A 6-Step Approach for Building Human-Centred AI Solutions


6 step approach

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is often seen as a highly relevant topic for tech innovation. But how can we design AI solutions that are ethical, unbiased, and solve an actual customer problem? This is what made Ioannis Zempekakis, Head of Global Data Science & AI services at OLX Group, and Serena Westra, a Business Designer at IKEA (formerly working at Koos Service Design) join forces. Based on their experiences designing, developing, and managing AI, they have summarised their key insights in a 45 page whitepaper. 

We define the human-centred approach to AI or “AI-by-Design” as solving the right customer problem in an unbiased, ethical and resilient way
(solve the problem right).


Data scientists and designers need each other to create desirable, feasible and viable AI systems. A keen understanding of both the technologies and customer needs are key.

6 step approach for human-centred AI

1. Discover

The first step aims at building an understanding of the goal of the project, the customer needs and their problems, as well as business opportunities. It usually involves customer research.

2. Define

In the second step, the team defines the challenge scope; they select a problem to solve, or an opportunity to pursue. This step includes researching the context and AI possibilities.

3. AI-by-Design decision

Here teams are encouraged to ask themselves if this is a problem that can and should be solved with AI? If yes, assess which data is needed, and research if the solution might have unethical consequences. If no and AI is not the right solution, this is also a great outcome. AI is expensive and time-consuming. If other alternatives can solve the problem, then that should be the first approach. 

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