Museum professionals are the “designers” of the visitor experience, and the key to developing an engaging and human-centered experience is understanding the people for whom you are designing. These quick wins, adapted from the School Retool fellowship, are things you can do next week to build deeper empathy for visitors.
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."
When I signed up for an Executive Education course offered through Stanford’s Hasso Plattner Institute of Design, or the "d.school," I didn't really know much about design thinking--or how it was relevant to museums. In fact, I didn't know what I was getting into.
This post is adapted from internal trainings I led at SFMOMA and a paper authored for the Museums and the Web conference. The power of doing empathy work with real visitors had a major impact on the internal SFMOMA team. The mere act of moving from abstracted discussions about “the public” to interactions with real, live museum visitors was incredibly powerful.