World Vision Design Research

How might we reinvent the way that millennials in the UK engage with overseas aid?

Client: World Vision
Role: Design Researcher
Date: March 2016

World Vision Design Research


This was a design research project conducted at Hyper Island. The client for this project was World Vision with instruction and guidance from our industry leader Matt Cooper-Wright from IDEO London. I completed this project with a team of 4 other designers from the program.

The Client

World Vision is the largest international NGO charity in the world engaging in community focused projects around the world to lift the most vulnerable children out of poverty. World Vision is seeing a significant decline of donations from the millennial generation, and in order to sustain their charitable work in the future they are looking for new opportunities to engage with this demographic.

Our Research Approach

Secondary Research

Our team utilized secondary research to understand the current research done on millennials from a more academic perspective.

In order to research as much information in a short amount of time, we developed an agile method to desk research called “Research Sprints”. You can read my reflection about the method here.


In order to select the interview participants, our group identified “extreme” users based on a spectrum that we determined fit our research areas. The following are the extreme user personas we identified: the devout Christian advocate, the strong atheist, the social media recluse, the social media star, the extreme activist, the anti-overseas charity nationalist.

I took part in two of the interview processes. I was the lead interviewer with the Christian advocate and was the recorder during the interview with the activist. My colleague and I conducted a contextual interview at an anti-fracking camp on a proposed fracking site outside of Manchester.

 Some of the houses at the anti-fracking camp

Through understanding the context and community our participant lived in we gained a new level of understanding of his viewpoints and attitudes. This experience highlighted the importance of getting out into the world to conduct your research to better understand the context of people’s lives and experiences

The interview I conducted with the Christian advocate was set up through a connection we made at the inspirational visit from Lighthouse church.

Inspirational Visit

Our team figured that churches were having similar problems of millennial engagement and we wanted to see how they were drawing in young people. Myself and two other team members visited the Lighthouse church for their monthly youth sermon called Excel. They delivered a church sermon on a Sunday night that included guest hip hop artists, rock music, and a laser light show similar to what’s found in a nightclub.


We broke up the interview process by including a collaging activity for the participants to create. We supplied them with an array of images, words, and colours and asked them to make a collage of how they perceived overseas aid. The words, colours, and images they selected were then discussed as further prompts to talk about the research area. It helped participants articulate thoughts and feelings that were difficult to think of simply by asking questions.


Participant completing a collage activity in the anti-fracking camp house




With all the research data we collected our group then synthesized our findings into approximately 10 key insights. These included inspiring stories from interviews, statistical information from desk research, quotes from participants, and our own observations.

We then took these insights and developed 3 opportunitiy areas that World Vision could explore further. The opportunitiy areas were pitched to World Vision for them to take back to their internal strategy team.

Conclusion & Reflection

If I could revist this research, I would have added additional time to researching the client. It would have been beneficial to talk with internal stakeholders about their current challenges and perspectives. We could have also developed a better understanding of World Vision apart from what is presented on the website and the information we received during the brief introduction.

In terms of our research I would have tried to define more specific user groups. The millennial generation spans many years and is far from a homogenous group. I think we could have focused on specific groups/types of millennials rather than try to create opportunity areas for the whole generation.