COVID-19 Changed Everything. We Need To Pivot.


Increased competency

Prototyped a new content operations model that decreased cost and scalability of UGC content.

Increased likelihood of social impact

Designed a scalable and financially sustainable social enterprise focused on equity and justice.

Increased agility and resilience

Through a collaborative design process, CNTRD supported its partner in designing a hybrid learning model.

Challenge & Opportunity

Alex Alden, a CNTRD network partner, brought CNTRD a unique problem to solve: How can CNTRD and ACT help UCD/HCD trainees in Harare, Zimbabwe, increase business capability and competency?

Prior to CNTRD involvement, Alex co-created the Design Thinking program with ACT. During the 3rd year under her leadership, the program taught business consulting skills to enhance ACT trainees’ market impact. 


Under Alex’s leadership, CNTRD developed three key tools for ACT’s program: (1) UCD and supply chain behavior, (2) insights and economics, and (3) business consulting basics.


The new tools were converted into mini-training modules, which CNTRD delivered during the high-impact training program. CNTRD also provided ongoing training to participants as they moved into live market training with small, midsize, and corporate clients. Over six months,  CNTRD guided and mentored eight teams–comprised of 24 members–from trainees to client-facing consultants. Trainees conducted full-UCD research, drafted research briefs, and presented business recommendations. 


Beyond the quality of program impact, it is important to note that the entire program had to be redesigned under the COVID-19 pandemic. The program changed into a hybrid teaching model with blended learning tools, a train-the trainers program, and curriculum enhancements. The on-site ACT facilitators and trainees were realigned to provide useful materials, feedback systems, and ongoing support to ensure that the pandemic could not stop ACT’s mission and its marketplace impact. 


This project is dear to our hearts because of the human spirit. Through strong communication, open collaboration, trust, and commitment to impact, we saw the human spirit persevere. The program not only delivered on its mission, it innovated under serious constraints.