For roughly 4 1/2 years, I created and developed the methodology, terminology, and the mess of the process of #DEEPdt. During this time, my designers (students) & I pretty much used post-its & whiteboards as our surface of choice.  Even now after, 6 1/2 years of iterating & increasing the scope and scale of #DEEPdt, my surface preferences are still post-its and whiteboards. 

Yet, my choice is not the be all end all for designers and that is ok.  Stanford’s d.School has been a leader in open-sourcing resources, materials, handouts, slide decks, curricular matter, etc. So since learning about design thinking, I have thankfully had a plethora of tangibles to get my hands on since my learning journey of all things DT began on Feb 26, 2010. Yet my first dt challenge experience (as designer not teacher) was at the d. School in July of 2011. In a 2 1/2 day K12 workshop we were given a booklet to guide our challenges (1st Campus Safety, 2nd Health Care Experience). 

My foundation of design thinking is rooted at the d.School.  I have written before about the launch of a design challenge & my preference for it to be around a topic or observation (and NOT a wordsmithed How Might We… Question) For my very 1st dt challenge ever, we were challenged with the following: Campus Safety—-> Go find your users. It was a simple and as direct as that. And I loved it. I LOVE IT!

We had the booklet to guide us through the process yet our surfaces were post-its and whiteboards. What this constraint forced us as d.TEAMS to do was to share our findings, ideas, ah-ahs, insights, etc which resulted in connections, building of ideas and insights, and a shared experience. This is vital during design thinking work… Vital I tell ya.

Now I am all about handouts as you can see on the DEEPdt Widgets page and the DEEPdt Learning MEANs handouts yet I try to coach and facilitate d.TEAMS to use one handout or the Big Screen as the guide and to flesh out their work on a team surface.  Yet, I am also mindful of those in need of the tangibles in their own hands…and in time the grip onto these handouts will become less and less.

The point of the above is to say two things. First, use handouts as needed yet don’t let the myriad of papers block you from being and sharing with your d.TEAMS and constricting your connections to your User. Second, whatever your surface know that nothing is ever set in stone in DT & do what works best for you as a designer to connect & be led by your User. One size never fits all… and if anything grab some post-its and go to your User- he/she will NEVER lead you astray.