Speaker spotlight: Aviv Katz, YearHere

By Matthew Grenier - on 16/11/2018

In the build-up to our Innovation in Practice 2018 conference, we interviewed Aviv Katz, from YearHere, one of the speakers at the conference.

Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

I’m the Head of Design at YearHere. I teach, direct and facilitate design thinking activities to the programme’s Fellows. This includes customer journey mapping, understanding the user experience, prototyping, planning design activities, being comfortable with visualisation, idea generation, those kind of techniques.

What is YearHere?

YearHere was founded by Jack Graham, who will be speaking at the conference with me. It’s a postgraduate course in social innovation based in London. Our course is very hands on, very experiential, involving frontline placements, live client projects and a social venture incubator. The Fellows on the programme come from very different backgrounds. They have an average age of 29. Most have done some sort of degree, had a job or two, and are looking to develop leadership skills in the social sector. The course isn’t about making them designers, it’s about giving them the tools and mindsets that are useful when working as leaders and collaborators in teams. It helps them use design techniques in order to think about how new services can be created.

What will you be talking about at the conference?

We’ll be talking about design thinking, but also about the barriers to innovation. A lot of people working in housing and health have first-hand knowledge of what’s not working and the opportunities for making change. Too often, they’re held back by their organisation’s traditional ways of working or its culture. Or they might not have the knowledge of how you can move from seeing the opportunity to making it a reality.

Innovation thrives in organisations and systems in which managers are able to spot opportunities, talk with customers and users, and create a methodology around which they move from having an idea, testing it out, creating change and then scaling that change appropriately across the system.

Barriers to innovation are not rocket science. A lot of the people who come to the conference will be able to do it. They just need to be aware of the methodology and skills they need to make it happen, and whether they have those skills, or whether they need to buy them in, or collaborate with others.

What are you looking forward to at the conference?

I’m looking forward to understanding the delegates’ perspectives, finding out why they’ve come to the conference, why they’re drawn to innovation, what they want to see change, and what will help them make change a reality.

I’m really interested in getting to know the people, and their landscape, better.

Find out more about the Innovation in Practice conference.


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