Image courtesy Molly Wilson

Design ≠ design thinking

When we confuse “design” and “design thinking,” everyone loses.

Designers get their backs up at the intimation that anybody can waltz in and call themselves a designer. Something that sounds unflatteringly like “get off my lawn” starts to creep in.

Design thinkers don’t look too good either. Compared to designers, they look like sloppy, fluffy trend riders. Or, worse, they look like process geeks who strip the creativity out of the design process.

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Jack Ludden of the J. Paul Getty Trust

Selling the benefits of design thinking to your organization

This guest post is from Jack Ludden, Head of the Web Group and New Media Development at the J. Paul Getty Trust. Jack and his team help the entire Getty organization better manage, transform and present content on a multitude of digital distribution channels. Jack is the past Chair of the American Alliance of Museums Media and Technology Professional Network, and currently the Vice Chair of all 22 American Alliance of Museums Professional Networks. Jack is the co-author of the forthcoming Museums and the Web paper, From Post-its to Processes: Using Prototypes to Find Solutions. Continue reading

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Using improv games to warm up for user testing and prototyping: part 3 of 3

This is the third of three posts in which I share some of my favorite improv games to use with teams who are learning and using the design thinking process.

The first post covered improv games to kick-off a meeting or workshop, the second covered improv games for warming up for brainstorming and embracing failure, and this post considers improv games for warming up for user testing and prototyping. Continue reading

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Using improv games to foster creativity and collaboration: part 1 of 3

I’ve been taking improvisational theater classes for years, mostly because I find them energizing and extremely fun, but also because I started noticing that the skills I was practicing in improv were helping me navigate challenging meetings and difficult team dynamics at work. More recently, I’ve begun incorporating improvisational theater games into my design thinking workshops.

Whether I’m trying to get a skeptical curator to unfold her arms and participate, or an indifferent designer to look up from his iPhone and share his ideas, I’ve become increasingly mindful about which games can be used to foster creativity, model collaboration, support shared inquiry, boost energy, and support the design thinking process.

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Interview with Emily Lytle-Painter of the J. Paul Getty Museum

For this post, I spoke with Emily Lytle-Painter, the education technologist at the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles and the woman behind @MuseumofEmily on Twitter. Emily was an enthusiastic participant in a design thinking workshop at the Getty this past summer, and I wanted to check in with her to hear how things were going. Continue reading

Photo by Alejandro Escamilla, courtesy of Unsplash

Hacking old habits to effect organizational change

A few  weeks ago, I took a voice and public speaking workshop at the Berkeley Rep School of Theater, and the first thing the instructor told us was that she was not there to teach us anything new. Rather, she was there to help us un-learn some ingrained life-long habits we all bring with us when we go on stage.

The same can be said of practicing design thinking, a human-centered process for innovation. Some of the key mindsets of design thinking rely on un-learning old ways of working. To successfully integrate design thinking into your museum—whether it’s for a small, one-off project or an institution-wide initiative—you must hack your old habits. Continue reading