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Combating Police Brutality with Design Thinking


Amnesty International and partner organizations with feet on the ground in El Salvador and Trinidad and Tobago

2020-2021, Remote (Bilingual)


Service Design; Product Strategy; Capability Mapping; Impact Mapping; Identifying Customer Needs; Stakeholder Analysis; Executive Coaching; Prototyping Strategy; Workshop Facilitation

Police Station Prototype

After instruction on "Showing, not Telling," a participant prototypes a new surveillance initiative for the police station.

Participant Prototype

Encouraged by the idea of bringing your idea to life, a participant prototypes the multi-dimensionality of her community-based approach.

The users, the how, the solutions.

A Miro board capture from a collaborative session mapping proposed solutions, their target users, and the mechanisms of change.


A Theory of Change mapping our interventions to root causes in the systems of police brutality.

In Session Prototypes

Proud participants with their physical prototypes they'll take when they go speak with users to validate their ideas.

Miro Capture

What does Police Brutality mean? What does it entail? When does it get personal? A Miro deconstruction of the problem(s) involved.


Product RoadMap for curriculum, objectives, and capabilities covered throughout our sessions together.

The Challenge

Amnesty International challenged me to leverage design thinking in order to lessen the impact of police brutality in two of their key partnering countries, El Salvador and Trinidad and Tobago. After decades of strife and tireless attempts at positive interventions, it seemed police oversight and monitoring was only getting worse and local organizations were running out of ideas and energy to turn the ship around. I was tasked with helping the executives running the organizations on the ground apply design thinking to get to better user insights and validated solutions, with the challenge that they were already overworked and overexerted at their jobs and had extremely limited capacity to grow.

The Process

I designed hands-on workshops where I could provide customized coaching for our executives in how to use the design thinking process to develop solutions that would address their customers’ needs. I catered our approach to their existing mission so they could see greater returns that were aligned with their strategic priorities. I coached them on weeding through the noise and identifying customer needs with more clarity than ever before. I advised on how to create prototypes to learn the most and I capacitated leaders to feel adept at approaching their challenges like designers. I pivoted our Curriculum Roadmap into individualized coaching sessions that allowed for the transformations necessary to take their prootypes to the next level.


Amnesty proudly says their teams got farther in their work than ever before. We moved executives from talking about their solution to prototyping and learning from key stakeholders about how it would or wouldn’t work. We saw a mindset shift in leaders wanting to apply design thinking across their work functions. Teams successfully created 9+ validated prototypes and received additional funding towards implementing their solutions!


“Jessica  goes beyond the theory of design thinking, and knows exactly how to put every step into practice. During the time she was consulting for Amnesty International's project in El Salvador she made sure we understood that design thinking is not just a checklist to go through, but a whole new way of creating. Jessica brought a special vibe into work, making collaborative spaces vibrant and inspiring creativity at every turn. Participants of the project were pleased to see the design thinking route  led them to paths they didn't consider before, or to paths they had considered but they thought about them in new and different ways.  Working with Jessica was truly interesting and really fun.”

Diana Sanchez, Amnesty International

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