Design Thinking Tools for Communities
Design thinking is a powerful, 4-phase process that leads communities in designing solutions that are responsive to customers' needs and that are financially viable and operationally feasible.
There are so many great tools and tips out there on design thinking. Below, under descriptions of each of the four phases, we've gathered several from the IDEO.org Design Kit, Peer Insight and the other authors of the Designing for Growth Field Book, the Stanford d.School Use Our Methods web resources, and other sources.
Phase 1: Understanding the Challenge and Framing the Opportunity
The design thinking process begins by exploring a problem from customers’ perspectives and looking at the full experience of customers. Useful research activities include interviewing, observing, developing customer journey maps, and leveraging secondary data. Below are some resources that may be useful for interviewing and observing customers, as well as for collecting data from secondary sources.
Identify Your Audience
- Tips for scoping out your target audience. This list will likely evolve as your project progresses.
Plan Your Research
Sample Tools for Conducting Primary Research
- Tips for preparing your interviews
- Tips for conducting interviews
- Tips for learning from your observations
Sample Tools for Framing the Opportunity
- Tips for synthesizing your research data to identify worthwhile opportunities: Download Your Learning and Share Inspiring Stories
- Tips for defining the essential qualities or criteria of an ideal, responsive solution: Design Principles
Phase 2: Generating Ideas and Developing Solution Concept
Exploring future possibilities to address your design challenge is the focus of this section. Valuable actions to think broadly and creatively about solutions include a time-limited brainstorming session, and a time-limited concept development session to combine ideas together in new ways. Below are some tools for generating ideas and developing concepts for new services and other offerings.
- Framework for idea generation/brainstorming
- Sample rules for conducting idea generation sessions
- Try these techniques with your team: 1) "Yes, and...", 2) Trigger Questions, 3) Technology Brainstorming Activity, and 4) Orthodoxies
- Tips for combining ideas to form new concepts: Bundle Ideas and Create a Concept
Phase 3: Assumption Testing and Business planning
- Free tool for creating a shareable Business Building Block canvas from Canvanizer
Phase 4: Further Testing the Solution Concept and Preparing for Launch
Determining your Budget
- Building a multi-year budget. Includes budget worksheets and instructions. The link will also bring you to support for determining the price for your new services. (Source: The Scan Foundation)
- Pricing Guide: A Resource for Community-Based Organizations to Value and Price Services. See especially "Section 2: Setting A Price." (Source: The Scan Foundation)
Creating a Business Plan
- Outline for a human-centered business plan. A business plan that provides a roadmap for customer outreach and marketing, operations, and financial sustainability.
Making your Pitch
- Guidelines for preparing your pitch. A presentation or “pitch” describing the solution to a specific audience of your choosing. Much of what will go into the pitch presentation will be drawn from you business plan.
- Creating an effective flow for your pitch. Describes 5 stages of giving an effective pitch and how to use the pitch to tell your story.
- Don't Skimp on Preparation Before that Big Pitch. A good article on preparing a team presentation.
- Social Venture Partners of Los Angeles: Fast Pitches
- Social Venture Partners of Arizona, 2013 Fast Pitch Social Innovation Expo: James Porter
- Social Venture Partners of Arizona, 2013 Fast Pitch Social Innovation Expo: John Fisher
- Social Venture Partners of Arizona, 2013 Fast Pitch Social Innovation Expo: Darren Chapman
- Social Venture Partners of Sacramento: 2015 Nonprofit Commercials (not truly business pitches, but powerful examples of storytelling)
- Pitch deck of Airbnb. A great example of condensing a business model into just 10 slides, striking the right balance between incorporating substantive content and being easy to read.
- For fun, watch this video of Mr. Rogers "pitching" PBS to the US Senate.
- Sample Business Associate Agreement. This type of agreement allows for the disclosure of limited (and only necessary) health information about riders by a health care provider to the entity coordinating transportation for that rider.