Tools + Resources


Online Tool Kits

18F Design Methods Cards
18F is a civic consultancy inside US government that enables federal agencies to rapidly deploy digital tools and services. A group of user experience researchers and designers created the 18F Design Method Cards to introduce their favorite research and design methods and demonstrate how small government agencies — including those without dedicated design teams — can do quick, comparatively low-cost user research. The downloadable cards provide just enough guidance to give designers the confidence to put methods into practice.

Adobe Kickbox
Adobe Kickbox is an “innovation-in-a-box” toolkit developed at Adobe and packaged and open-sourced for other organizations to use and adapt. The website has beautifully designed downloadable templates, step-by-step instructions, checklists, and videos. It is designed to increase innovator effectiveness, accelerate innovation velocity, and measurably improve innovation outcomes.

Design Kit
Design Kit is a tool from for sharing and teaching human-centered design. It’s the updated version of the Human-Centered Design Toolkit (see below). The site features over 50 design methods,  case studies, and videos about the key mindsets of human-centered design. 

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
A fantastic resource and tool that is extremely relevant to museums. The toolkit is the result of a project funded by the Global Libraries program at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and was created by IDEO. A model for what I hope this site can become some day!

Design Thinking Mix Tapes
The Design Thinking Mix Tapes is a resource from the Stanford to help with the application of design thinking to real-life challenges. There are three PDFs that lead you through the different phases of the process. Each PDF will guide you through half a day of design thinking work.

Google Ventures Design Sprint
Developed at Google Ventures, this is a DIY guide for running your own design sprints, a multi-day process that involves researching, designing, prototyping, and testing new product ideas with customers. The Google Ventures sprint is meant to run for five days, but it can be compressed into two to three days. This site is a valuable resource packed with articles on business strategy, innovation, behavior science, design thinking, and more.

Human-Centered Design Toolkit
The HCD Toolkit from IDEO was designed for NGOs and social enterprises that work with impoverished communities. The free kit walks users through the human-centered design process and supports them in activities such as building listening skills, running workshops, and implementing ideas.

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. The cards are divided into four categories: Learn, Look, Ask, and Try.  Note: we do not recommend the free app version of the cards. The app does not contain all the content as the physical cards. You can order the physical cards through William Stout Architectural Books.

LUMA Institute Human-Centered Design Playing 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.

Inclusive Design at Microsoft
This toolkit from Microsoft Design is a comprehensive resource with a downloadable manual, activity cards, and videos around inclusive design, a practice that puts people in the center from the very start of the process.

New York Times Product Discovery Activity Guide: A Playbook for Lean Product Development
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. The toolkit is currently only available as a deck on SlideShare.

Stanford Virtual Crash Course
This online version of one of the’s most frequently sought after learning experiences provides a 90-minute video, handouts, and facilitation tips for a virtual “crash course” in design thinking.

This is Design Thinking: Resources for Practitioners
A nice compendium of resources assembled by the editors of the blog This is Design Thinking that range from classic readings to podcasts and videos.

Resource Sheets

These are handouts we use when coaching workshops for museums and cultural institutions. Print them out and use them in your own institution as you implement design thinking strategies. And please let us know how it goes, and what else would be helpful!


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