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Paul Howard: Social innovation with paper airplanes

November 25, 2016
Communications Colunga Foundation

The director of the Knowledge Sharing Division (KnoSh), of the Community Solutions organization, Paul Howard, used a playful methodology to share with the social innovators of Undertake the Journey The Science of Improvement.

At the close of the fourth day of the Emprende el Viaje learning workshops, the 60 innovators of the social innovation convocation launched paper planes in a tight competition. How the construction of an origami becomes a practical exercise of social innovation? Through the Science of Improvement, and the PHEA model (plan, do, study and act), this learning system can be internalized in a playful way, and then applied to social programs.

"Almost all the programs have to improve and The Science of Improvement provides a clear and concrete method to do it", says the political scientist and American innovator, Paul Howard, who visited the Colunga Foundation to hold workshops in the Emprende el Viaje workshops.

"My way of teaching is to start with theory, then do a simulation and in the end make an application of your own work. In this case we use the exercise of building paper airplanes because it is fun and they have to apply the four steps of PHEA (in English PDSA), that is, they have a good time while they learn, "said Howard.

Paul held two workshops for the teams selected in Emprende el Viaje, one aimed at providing tools that allow them to co-create their projects with the benefited communities, and another that taught them, in an entertaining way, to apply the PHEA model, which will enable them to to carry out small-scale tests of ideas in the pilot phase.

innovación social

What is the PHEA model?

It is a cycle or formula that contains 4 concepts such as Plan, Do, Verify and Act:

  • Planning: In the planning stage, objectives are established and the necessary processes are identified to achieve certain results according to the policies of the organization. In this stage, the measurement parameters that are to be used to control and follow the process are also determined.
  • Do: Consists in the implementation of the changes or actions necessary to achieve the improvements proposed. In order to gain efficiency and be able to easily correct possible errors in execution, a pilot plan is usually developed as a test or test.
  • Verify: Once the improvement plan has been implemented, a trial period is established to measure and assess the effectiveness of the changes. It is a phase of regulation and adjustment.
  • Act: Once the measurements have been made, in the event that the results do not meet the predefined expectations and objectives, the necessary corrections and modifications are made. On the other hand, the pertinent decisions and actions are taken to continuously improve the development of the processes.
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