Designing and Facilitating Rei Foundation’s Covid-19 response for their partners in Cambodia, Malawi, and New Zealand.

Rei Foundation Limited
Non-Profit Organization
Jan 2021

How InsightPact designed and facilitated a programme for Rei Foundation Limited’s partner organizations to build their innovation capacities, learn new skills, effectively trial ideas and experiment with new approaches to build organizational resilience using Human-centered design approach.

“It was a pleasure working with InsightPact on this COVID-19 response for our partner organisations in Cambodia, Malawi and New Zealand.

The InsightPact team facilitated an engaging multi-month programme of designing and prototyping new projects that addressed a wide range of issues, from artist employment, to substance abuse, to enabling peace building practitioners to access the most recent research in their field.

With the experiences gained through this programme, our partners have successfully adjusted and implemented their prototyped designs and have already applied the same methodology on other projects.”



Rei Foundation Limited is a non-profit organization established in 2012 with the primary objective of contributing to social change through sustainable development. In 2020 at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, Rei Foundation Limited launched the Prototype and Innovate fund.

The fund was aimed at supporting the Foundation's partner organizations through a combination of capacity building in Human-Centered Design, and financial resources to effectively research, build, and test new innovations to solve problems that they identified in their contexts.

An outcome that we hoped to achieve was the application of human-centered design principles and methods in other projects at each partner organization, and to do so in a way that could help in responses to future sudden disruptions, such as in the case of future pandemics. We set the foundations for this by designing the program in such a way that built confidence through practice and achievable ‘wins’ in every step of the process when co-creating with stakeholders and potential customers.

InsightPact was chosen by the foundation to design and facilitate the programme that lasted over several months due to the company's extensive experience in the fields of Human-centered design and Design Thinking.

The Challenge

The programme had six participants, four organizations and two individuals from three different countries and diverse backgrounds most focusing on arts and culture development in their contexts. Participants included artists, activists, librarians, academics, and government employees working in a variety of civil society contexts.

  • This diversity in terms of both location and background presented the following main challenges in designing this programme.
  • Accommodating time zones between three different countries.
  • Ensuring that all participants from countries or areas with low internet connectivity were included and had access to resources.
  • Ensuring that resources were relevant to the context of the participants ideas and problems they were trying to solve given their diverse backgrounds.

The Solution

Despite the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, InsightPact co-designed and facilitated a 4 month program with 16 hours of touchpoint per team, including nine group sessions and one individual feedback session per project.

In the 16 weeks program we introduced the participants to the basics of human centered design, including design techniques such as insight gathering, problem framing, ideation and testing, which they used to further develop their project ideas and develop prototypes using the grant availed to each team by Rei Foundation through their Prototype & Innovate Fund.

To develop a sense of community amongst the participants, we created a Whatsapp group and hosted informal virtual coffee meetings. This allows the participants to not only connect and share ideas but also gain outside perspectives from their peers from different countries and fields to further enrich their projects.

The programme was delivered using Google Meet to overcome the internet connectivity issues mentioned above and ensure that all participants have access to the sessions without having to download and install additional software on their computers. The platform also has breakout rooms and closed captions, which made it ideal for participants who speak different languages.

The Results

  • All the teams in the programme were able to prototype a service or product, which included a website for artists, a performance venue, a research platform and photobook library
  • Through the co-creation and idea sharing process participants were able to form a community, learn from each other's challenges and build long term relationships with their peers from different countries, which enabled them to come up with better solutions.
  • Participants gained a better understanding of the impact of what they were creating by talking to stakeholders.
  • InsightPact was able to establish a co-creation process with the client for the nonprofit sector.


Human-centered design can be applied to any project or organization to build co-creative skills in product, service, or process design. While human-centered design cannot solve every problem, co-designed and facilitated human-centered design programs can enable participants to realize insights about their day to day processes and re-think opportunities and assumptions about their stakeholders and ideas in highly impactful and agile ways.

Below are some recommendations based on this programme on how you can take a human-centered approach to rethink how you engage your customers, employees and partners during this unprecedented time?

  • Break down and deflect on current processes within your organization and reflect on what co-creation looks like with your partners or stakeholders.  
  • Take a facilitated approach, look at what facilitator can be effective for your design process.
  • Look at past products/services and see if assumptions have been checked against customers and stakeholders.