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August 28, 2017 Josée Uwayezu

Reflection on Lessons Learned During My Summer at D-Rev

Josée Uwayezu, Impact Intern, Summer 2017

My desire to learn more about user-centered design and social entrepreneurship is what attracted me to D-Rev.

Before starting as an engineering student at Dartmouth, I had thought of design as just those steps involved in creating a product: defining the problem, finding solutions and working towards the best solution. But after exploring different engineering fields in my introductory courses, I learned that it involves much more. As I prepare to take more advanced courses, I find myself questioning why and how engineers design in the first place, and wanting to experience what it is like to design, first and foremost, for people. Thinking about what I want to do after I graduate from Dartmouth, I’ve also realized that I want to work with communities to positively impact their lives.

So I joined D-Rev this summer with the hope of better understanding its holistic approach to designing—and delivering—impactful and useful products that can empower people and communities.

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2017 Summer interns Josée (left) and Hua (right), discuss ReMotion Knee design

As an impact intern, I worked on creating a presentation to teach clinicians and technicians how to use Brilliance that will be used over the next year in my home country of Rwanda when over 100 Brilliance units are installed in public hospitals there. I also researched and drafted a framework for measuring and evaluating impact according to the “CART” principles recently developed by the IPA. And I analyzed the findings of the first survey done of amputees fit with the ReMotion Knee. In my last week, I’ll be surveying hospitals and distributors to see how many more Brilliance units we can confirm have been installed in hospitals and begun treating babies.

The two biggest takeaways for me have been: (1) the importance of having rigorous design practices and protocols that highly value the needs of users and (2) adapting the most effective methods for making those products. For instance, I learned from the commitment of D-Rev to keep improving Brilliance design so that it can be as effective as possible for users, and how that can be done with regular feedback from and follow up with users of D-Rev products, despite the fact that D-Rev staff are working internationally while based in San Francisco.

In the future, I hope to work in a developing community such as my home country of Rwanda. I know that my experience at D-Rev will fuel my interest in designing solutions that are effective and useful. So often, developing communities are given solutions that only last for a short time. The commitment of D-Rev to not only intervene in ways that will achieve long term improvement but also to follow up on the progress of that improvement will encourage and inspire me to always look for and envision solutions that will instead last a lifetime.

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