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 behaviour films 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.


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.

Enhancing training with coaching

Over the past years we have increasingly been asked to support client organisations with their internal capacity building for service innovation. Our vast experience of working as practitioners…

Probing Collectives of Users

Many organisations are developing services for collectives of users, such as teams, families, communities, and organisations. Think Spotify, Facebook, Microsoft, Google, 1Password, Slack etc. How do you research users when they are part of an interconnected collective?

Challenging designers to tackle climate change

How can designers tackle a problem as complex as climate change? That’s the question we’ve been trying to answer this year as the research partner for What Design Can Do’s Climate Action Challenge.

Hyper local vs. system thinking

Over the past year STBY has conducted several design research projects for the city of Amsterdam, supporting them with innovation projects around the use of public space.

Plants, protein and plastic: sustainability in food

How do people perceive food in terms of health and sustainability? Where do they get their information about food from, and what do they do with it? And how do they perceive so-called ‘new’ proteins, derived from plants instead of animals?

Making bicycle parking easier and faster

STBY helped the city of Amsterdam and Dutch Rail to make the use of indoor bicycle parking facilities more efficient and convenient through the use of new technology. This improvement is essential,…

eBay: local understanding and global design

Millions of people in more than a hundred countries now use Ebay’s sites and apps every day. These visitors represent a myriad of different cultures. Knowing precisely how to tailor its user…

What makes a home?

This is the question IKEA and its designers feel they must continually seek an answer to, if they are to succeed in their ambition “to create a better everyday life for the many”. And this question…

The way forward with smart mobility

Even for brief local journeys, for shopping or work purposes, people often combine walking, cycling or driving, and public transportation like urban rail, or the underground or bus. Such multi-modal…