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Category: Tips + Strategies

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?"

atlassian-header

Spreading design thinking throughout an organization: lessons from Atlassian

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.

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.

5 big takeaways from MuseumNext 2014. Photo  ©  Andrew Lewis, 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 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.

getty_prototyping

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, Ahree Lee, Senior User Experience Designer in the Web Group at the J. Paul Getty Trust, covers the process they followed, some of the key findings, and how the project is moving forward.

Image courtesy Michael Edson, Smithsonian Institution

Design Thinking for Museums: one year and counting

I launched this blog, Design Thinking for Museums, exactly one year ago at the 2013 Museums and the Web conference in Portland. It was an experiment that UX designer and Stanford d.school fellow Molly Wilson and I built in a day at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art cafe, armed with coffee and Wordpress. The blog was developed as a resource for the field and accompanied a paper documenting a partnership between SFMOMA and the Stanford d.school. When the site launched, I wasn't sure how long we would keep it up, if we'd get any readers, and what kind of response we'd receive from the museum community. I'm happy to report that now, one year later, there are small but significant signs of enthusiasm for and adoption of design thinking in the museum sector. I've just returned from the 2014 Museums and the Web conference, where I presented a paper with co-authors from the Getty and the Queensland Museum about how those institutions are using design thinking and prototyping to tackle challenges ranging from designing new digital publications to re-envisioning organizational structures.

breaking-assumptions

Breaking assumptions with empathy

Over and over, one of the big lessons in design thinking seems to be don’t assume—discover directly. The insights gained from talking directly to users informs our understanding of their needs, which in turn makes all the difference between spinning one’s wheels and developing solutions that people can actually use. And prototyping and iterating along the way provide constant check-ins and mechanisms for adjustments.

Flip the Script: Design Thinking on the Museopunks podcast

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.

DT breakfast at MW

Stepping into the “continuum of innovation”: kicking-off design thinking in your museum

I've had numerous inquiries from colleagues at institutions around the world about how to get started with design thinking at home. To step into into this "continuum of innovation," there are some strategies and approaches you can implement to kick-off the process and start infusing the design thinking ethos into your work culture. Some of these are more attitudinal, while others are tactical.