Our Top 7 Resources for Kickstarting Design Thinking

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Written by Digital Surgeons,
• 4 min read

If you are new to design thinking, these seven resources are some of our favorite tools and resources for preparing for your next design thinking workshop or project.

Like any methodology, you’ll probably come across more than 100 definitions for design thinking. Still, you’ll find that the core principles are consistent across the board, whether they are being applied by a large design firm like IDEO or a global business like IBM.

Here is a list of great products and resources for digging deeper into the design thinking process.

1) Time Timer MOD Sprint Edition

Don’t even think about starting a design thinking workshop without one of the on hand. Time constraints are critical for making a sprint effective. If I tell you that you only have 2 minutes to write up a list of ideas, you’ll often produce more than if I gave you 2 hours.

You must have a device for keeping you honest on time. We wouldn’t even think of starting a sprint without a timer. A Time Timer MOD will be an investment that you won’t regret.

Source: timetimer.com

2) Gamestorming: A Playbook for Innovators, Rulebreakers, and Changemakers

It can be challenging to create an environment that fosters creativity and innovation. Through its use of games, gamestorming is a great way to facilitate conversation between employees to stimulate fresh thinking and insights.

Gamestorming is full of over 80 games that will and your team improve collaboration, innovative thinking, and speed. This book is full of exercises that will help instill design thinking principles in your business.


Source: amazon.com

3) Service Design Toolkit

A design thinking workshop requires more than a deck of post-it notes. You’ll also need worksheets to facilitate discussion and problem solving. The Service Design Toolkit is a phenomenal resource. It contains lots of templates for ideation, user insights, feasibility, and other topics.

Source: servicedesigntoolkit.org

4) Brain.fm

To implement design thinking practices, you’ll have to help your team tap into their creative thinking. Creative thinking often requires focus. But telling someone to focus is easy. Getting them to focus is a lot harder. Brain.fm is a fantastic source for music that will get you into the “flow” zone.

Source: Brain.fm

5) Design Thinking for Educators

Design thinking is a great tool for teachers. It will help them roll out processes that will create meaningful solutions in the classroom. Design Thinking for Educators contains resources and personal stories about how design thinking is affecting the classroom.

Source: ideo.com

6) 100 Things Every Designer Needs to Know about People

Since designers design for people, they should understand why they act the way they do. To design without understanding their audience “is like exploring a new city without a map.” This book is full of research that will help guide designers who want to learn about what human-centered design entails.

Source: amazon.com

7) The 50/50 Experiment

In a design thinking workshop, you’ll need to quickly generate lots of ideas. Don’t get lost in the thicket of only writing post-its for ideas that you think are perfect. Time constraints can really force us to get creative. Try writing 50 ideas in 50 minutes. This method will help you get in the habit of producing ideas quickly in a short amount of time.

Design thinkings is not about coming up with big ideas in a eureka moment. When you bring together a cross-functional team in a room, put a time timer on the table, and tell everyone that they have 50 minutes to write down 50 ideas on post-it notes, the emphasis is on quantity. But if you have five people in the room that adds up to 250 ideas. After the timer buzzes, you’ll have a large pile of ideas that you and your team can build on.   

Source: http://www.slideshare.net/5throck/management-innovation-via-design-thinking

Let’s have a conversation about how other design thinking resources can drive creativity and growth in your company.