Tools + Resources
Tools + Resources for Design Thinkers
18F Design Methods Cards
18F is a civic consultancy inside US government that enables federal agencies to rapidly deploy digital tools and services. The 18F Design Method Cards introduce research and design methods for quick, comparatively low-cost user research.
Circular Design Guide
Developed by IDEO and the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, this design thinking guide encourages the application of “circular” principles to design. These circular principles include a focus on processes that move beyond the traditional “take, make, and dispose” model to approaches that are renewal, regenerative, and less wasteful.
Design at Darden Resources
Design at Darden is an online community from the University of Virginia Darden School of Business that advances knowledge and facilitates the exchange of ideas around the future of design and design thinking. This is an extremely well-curated list of resources from Design and Darden that includes books, templates, podcasts, and presentations relating to design thinking and innovation.
Design Kit is a tool from IDEO.org for sharing and teaching human-centered design. The site features over 50 design methods, case studies, and videos about the key mindsets of human-centered design.
Design Sprints with Google
An open-source resource, developed by Google, for design leaders, product owners, developers, or anyone who is learning about or running design sprints. The site is relevant to both newcomers to design sprints and experienced sprint facilitators looking for new methods, and offers support for all phases of the design sprint methodology.
Design Thinking for Educators
This toolkit contains the process and methods of design thinking adapted specifically for the context of K-12 education. It was developed by IDEO and Riverdale Country School.
Design Thinking for Libraries
An ongoing prototype funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and created by IDEO. Although developed for libraries, the content is relevant to any community-focused organization that wants to better understand, engage, and serve patrons.
Equity-Centered Design Framework
A re-imagining of the design thinking process from the Stanford d.school K12 Lab to promote equity and inclusion. The expanded process helps designers develop a self-awareness of identity, values, emotions, biases, assumptions and situatedness before entering any context or practice of empathy.
Online courses developed by the folks at IDEO focusing on design thinking, creativity, design leadership, and storytelling. The courses are not free, but the introductory, 90-minute “Hello Design Thinking” class is an affordable way to get an introduction to the process.
IDEO Method Cards
Developed by the design firm IDEO, these cards present 51 of the methods used at IDEO. Each card describes one method and includes a brief story about how and when to use it. Note: we do not recommend the free app version of the cards. The app does not contain all the content as the physical cards.
Inclusive Design at Microsoft
Developed by Microsoft, this site contains numerous downloadable resources around Inclusive Design, a methodology that draws on the full range of human diversity and helps teams design for inclusivity.
Innovating for People: Human-Centered Design Planning Cards
This deck of cards was created by the LUMA Institute. It’s a set of visual planning cards describing 36 methods of human-centered design, organized by way of three key design skills: Looking, Understanding, and Making.
Adobe Kickbox is an “innovation-in-a-box” toolkit developed at Adobe and packaged and open-sourced for other organizations to use and adapt. It is designed to increase innovator effectiveness, accelerate innovation velocity, and measurably improve innovation outcomes.
Liberating Structures are easy-to-learn microstructures that foster lively participation in groups of any size, making it possible to truly include and unleash everyone. The website offers a menu of “activities” and protocols meant to replace or complement conventional organizational practices, such as presentations and status reports.
New York Times Product Discovery Activity Guide
This toolkit was created by The New York Times for internal product developers. It combines activities, exercises, and testing techniques drawn from Design Thinking, Lean, and Agile. Almost all the methods described in the toolkit can be applied to museum digital development efforts.
Salesforce Ignite Resources
A comprehensive resource from the Salesforce Ignite team that supports teams working with design processes to foster innovation. The site contains techniques, methods, tips, worksheets, and videos to support teams in all phases of a design cycle.
Stanford d.school Virtual Crash Course
This online version of one of the d.school’s most frequently sought after learning experiences provides a 90-minute video, handouts, and facilitation tips for a virtual “crash course” in design thinking.
Resources, guides, and learnings to inspire and empower people working inside organizations who want to run great design thinking workshops, user experience sessions, or design sprints. Although primarily focused on digital product development, the resources apply to anyone who wants to run workshops with confidence.