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Veronica Posada (center) working with the women victims of conflict to build a visual representation of their neighborhood to gain an understanding of their daily routines and interactions.
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Through years of civil war and unrest in Colombia, thousands of women have been victims of horrible crimes.
These women must often leave everything behind to rebuild their lives. The challenge of overcoming the economic and social obstacles that come with displacement can seem insurmountable.
That’s where people like Accenture Experience Design Analyst Veronica Posada come in.
By participating in Accenture Development Partnerships’ programs like Women Victims of Conflict in Colombia, people like Veronica are working to create solutions to real-world challenges, such as helping victims of conflict find a path to a brighter future.
Designing for impact
As a Service Designer and Qualitative Researcher, my role is to create meaningful digital and physical experiences that solve complex problems affecting clients and their customers. I often use design thinking to understand people’s needs and motivations, and create solutions based on what I find.
A few months ago, I was asked to facilitate a design-thinking workshop for Accenture Development Partnerships. I knew Accenture was committed to corporate citizenship but I had not heard of Accenture Development Partnerships.
I learned the Accenture Development Partnerships’ team was creating a proposal for a design-thinking project for the Women Victims of Conflict in Colombia program.
Design for social impact has always been my long-term goal, so when the opportunity arose to join this project, I didn’t hesitate.
I wanted to learn from the women, from their stories, from my country’s history and from myself in becoming a social-impact designer.
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Veronica Posada (second left) and team member David Jose Duarte (far right) with a number of the women in the program.
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Creating meaningful change
I served as a design-thinking facilitator for the project, creating and delivering workshops to help the women tackle challenges they were facing at a community level.
We learned what the women really wanted and needed by combining two design thinking methods: immersive observation and group-qualitative interviews.
By analyzing both, and understanding “the why behind the what,” we were able to identify five main obstacles the women were facing.
In this case, our proposed solutions were more analog than digital. We focused on things like paper signs to showcase their businesses, the creation of public fairs, piggy banks and helping them establish savings routines—practical solutions to help them manage and grow their enterprises.
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When hugging to say goodbye after the workshop, program participant Luz Estella lifted Veronica unexpectedly.
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A sense of empowerment
The real impact of this project happened at an emotional and social level.
These women felt empowered by seeing their enterprises as a life project and not just as a way to earn money. They understood it could help them achieve their dreams, such as having a house or educating their children.
Working on this project filled my heart. It reminded me that the most important things in life are human connections, and that the more fortunate we are, the more we are called to give back.
After having to run from their homelands and even watch family members being kidnapped or worse, they somehow lost their sense of community and attachment. By getting to know women from similar situations and sharing their own fears and pains, they were able to feel part of a community again, and with that they felt understood, supported and protected.
Blending work and personal passions
At Accenture, I’ve found a place where I can blend my work and personal passions by doing what I love every day.
I graduated from the Universidad de los Andes, Colombia, and was referred to the Accenture Digital Design team by a friend. I had always dreamed of starting my career as a design consultant with a multinational company, so Accenture was the perfect fit.
The thing I like most about Accenture is the learning and development opportunities. No day is equal to another at Accenture.
We’re constantly learning from each other and coordinating our work, processes and value creation with other teams. It’s very enriching to work on projects that involve other areas of Accenture, such as Technology or Management Consulting.
By working with Accenture Development Partnerships, I gained invaluable experience about the design process and project implementation, the social-impact industry and insights into how our partnerships work.
If you’re looking to do work in the design space, I’d say to embrace every challenge and see it as an opportunity to make something or someone better.
Innovate and do work that makes a difference, every day. Find your fit with Accenture.
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