The best way to learn about design thinking is to do it, but we’d be remiss if we didn’t point out some of the books that help contextualize what we do.
If you want to deepen your understanding of design thinking process and application, here’s a book list to get you started. We’re being selective, not exhaustive, here – think of it as the “staff favorites” section in your local bookstore.
George Kembel’s “d.school Operator’s Handbook” lies somewhere between a manual and manifesto.
It was created in 2007 as content for a strategy session at the then nascent d.school. Within its hand-drawn pages is an outline of the guiding principles behind the d.school philosophy and an early map of the workings of the organization.
The “d.school Operators Handbook” is a peek into our early history & thinking and as an example of how big ideas can start with broad sketches.
IDEO Method Cards are a tool to showcase methods we use to inspire great design and keep people at the center of our design process. Each of the 51 cards describes one method and includes a brief story about how and when to use it.
It’s not a “how to” guide—it’s a design tool meant to explore new approaches and help you develop your own. Use the deck to gain a new perspective, inspire a team, turn a corner, or try a new approach.
IDEO Method Cards are available exclusively from William Stout Architectural Books in San Francisco
The Design Thinking for Educators Toolkit gives teachers the tools and methods they need to apply design thinking—discovery, interpretation, ideation, experimentation and evolution—in real-world scenarios.
IDEO designers have been using similar processes, methods, and tools for years in tackling some dauntingly complex challenges. More often than not, they experienced how design thinking helps to get to the next step.
In 2009, IDEO designed and launched the HCD Toolkit, a first-of-its-kind book that laid out how and why human-centered design can impact the social sector. In short order, a community of designers, entrepreneurs, and social sector innovators embraced it, buying and downloading over 150,000 copies.
About the resource: At IDEO.org, part of their mission is to spread human-centered design to social sector practitioners around the world. The Field Guide to Human-Centered Design reveals our process with the key mindsets that underpin how and why we think about design for the social sector, 57 clear-to-use design methods for new and experienced practitioners, and from-the-field case studies of human-centered design in action. The Field Guide has everything you need to understand the people you’re designing for, to have more effective brainstorms, to prototype your ideas, and to ultimately arrive at more creative solutions.