Design tools

Below, the individual tools for co-design projects are listed. Each tool describes it’s core effect, provides step-by-step guidance for the teacher and students and comes with example worksheets for participants. For some tools, customisable templates are available. Some tools are explained by children in videos; a playlist is available. Together with the advice on the general in the guide for teachers, the tools provide support for building co-design projects that stimulate the development of design skills such as creativity, empathy and design communication of students.

Explore and define the problem

Choose your side

This energizer-style technique creates awareness of differences between people. Participants express their choice between two alternatives by walking to different sides of the room.

Experience gatherer

This technique creates awareness of personal differences between the designer and the target users. It asks participants to map their own experience and compare it to the experiences of intended end users.

Location vlog

Map the specifics of the design environment and the various uses of it in a quick video, and share it with your client or problem owner.


Summarise your insights on a group of users with a similar profile. Create a fictive representant of this group through writing and drawing in a template.

Empathic design challenge

Use your knowledge and empathy with end users to define the problem, a direction for solutions and your design challenge.


Inverse brainstorm

This technique helps thinking out-of-the-box by listing the characteristics of a phenomenon or situation, inverse the list, and design for the inverse.

Picture brainstorm

This technique supports thinking up new ideas through visual stimuli.

Word brainstorm

This technique supports thinking up new ideas through random combinations of words.

Open your senses

A series of compact exercises to explore an environment through multiple senses: sight, sound, smell, touch.

Combine and fantasize

Synectics as a game: create small stories of random combinations of objects and characteristics. What would happen if sidewalk tiles could float..?

Evaluate and select ideas

Yes/no list

Make a rough selection of the outcomes of a brainstorm and compare your choices with those of other team members.

Dot voting technique

Place dots with your favourite ideas and work towards consensus with your team.


Rate ideas on originality and feasibility in a crosshair diagram.

Traffic light rating

Judge if your ideas fulfill the main criteria and compare ideas by traffic light codes: green, yellow, red.

Forward with feedback

Use a feedback form to formulate feedback in a way that overcomes defensive tendencies and inspires a new design iteration.

Build prototypes

Unfortunately, we don’t have tools to share on this topic yet. We are open for suggestions.


Video roll

Making a quick video presentation from your design materials, for sharing with a client.

Piecing together a design pitch

An exercise to practise a standard structure for design presentations.

Solution pitch

A Workbook with a standard structure to help you create a complete story of what your design is about, useful for well developed ideas or final designs.