“How do I get our director/my boss/the curators/my colleagues on board with the design thinking process?” This question touches on one of the most demanding aspects of human-centered design in museums: promoting change. In this post, I share five steps for managing up design thinking in museums.
Earlier this summer, I came across the Derby Museums Human-Centred Design Handbook, developed by the Derby Museums Trust in Derby, England. I spoke with Hannah Fox, Project Director, to learn more about the Museums' use of human-centered design methodologies.
Agile user research at the Metropolitan Museum of Art: an interview with Liz Filardi and Karen Plemons
At the Metropolitan Museum of Art, staff from different departments are working together to employ rapid, low-cost research methods to better understand the needs of museum visitors and inform the development and design of apps, websites, and digital games.
How might we embed design thinking into a museum? 5 steps from the Denver Museum of Nature & Science
How might we embed design thinking into a museum? This is the question I've been exploring with the Denver Museum of Nature & Science over the past six months.
The Minneapolis Institute of Arts, one of the largest encyclopedic museums in the country, began a design thinking process in 2013 to find new ways to enhance museum visitors’ experiences.
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.
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?"
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
As I work with museums on how to integrate design thinking into their ongoing processes, I find myself spending a lot of time talking with my peers about the resistance—and […]
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.
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.
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.
In the past few days, I learned of three design thinking workshops for K-12 educators at various museums.
Holding back and striving for perfection is how many museums and cultural institutions approach new digital projects. Months, or years, go by before we "get out there."