Getty Research Institute

Design thinking on the run: using rapid methods at the Getty Research Institute

This guest post is from Liz McDermott, Managing Editor of Web & Communications at the Getty Research Institute (GRI). This post discusses how, with little time and limited resources, a team at the GRI used rapid methods and tools from the design thinking process to answer the question, “How can we make visitors in our galleries aware that we have a mobile tour available?” Continue reading

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Spreading design thinking throughout an organization: lessons from Atlassian

For this post, I interviewed Karen Cross, a Design Manager at Atlassian, about the internal design thinking program the company has been building up over the past year. Atlassian makes tools for software development, collaboration, and project management, and several museums and nonprofits use their products such as Confluence, Jira, and HipChat.

Readers may be wondering why I’m featuring an interview with someone from a software company, and the answer is simple: I’ve always looked outside the museum sector for models of new ways of working, thinking, and collaborating. Continue reading

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Using design thinking to connect the physical and digital at the Rijksmuseum: an interview with Shailoh Philips

Last week I had the honor of interviewing Shailoh Philips, who worked for the last two years setting up the Media Lab at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. The Rijksmuseum is the largest national Dutch museum, and recently underwent a 10-year, multimillion-euro renovation and reopened in 2013.

I spoke with Shailoh about a project titled Augmenting Masterpieces. The project explores connections between the physical and digital within the gallery space, and examines how digital technologies can be integrated into the Rijksmuseum to deepen visitors’ on-site experience. Continue reading

What museums learn from improv

What museums can learn from improv: three principles to make museums more human-centered and empathetic

In improvisational theater, there are some shared principles that the improvisers work from. These principles create a positive and supportive platform upon which the improvisers, or “players,” can do their best work. What if the principles that allow improvisers to thrive and excel could be applied to museums?

In this post, I consider three principles from improv theater and share thoughts on how incorporating these principles into museum practice could make museums more human-centered and empathetic institutions. Continue reading

Needfinding in the Galleries

Needfinding in the galleries: overcoming blind spots with direct observation

Museum professionals are faced with design decisions on an almost daily basis, from developing tour guidelines to building digital resources. In the routine of everyday work and with a lack of in-house visitor research staff, it is too easy to base design decisions solely on experience and precedent, and make choices based on assumptions and habit. But by conducting simple needfinding activities, such as direct visitor observations in the galleries, we can override our blind spots and arrive at new insights.

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Photo by @rosemarybeetle, all rights reserved

Design thinking at MuseumNext 2014: my five big takeaways

I recently returned from the MuseumNext conference in Newcastle, England, where I gave a talk, From Insights to Prototypes: How Museums can Use the Design Thinking Process to Engage and Delight Visitors and co-led a workshop (with Marco Mason) titled Designing for Happiness: Using Design Thinking to Delight Visitors.

In my talk and workshop, I shared five big takeaways on how to integrate design thinking mindsets into museum practice. Continue reading

Photo by Saskia Coulson

Discovering design in every nook and cranny: the V&A Museum Residency Programme

My PhD focuses on how we can use design research to consider residency programs for museums and unite design thinking with museum practices. In this post, I explain how museum residency programs can be used as a lens to think about the traditional and emerging frameworks of design. This is then explored through a recent example of research I conducted on the V&A Museum Residency Programme in London. Continue reading

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Prototyping exhibition web pages at the Getty: designing for online and onsite visitor needs

In January 2014, a cross-departmental team of designers, producers, editors, curators, and senior staff at the Getty kicked off an intense two-week effort to redesign and re-engineer the Getty’s exhibition web pages. In this guest post, I will cover the process we followed, some of the key findings, and how the project is moving forward.  Continue reading