Yesterday, LiquidHub’s Philadelphia Studio hosted a design research discussion for visiting MBA and Executive MBA students from Sydney, Australia’s University of Technology Business School. The discussion, led by James Moustafellos, Practice Lead for Design, with Lauren McEwan, Senior Design Research Consultant and Shannon Fitzhugh-Mengers, Lead Research Consultant, focused on how to approach design research and draw through complex problems.

The cohort from Australia is working on a project to reduce global trafficking in illegal animal parts by addressing the demand side of the market. This is a challenging research and design problem. How do you document markets that do not want to be visible?

The LiquidHub team approached the problem by sharing the methods we typically use on our client projects. In any sensitive project, there is always the potential for encountering people who do not wish to talk, who want to remain hidden, and who do not want to share information. The challenge for a design researcher is to find ways to build trust with stakeholders so that they are willing to share their knowledge and to find patterns in the disparate information available.

It was great to see how excited our Aussie colleagues were by the work we showed them and the methodologies we shared. They all want to know if we have plans to open an office in Sydney!

We are looking forward to seeing how they apply what they learned to solve this problem.