The IDEO Design Kit Course

“’s Course for Human-Centred Design introduces the concepts of human-centred design to those working towards social change. Over the duration of the seven-week course, participants collaborate in design teams to complete online and offline coursework, and are then encouraged to apply human-centred design to design challenges of their own”.

The Experience Design Team’s combined expertise maps across a broad range of areas. The team consists of creative thinkers, visual designers, UI and interaction experts, Front End Developers and UX Consultants. Here at Code we’re always keen to develop, collaborate, share and learn new skills from each other.

As a keen follower of IDEO’s design thinking philosophy and a practicing human-centred designer, I am always keen to learn from the ‘original experts’ in design thinking, to help me continually improve my designing and creative problem solving ability.

We saw the online course and decided to take part as a group learning exercise. We will be discussing our progress throughout the duration of the course, starting with discussion from weeks one and two…

Week One — Setting up a Team

After the initial excitement and anticipation of learning something new from the guys at IDEO, we got to work with our first class. Each week a different member of the team takes on the role of the class leader, to run and organise that week’s session. The first stage was all about setting up a team and conducting a speed overview of the whole design thinking process. Most of us have already had some prior knowledge of the design kit methods, so this exercise was fairly comfortable to us.

However, after doing this quick overview we quickly highlighted a few areas where we could improve in our daily jobs, which in turn could help us run projects and workshops more effectively. One key learning for me was to ensure that we always have a good mix of skill sets in a workshop, to ensure we have a vast amount of experience and a wide viewpoint to pool from.

Buoyed by positivity we submitted our team online and looked forward to class two.

Week Two — Picking a Design Challenge

The task in class two was to collectively pick a design challenge from a choice of three provided by IDEO. We chose ‘how might we provide healthier food choices for people in need?’, because we thought we could have more impact in our local community by helping to solve this challenge. Class two focused on the ‘inspiration’ phase of the design think methodology. The main purpose of the inspiration phase is to delve and understand the audience and their needs in relation to the challenge at hand.

Every two hour class is split up into smaller workshops. Therefore, for the first 20 minutes, our task was to gain a collective understanding of what we thought we knew and what our assumptions where of the challenge and audience. We noted down what we understood to be ‘people in need’ and what we thought where the challenges around buying, cooking and eating healthy food.

The second workshop picked up these insights and encouraged us to put together a research plan asking us to think about, who to observe, what experts can we talk to and what contextual situations can we observe in order for us to gain more understanding, which in turn would fill in the gaps identified previously. IDEO believe in their design team conducting field research to ensure they are uncovering, understanding and empathising with the user to ultimately generate better ideas.

As a designer at Code I wouldn’t normally be involved in the audience research phase, so this was all new to me and from this a key discovery I made was to make sure I was in the right mindset. The course encourages us to use our ‘beginner’s mindset’when we are conducting field research to make sure we don’t judge people or situations.

I am looking forward to week three and conducting field research with the team, using my ‘beginner’s mindset’ to gain a fresh perspective and the best possible insights.