IDEO – the human-centered design toolkit

The Human-Centered Design (HCD) Toolkit was designed specifically for NGOs and social enterprises that work with impoverished communities in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. The free kit walks users through the human-centered design process and supports them in activities such as building listening skills, running workshops, and implementing ideas. The process has led to innovations such as the HeartStart defibrillator, CleanWell natural antibacterial products, and the Blood Donor System for the Red Cross—all of which have enhanced the lives of millions of people.

Download The Field Guide to Human-Centered Design.

Energy and Digital Living is based on the sensory and digital ethnography methodologies and design research at Loughborough University, UK, as part of the EPSRC funded LEEDR project.

Energy and Digital Living website aims to disseminate both the ethnographic findings and design interventions developed from the work, as well as the digital-sensory ethnography methodology that was developed as a way of researching energy and digital media in the home. There are a number of articles published that take the ideas developed on the web site into more theoretical depth. These are linked to the site.

The site is intended to be used by scholars and practitioners from different disciplines who are interested in this field, researchers and designers interested in video methods and digital-sensory ethnography practice and in interdisciplinary work, and has the potential to be used for teaching around a number of areas.


Both design and ethnography situate their practices in the social. What aptitudes do these practices have that are mutually supportive and/or beneficial? What can ethnographers teach designers, and what can designers teach ethnographers?
Both design and ethnography accept the subjective, and a rich relationship between the researcher and the researched, as a welcome and generative aspect of research and practice. Neither practice aims for–or makes claims to achieve–positivist truth or scientific knowledge.
In many ways the two practices operate in similar territories with similar understandings of agency, responsibility and individual accountability. Yet they are not the same, what are the important, mutually beneficial, differences? and what might these differences in understanding and practice tell us about nascent future practices like Design Ethnography?


For this special panel discussion members from both DERC (Digital Ethnograpy Research Centre) and DFL (Design Futures Lab Research Group) have gathered to probe the above questions–questions which are quickly becoming fundamental to the future of research inquiry within the school of media and communication at RMIT University.

Related to this topic is a talk by Paul Dourish (UC Irvine, California) for the first Digital Intervention Seminar Series on ‘Ethnographic investigation of robotic deep space exploration’ at RMIT Design Hub on 27th March 2013.

Link Festival 2015 Panel Discussion: “Let’s really look at what designing does in social innovation and sustainability”
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