Amnesty International

Amnesty International

Evolving products with continuous delivery and people-focused research

Amnesty International is a global movement of more than 4 million activists - campaigning to end grave abuses of human rights. 
They loved the “Panic Button”, an application built in a day by ThoughtWorkers at an Open IDEO Make-a-thon, and wanted a more robust version of it - a mobile application that would allow human rights defenders to send their location and a distress message to members of their network as quickly as possible in an emergency. 
Working alongside Amnesty, the team conducted a series of stakeholder interviews and developed various personas that reflected the real experiences of human rights defenders. This was done using journey mapping exercises which helped to highlight threat scenarios in which a panic button would be useful. 
From there, the team generated a strategy and simple design to build a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) with insights gained from the people-focused research. 
The team also used bodystorming, which involves observing and documenting “design acting” (aka roleplaying) to build a product that could understand real use case scenarios. The fun exercise allowed the team and users to ‘walk’ in each other’s shoes and empathize with the challenges they collectively faced.  This influenced the next phase of development, fueling product evolution and bringing greater perspective to the app being built.

"Working with so many smart, talented and socially switched on ThoughtWorkers was a pleasure, and I look forward to our ongoing collaboration."

Tanya O'Carroll, Project Officer, Technology and Human Rights

The team designed and built the app to be secure-by-design, which meant that they limited the information contained by the app, to reduce risk should the phone be seized by aggressors. They then worked with the Amnesty International team to get it distribution-ready. 

The application went on to be awarded £100,000 through Google’s Impact Awards and is distribution-ready for piloting in Africa and Central America, adding more weight to the theory that the future is in creating mobile strategies based on empathy and understanding.

"ThoughtWorks has helped create a space for innovation, allowing us to experiment with approaches to the human rights challenges we face. With the help of technology, and by using open and more agile ways of working, we believe we can be more responsive and effective in how we offer activists support"

Tanya O'Carroll, Project Officer, Technology and Human Rights