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IDEO Design Kit Field Guide to Human-Centered Design

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The Design Kit resource is both a downloadable PDF as well as online guidance on the different phases of a human-centered design process, organised by Mindsets, Methods (Inspiration, Ideation, Implementation), and Tools. The PDF is only downloadable from the website after creating a user account at IDEO. Website includes instructional videos on the techniques of various user-centered design methods and techniques.

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4 reviews for "IDEO Design Kit Field Guide to Human-Centered Design"

  1. The field guide to human-centered design provides enlightening design methods and insightful case studies if you are working on a project where you have to find innovative ideas for people.
    The methods are separated in three important steps : inspiration – ideation – implementation. While we were working on the inspiration phase, me and my team struggled in finding some immersion content and analogous inspiration because we were doing this for the first time. Indeed, the instructions were vague sometimes but the case studies, like the one on Clean Team, gave us concrete vision of what we should be looking for (in terms of time, means, etc). So try to go out of your comfort zone, let your team be creative and accept crazy ideas ! It might enable someone else to give an interesting idea, which might end up in being your prototype ! I liked the fact that those methods really helped us focus on realistic characteristics in order to answer the real needs of the population we were targeted.

    It is also always important, as the guide describes it at the beginning, to be ready for this process and to bear in mind the creative mindsets. As a Manager, I have to accept failure, from myself, from my team, but I’m not always ready to let go of things, but sometimes it is better to start again than to go on the wrong way. For instance, I kept telling myself that the positive impact and relevance of the prototype I was designing was more important than my self-esteem.

    You just have to pick the methods that you found most relevant for your project and then to follow the guidelines. Since the time, the difficulty, the tools and the number of participants are already specified, there is no surprise for you. When we arrived at the ideation and implementation phases, we finally understood why we had to go all over the different steps of research !
    The IDEO design methods are specifically directed for projects who will include in their processus the need to pay more attention to the local context, which is inspiring !

  2. I used the IDEO Design Kit for a case study of a social company based in Ghana, called Clean Team. In groups, we needed to find innovative and human-centred solutions for some challenges that the company was facing. This toolkit can be useful for policy makers but also for private actors that want to design products.
    It is composed of mindsets, methods, and case studies. The mindsets were an insightful introduction to the philosophy of this innovative approach. The methods explain how to apply them in practice, and the examples (case studies) give a more concrete idea to the users.
    The mindsets are oriented to human-centred design, innovation, “impactful solutions”. They are short and easy to understand. The process is divided into three steps, detailed in the Methods: inspiration, ideation, and implementation. Each of the steps has a different colour (orange, light blue, and green). That facilitates the understanding by the user of the whole process. The fact that the toolkit mentions the time, level of difficulty the tools, etc. helps in the organization and planning of the tasks. Each user needs to apply the tools personally to his/her own work. This exercise was too abstract for my group (as beginners) for us to apply the tools alone. The case studies of the website helped us understand.
    Once you seized the general idea, this toolkit is a landmark for Design Thinking! It is a unique toolkit as it gathers the most important methods clearly.
    Human-centred design let my group self-organize, have creative ideas adapted to people’s needs. The first narrow solutions that we had before the process had nothing to do with the final solutions (that took into account local culture, customers’ real needs, and preferences).

  3. The Design Kit is a very peculiar toolkit. If you are looking for means that allow you to undertake a creative process to give a group answer to a specific subject, this toolkit gives a practical approach. This toolkit is recommended for students and beginners in public policy making and group work, given that it is very easy to use, and it has examples and case studies so that every point is kept as simple as it can be. Their case studies are kept as very methodical and clear. Nonetheless, personally I found tools given in sections such as “Interviews” and “Analogous inspirations” mostly practical.

  4. Charles says:

    For those involved in any kind of design, I would whole-heartedly recommend this toolkit for its user-centred mentality, intuitive layout and its focus on mindset rather than method.
    It does of course suggest methods and processes in simple bite-size chunks, most of which can be adapted and used relatively easily. Having used it in a team project aimed on developing an educational workshop, some of the detail was personally less useful or relevant but the focus on research, empathy and embracing ambiguity were all crucial in helping us step out of our comfort zones and develop truly innovative solutions. The mindset videos on the website sum up a few of these mindsets and so even if you only have ten minutes, it’s worth watching them if nothing else.
    For our team, the process worked. It was quite long and at times we felt frustrated but we stuck with it and found that, having put the time and work into the inspiration, research and ideation phases, the last stage (implementation) fell into place almost on its own.
    It was definitely a challenge but if embraced with an open mind, this toolkit is full of great human-centred approaches that will help you design in a more efficient, impactful and innovative way.

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