Modifying and applying tools to context

We recently hosted a day-long workshop with Microsoft, where we explored the potentials of the tools in the DIY Toolkit (Development Impact & You) for their team. In this immersive hands-on workshop we looked at how these tools can be used among multidisciplinary design teams, to both communicate design research findings to stakeholders as well as identify design actions for the future. Using design documentaries and heuristic data as our starting point, we looked at how these tools can provide a beneficial structure to the ongoing, open-ended collaborations amongst designers.

The tools in the DIY Toolkit are versatile and can be applied and modified depending on the task at hand. For example, we used the Experience Tour to immerse ourselves in the particular perspective of a user of fitness-tracking technology. We looked at how the Causes Diagram can break down a complex ‘core problem’ into underlying causes and symptoms, which can help to prioritise your team’s particular set of tasks. Using the Fast Idea Generator and Promises and Potential Map, we were able to generate ideas from our research findings and analysis and then look at these ideas in the context of how they may be ‘evolutionary’, ‘incremental’, or ‘disruptive’ to new and existing users.

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We finished the day by using the Prototype Testing Plan, a tool that can be used to help quickly test and iterate an idea, improving upon it with each iteration. For the team it was helpful to see that these tools can be applied at various stages of a project, and at various scales of thinking about an issue – from identifying first opportunities, to addressing a complex problem, or in relation to a particular product launch. Throughout the workshop, we discussed and saw first-hand the versatility and adaptability of the DIY Toolkit; the tools can be used in more than one way, in a different order, or even combined to generate new ideas and ways of thinking around a design issue.

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