How is design thinking being implemented in smaller museums? Recently I spoke with Jon Carfagno, the Director of Learning and Audience Engagement at the Grand Rapids Art Museum, or GRAM, about how the museum is taking a human-centered approach to the development of everything from strategic planning to in-gallery experiences.
For this post, I interviewed Karen Cross, the 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. 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. I believe museums can look to the private sector for new models of working, and adapt these processes to make museums smarter, more efficient, and more awesome.
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, about a project titled Augmenting Masterpieces. The project explores connections between the physical and digital within the gallery space, and aims to build a theoretical framework for digital interfaces in a museum context from a human-centered design approach.
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.
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 titled "Designing for Happiness: Using Design Thinking to Delight Visitors." In this post, I share the five big takeaways I presented at the conference on how to integrate design thinking mindsets into museum practice.
This guest post is from doctoral candidate, Saskia Coulson, and describes her journey of using design research to explore residency programs in museums. She explains 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 she conducted on the V&A Museum Residency Programme in London.
A couple of weeks ago I had the pleasure of speaking with Helen Charman, Head of Learning at the Design Museum in London. Helen’s role is to develop and oversee formal and informal learning programs at London's museum of international contemporary design.
What role does design and design thinking play in museum innovation? Museopunks, a monthly podcast in which passionate practitioners tackle prominent issues and big ideas facing museums in the modern age, digs into one of the "secret themes" that emerged out of Museums and the Web 2013 in the latest episode: design. Episode 2, Flip the Script , explores how museums can think about design, and what role empathy plays in this process. The hosts and producers of Museopunks, Suse Cairns and Jeffrey Inscho, interviewed me and Scott Gillam, Manager, Web Presence of Canadian Museum for Human Rights, for this episode.