” product, is a combination which appeals to our customers”.

Matjan Cojhter, AVANTUS


“We focus on providing custom-made, high quality and unique designs, giving our clients access to unique sustainable textiles, certifications, origin and location information. Our customers are those caring for the preservation of the environment and the inclusion of the most fragile people living in our communities, offering them: a garment that has a strong social and environmental footprint with Zero waste production processes. Our clients are: Ethical Private Labels; Commercial Clients merchandising of customized goody bags & uniform apparel; Food labels replacing plastic with sustainable packaging for food industry producers and the general public through our own label of garments made from sustainable, organic, vegan, recycled textiles and upcycled techniques during training…” shares the co-founder of SOFFA, Fiori Zafeiropoulou, an academic and a social entrepreneur who holds an award winning PHD on Social Entrepreneurship.

Fiori Zafeiropoulou, Social Fashion Factory, SOFFA

Want to know more what other Social Innovators think about their projects/initiatives, their ideas, their challenges, their plans for the future, and their lessons learned. Check out the Social Innovation Academy for more interviews, answers and other topics related to social innovation.


It will be the first Social Innovation Academy in Europe, with a fully online management training programme focusing exclusively on social innovation, developed EOLAS, Limitless and with 3 other partners.


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