This is the second post in a series on Design Thinking methods and tools. You’ll find a full list of posts in this series at the end of the page.
Before we dive too deeply into design thinking exercises, I want to help you set the stage with the proper tools and materials. At Atomic, we’ve been holding workshops and project kickoffs for 15 years, so we’ve done all the user testing for you! Here, you’ll find a collection of our most loved and used tools for group activities. Read more on Design Thinking Toolkit, Part 2: The Supply List…
It can be difficult to build team consensus on the best way to solve a technical problem. I believe the difficulty often stems from how each of us strives to present our own solutions without really listening to others in a spirit of true team support.
Our clients come to us with really cool ideas for web, mobile, and embedded apps. Usually, they know their domain inside and out, and they’ve come up with a great way to improve the world with some custom new software.
Quick background information: Ms. Knoll is known for her work in architecture, furniture design, and interior design; she was most active in the 1940s and 1950s. She helped found Knoll, a company which remains active in the furniture and office design market. The presentation was given by Lynne McCarthy, who is currently with the Knoll organization.
Throughout the presentation, Ms. McCarthy told several stories about Ms. Knoll’s work. One of my favorites was about her experience redesigning Nelson Rockefeller’s office in Rockefeller Center during the 1940s. Read more on Florence Knoll: Defining Modern…
I had the pleasure of seeing the movie Design + Thinking at a recent Design West Michigan event. It is a particularly timely opportunity for me to see it, as I’m just now celebrating my second year anniversary of digging into the world of design thinking.
The event was broken into two parts: the 75 minute movie screening followed by a 20 minute panel conversation. In summary, I’d give the movie an 8/10, and the panel a 17/10. (Ok, 17/10 is ridiculous. How about 11/10?)
I found the movie to be a wonderful introduction to design thinking if you’ve never encountered it before, and an excellent review of basic principles if you are already familiar with the topic. (Which reminds me a lot of the introduction to Extreme Programming you’d hear from Ron Jeffries and Chet Hendrickson: something for everyone!)
I wanted to take a moment to reflect back on two events that left me creatively inspired this year. When I attended the 99u and Balanced Team conferences, amongst other makers and lean/agile enthusiasts, it was clear I was surrounded by the right people. There were many takeaways from these inspiring groups, and below are four that I’d like to share.
“A master must know how to become a student again.”
“Always be a student.” This short-form phrase has passed through my mind several times this year. Learning is something we should always be doing professionally and introspectively, and fleeting desires of success might get in the way of that. As Davis said, “success is self-defined and can really f#@$ up creativity.”
We often hear that “design is an overloaded word.” This must be one of the biggest understatements of all time! Often when I’m communicating with others and the word design is dropped, we need to ask ourselves: are we talking about visual design? User experience? Markup? Tangible design? Tactical design? Strategic design? Or simply aesthetics?
Given all of the confusion, as I was skimming the Table of Contents of Bettina von Stamm’s Managing Innovation, Design, and Creativity, the appendix titled Categories of Design immediately jumped out to me. I thought, “ah, perhaps this will help build my understanding of the word design.”
When designing an app it’s easy to think about the thing I’m building. When sitting down to design, I usually start outlining the areas of the app I think should be there. I then draw sketches depicting the screens around that architecture. This doesn’t always work because what I think might be good for the users isn’t always what they actually need or want.
One of the most helpful things I took away from the Cooper UX Bootcamp is to take a step back before I begin the process of deciding the ins and outs of the app and think about the big picture. By understanding the context, motivations and desires of the person using the product, I can better determine how to design the details.
“It provokes conversation about the interface design and its ability to help achieve user goals without getting mired in visual refinements.” —Cooper
The big surprise and delight for me in learning this process was to watch wonderful ideas naturally emerge out of the process with very little guesswork. It allowed us to test our hypotheses and intuition within a more visible context.