Defining needs and designing solutions

OM EAST Literature and Media is in the midst of a research process called “Design Thinking”, led by a facilitator. It has nothing to do with graphic design, but is a research model that supports e.g. non-profit organisations to find out how they can help people in the most effective way. It encourages them to empathise with locals, work together to define their needs, and then provide solutions to meet these needs.

OM EAST is building on the results of an initial survey they sent out to their partners and OM teams around the world; the response showed that local ministries would greatly benefit from resources that support them in sharing the gospel. Now, through in-depth research, OM’s Literature and Media team is seeking to answer the question:

How might OM EAST equip local bodies of believers with media tools and content relevant to their context and appropriate to their needs?

OM EAST does not just want to produce Christian media. They wish to release relevant print and digital media in innovative ways. So far, some interesting patterns are coming to the surface as a working-group gathers information from the field.

A case study of two very different ministries has revealed similarities in the needs they see and their thoughts of how to respond. Both expressed that those they reach out to are asking questions such as, “Is there hope for me?”, “Will I be forgiven?”, and “Am I loved?” They think that stories or personal testimonies communicated through custom-made, culturally appropriate media could help share what Jesus can do in someone’s life. However, both outreach ministries lack time, equipment, skills and content; this hinders them from producing resources themselves. Another key insight has been the importance of designing solutions with, as well as for, the intended users so there is local ownership.

During the months ahead, the working-group plans to develop further strategies, prototype ideas, test them and, if necessary, go back to the ideation stage again. The findings will prepare the ground for OM EAST to expand their ministry to serve OM teams with print and digital media globally.

Give thanks for the opportunity to be guided through the Design Thinking process. Please pray God gives insight and inspiration that will ultimately help believers to tell others about Jesus in their communities.