A diagram of the double diamond process

Human Centred Design PART 2: Event Write-Up

By Kathryn Dingle 6 November 2020 4 minute read

We have attended a Human Centred Design workshop series run by Third Sector Lab and Jess Gildener. Learning from the first part is summarised here. This blog will cover the second workshop which focused on Human Centred Design: Tools for Ideating, Prototyping and Testing. Below are the highlights from this event and links to key resources!

Jess covered a range of tools, including brainwriting, LEGO prototypes, storyboards and using PowerPoint for fast digital prototypes. I will explain more below!

Jess’s favoured user design process is more like a Double Diamond process. The first workshop focused on ‘Discover’ and ‘Define,’ whilst this workshop focused on the second diamond – ‘Develop’ and ‘Deliver’.

An image of the double diamond method, including discover, define, develop and deliver


In the first diamond, you will have explored what the problems are and honed in on a specific problem you want to tackle. The Develop stage is the point at which you broaden your thinking again to different ways of fixing the problem. This can be done by seeking inspiration from existing products/services and co-designing with a range of different users. At the end of this stage, you will have a selection of potential solutions that need further testing.

Start with your mindset:

The focus of this stage is to ideate, so quantity over quality (for now) and no idea is a bad idea. Make sure you are putting users at the front and centre. It is about solutions that work for users, so don’t get too attached to your ideas; get a range of views and build on each others’ ideas with statements like ‘Yes, and…’

Creative methods for idea generation:

  • Crazy 8’s: A very quick exercise for generating lots of ideas – fast! The task is for each participant to come up with 8 ideas to fix the problem in 8 minutes. The wilder the better. Here is a crazy 8’s exercise template using online brainstorming software, Miro. You could also ask participants to do it with pen and paper or in a shared document. It is more about idea generation and speed than having fully formed ideas.
  • Brainwriting: Brainwriting is a twist on traditional brainstorming. Its aim is to very quickly get input on ideas from various different perspectives. Brainwriting guide link. You could easily do it as a follow-on exercise to Crazy 8’s, if everyone voted for the top ideas and these ideas were carried over into the brainwriting exercise. Brainwriting was a new exercise to me but it was a great way of quickly reviewing and adapting ideas.
  • S.C.A.M.P.E.R: Takes an existing service, product or idea that needs more work and rethinks it. Scamper is all about idea manipulation. It forces you to think about rethink, fuse ideas and bring together different perspectives. Below is a great example for a KitKat that Jess showed us, and here is a worked example for an orange juice seller.
  • More exercises: 15 idea generation exercises article and here.
An image of the scamper method applied to a kitkat.

Online tools:


When you reach this stage, you should have a clear idea of the problems, lots of user insights to back this up and a selection of potential solutions. This stage involves refining and testing these solutions in a really small-scale way (prototyping), until you have your preferred solution.

Online prototyping tools:

Start testing existing tools for inspiration: something we have learnt at NPC is to not forget that lots of existing software has great content and design. Don’t copy others, but you can explore what users like and dislike about existing products, or what they like and dislike about your existing product, before you begin prototyping. This can help you think about the key features to focus on first and the overall style of onboarding, etc. There are lots of websites which highlight great examples of UX design, such as ReallyGoodUX.

When you you want to get stuck in to prototyping, Jess gave a great list of resources for doing quick and easy prototyping.

In-person prototyping tools:

  • Cardboard and paper: It doesn’t always have to be an online sparkly version. Sometimes a good old-fashioned pen and paper prototype is all you need to test ideas.
  • LEGO: Jess highlighted LEGO as a great way to prototype as it can highlight key differences quickly. Here is a blog and free exercises for using LEGO in design thinking.

Hopefully you find these tools useful!

For more information about human-centred design, Jess’s recommended books include This is Service Design Doing and This is Service Design Methods; Good Services by Lou Downe (which also has a free online self assessment tool); and The Field Guide to Human-Centred Design by IDEO.