Jenny Rabodzeenko, PhD

A cultural anthropologist, Jenny applies a human-centered research approach to help businesses and non-profits innovate. Her expertise lies in gaining deep insight into consumers’ lives and values and clearly communicating this insight to client teams, to ensure that design solutions solve for real human needs. Jenny has led innovation research projects in the US and abroad, guiding teams through every phase of the design thinking process. In addition to leading co-creation workshops in healthcare and education, she has taught Introduction to Cultural Anthropology at Columbia College and DePaul University.

The importance of user research: how insight drives innovation and the struggle to keep it alive throughout the design process.

What makes an insight worthy of action? How do we ensure that what we create truly addresses the needs of our end users?

These are big questions, and it can be difficult to keep them alive as the conflicting goals of addressing client’s needs, budget, and strategic goals, and what is relevant in the marketplace may appear irreconcilably disassociated with the original insights gathered from the field. This talk follows a social innovation project from early research findings through to a pilot launch in the marketplace, and discusses some of the ups, downs, and lessons learned from that journey.