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Design Kit: Prototyping

IDEO .org
A free course from Acumen
This course has concluded.

The Course

Course Description:

Human-centered design is a process that starts with the people you're designing for and ends with new solutions that are tailor-made to suit their needs. Prototyping is a crucial part of this process. Building prototypes gives you a chance to get your ideas out of your head and into the hands of the people you're designing for. By getting feedback early and often, and continuing to improve your idea, you'll be well on your way to getting useful ideas and solutions out into the world.

This four-week course builds on Design Kit: The Course for Human-Centered Design, a class that has been taken by thousands of teams around the world. The curriculum will strengthen your existing knowledge of the human-centered design process and help you to become a more innovative problem solver by building up your prototyping skills. You'll walk away knowing how to prototype products, services, and environments, and get constructive feedback along the way.

What You'll Learn:

After completing this course, you will be able to:

  • Practice the mindsets and methods of human-centered design so that you can become a more effective, innovative problem solver, specifically through prototyping
  • Produce tangible results quickly and bring your ideas to life through early, rough prototypes
  • Experiment with the power of prototyping in multiple forms—from products to services to environments
  • Gain valuable feedback from the people you're designing for, and how that feedback can inform and be integrated into new iterations
  • Demonstrate how the cycle of prototyping, feedback, and iteration leads to concept refinement

How the Course Works:

You will work through the course with a group of 2-6 people that we will refer to as your “design team." It's strongly recommended you form a team before the start of the course with people located nearby, with whom you can meet in-person, but you will also have the opportunity to find a team using the course platform once the course begins.

You will learn the prototyping process by applying it to a real-world design challenge that we will provide for you. Each week you will explore the main concepts of prototyping through readings, case studies, and short videos. Then you'll be expected to meet in-person with your design team to get your hands dirty building prototypes and practicing other relevant human-centered design methods.

Throughout the course, you'll have the opportunity to interact and gain inspiration from design teams around the world also taking the course. Due to the size of this course, instructors will be available to answer questions, but cannot provide feedback on individual assignments. The course occurs entirely online and there are no set meeting times that you are required to log in, but you will set meeting times to meet with your own team. You can log in and access the course materials at any time between the course opening and closing dates.

Building Your Design Team:

Many of the workshop activities will work best if your group has 2-6 members (ideally at least 4).

No group?

  • Recruit your friends, colleagues, or family members
  • Find a group through the course platform once it starts

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