Generative AI User Experience and Design – Ashoka case study

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Generative AI User Experience and Design – Ashoka case study

The Tooploox team supports social entrepreneurs and NGOs in making the best use of Generative AI by applying user interfaces. It makes the solutions accessible to users across the organization.


A partnership between Ashoka, the world’s leading social entrepreneurship NGO, and Tooploox was made possible by Tech to the Rescue.

What is Tech to the Rescue (TTTR)

Tech to the Rescue is an international community that unites tech companies with the goal of making the world a better place by committing their time, effort and skills to impactful projects. The organization is a connection point between non-profit organizations and software development companies, where an NGO can request tech-related help and a company can choose to support it. 

It is a win-win situation, where NGOs get the tech solutions they usually wouldn’t be able to afford and the tech teams not only engage in interesting and impactful projects but can also upskill by working in different environments and with people of different backgrounds. 

Tooploox has proudly contributed to Tech to the Rescue since the organization’s beginning as our CEO is one of the founding members.

The partner

Inspired by Mahatma Gandhi and the Civil Rights Movement, Bill Drayton has dreamed about tackling income inequality through social entrepreneurship. His dream took the shape of Ashoka in 1980. 

The organization finds and supports exceptional social entrepreneurs. The focus is on innovations that can change entire social systems like the education system or the healthcare system. Ashoka supports ~4,000 of social entrepreneurs around the world.

The challenge

Ashoka’s operations require swift and accurate searches through the organization’s database of social entrepreneurs. The database is large and contains information that is challenging to process in the traditional way. The records contain descriptions and written information, not easy to scrape and analyze in the way Excel or relational databases do. 

Ashoka’s internal AI team tackled this challenge by implementing a semantic database and a search application that is powered by AI. While a game-changer, there were also great challenges to overcome. 

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    Only one person is able to use the system. Ashoka’s AI team is small and focuses on prototypes to see which AI applications are feasible and add the most value to the organization. In this case, the prototype did not even have a graphical user-interface. During the initial tests, word-of-mouth spread within the organization that Ashoka has a powerful new tool, and the AI team ended up performing hundreds of semantic searches manually and sending the results by email. And while the team could have implemented a simple user-interface themselves, they knew that this flagship application needed something more robust.

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    Different teams have different needs. Ashoka is a global organization with hundreds of employees. During the initial tests, the AI team could adjust the settings of the prototype for each query. To make the app available to Ashoka’s staff, it had to become easier to operate.

To tackle these challenges and unleash the full potential of Generative AI, product design was necessary. Ashoka asked Tooploox for help via Tech to the Rescue – and we were more than happy to help.

Generative AI User Experience and Design – Ashoka case study

Our work

This was a great challenge, yet an opportunity for the Tooploox Product Design team. There are little to no examples or good practices regarding building a user interface for generative AI-based solutions. Basically – AI UX and AI UI are fresh fields to explore – before ChatGPT it was rare for a user to directly interact with an AI solution – as it was usually a backend powerhouse. As such, there were no “AI UX designs” or “UI designs for AI good practices” to follow.

That’s why the team followed the steps below:

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    User research

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    Simplifying the user journey

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    Design and prototyping

User research

Gathering the necessary information required the team to conduct interviews with all parties involved in using the system. This includes: 

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    The person who created it

    The specialist who was performing all the work regarding preparing the prompts and delivering the desired results. He had to tell the UX team about the business requirements, technical background of the solution, and overall goals to be achieved.

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    The partnership team

    The most frequent users of the database, the partnership team searches for synergies within Ashoka’s global network. Their goal is to find people and social ventures that can tackle particular problems.

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    The selection team

    Before a social entrepreneur is selected for the Ashoka Fellowship, they have to go through a rigorous selection process. One step in that process is to make sure that the candidate has indeed developed a social innovation. The application is able to perform these benchmark analyses.

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    The PR team

    Ashoka facilitates contacts between social entrepreneurs and the media. They also write about social entrepreneurs and trends in social innovation. Interacting with Ashoka’s database can help with these tasks.

Simplifying the system

Having gathered the knowledge and having the processes mapped, the UX team was capable of designing a new way of using the system – reducing the bottlenecks, and designing an interface that supports all of the necessary use cases in the users everyday work with the Ashoka database. 

Having the processes ideated and mapped, with the UX design ready, the Tooploox design team was able to deliver a visual design for the generative AI app – something unseen before. 

The effect

The delivered Artificial Intelligence product design is clear, plain, and simple, allowing non-technical users to make the best of the system they use. Also, there is no need to be familiar with the system in any way before using it – brief training or instructions is sufficient to make the best of it, without the need to ask a supervisor for help. 

With the new solution in place, basically, any user in Ashoka can use the system for whatever reason – for PR purposes, verification, or to search for specialists for the sake of solving the problems the world faces today.

Generative AI User Experience and Design – Ashoka case study


The availability of a chat-based interface is a game-changer in multiple contexts. Yet despite the natural language used, more sophisticated solutions and narrow use cases still require a good Generative AI user interface design to maximize their outcomes and be really usable. 

Generative AI User Experience and Design – Ashoka case study

The need for solutions using generative AI with UI design to support goals and bring business outcomes will only increase in the future. That’s why Tooploox’s cooperation with Ashoka was so fruitful – the product design team had a unique opportunity to forge new Generative AI designs and deliver a real UI to AI all while making the world a better place. 

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