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Smirnowstudios_Christian Smirnow_Diagram
Design Process*


Mixed-method research  – including semi-structured interviews, design-led interactions, secondary research, SWOT & STEEP analysis, and surveys – builds a unique data-set.


Analysis and synthesis with mapping- and visualization-tools bridge sense-making with insights-generation. User journeys and system maps simplify complex findings and help identify relevant fields of opportunity.


Scenarios and blueprints serve the (participatory) ideation-phase. Pre-determined and emerging boundaries and constraints become criteria for idea selection.


The array of iterated prototypes spans from paper-prototypes and graphics to functional artifacts as well as digital mock-ups. Consistent testing of assumptions and hypotheses with users and other stakeholders leads to delivering the solution with the highest innovation potential.

Three core capacities prevail along the entire process and facilitate success: (1) Enablement of every person involved; (2) participation of stakeholders to ensure buy-in and ownership; (3) leadership on the pivoting scale between being led and leading others.

Three core assets build the ethical framework for the process: (1) Values driven by social, ecological, and economic sustainability inform a tailored set of (2) design principles including financial, legal, social, psychological and other factors; (3) the organization's strategy defines boundaries and possibilities for everything else.


Design Approaches

A variety of human-centered and future-oriented design-approaches inform my practice.

At the intersections of the dominant approaches including applied user research, service design, systems thinking, and strategy, lie sub-sets of methods and practice including participatory design, speculative design, and team development among others.


Practical and theoretical rigor as well as a clear set of values frame this adaptive array of approaches.

Smirnowstudios_Christian Smirnow_Diagram
Theory of Change

Transtheoretical Model of Behavior Change**

The TTM describes how a person theoretically acquires new positive behaviors. This behavior change usually unfolds in 5 stages within every human. During (1) Precontemplation, the person is not aware of the problem. The (2) Contemplation stage signifies that the person has gained knowledge and awareness of and about the problem, which likely leads to entering the (3) Preparation stage, forming the intention to change. The crucial moment is mostly when a person eventually may or may not take (4) Action – meaning they do first attempts at actualizing new behaviors. Only when a system of (5) Maintenance is instilled, people will keep executing their new behaviors and hopefully not (6) Relapse into old behaviors.

Community Action Framework*

The CAF frames the development of leadership potential in people in four interconnected phases: An (1) Individual first needs to develop their own advocacy in order to build confidence and work in (2) Groups to lead with others. After self-determination has been developed with others, one will be capable of leading a (3) Community – peers and allies – to effect change together and ultimately impact (4) Society.

Focus on Scalable Impact and Enablement

Always measuring project deliverables against the five TTM-stages, this theory of change applies to every level of leadership. In order to scale individual enablement, the individual needs to develop advocacy. In order to impact change at a societal scale, the proposed solution needs to take into consideration the enablement and change of every addressed community, group, and individual.

Smirnowstudios_Christian Smirnow_Diagram


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