Mitroff Silvers is a web strategy and implementation consultant and
workshop facilitator with experience launching digital products in museums,
nonprofits, and educational organizations. A theme in her current work is
how mission-driven organizations can integrate principles of human-centered
design into their practice.
She writes, "One of the core principles of design thinking
is its focus on human values at every stage of the process. And empathy for
the people for whom you’re designing is fundamental to this process...
There have been several recent discussions about empathy in museum
practice, ranging from Regan Forrest’s writings about empathy in the
context of interpretation on the Interactivate blog to Gretchen Jenning’s
write-up about The Empathetic Museum at AAM to Suse Cairns’s post on the
Museum Geek blog, On the paradoxes of empathy.
I’m thrilled that empathy seems to be an emerging meme among my museum
peers. The current discussions touch on the application of empathy at all
levels of museums, from institutional policy to interpretive practices. One
aspect of empathy that I think is missing in these discussions is how it is
used and applied in the context of the design thinking process."
"One of the core principles of design thinking is its focus on
human values at every stage of the process. And empathy for the people for whom
you’re designing is fundamental to this process. A few weeks ago, I stumbled
upon an “Empathetic Listening Booth” at the Berkeley Farmer’s Market in
Berkeley, CA, where I live. Living in Berkeley, I’m used to seeing all sorts of interesting things at the local farmer’s market, but this one really caught
my eye with its use of the term “empathy.""
From Empathy to
Innovation: Design Thinking for Nonprofits
Nonprofit Technology Conference, Minneapolis, MN
"There has been a lot of buzz about design thinking as a methodology for
solving complex challenges by understanding users' needs and developing
deep insights to meet those needs. With roots in the engineering sector,
design thinking has been around for more than 30 years and has been
adopted by many nonprofits as a process for innovation and
collaboration. This interactive session introduces attendees to this
human-centered, prototype-driven process. Participants experience
first-hand the complete Design Thinking cycle--empathize, define,
ideate, prototype, test--through a lightning fast, hands-on interactive
challenge. The presenters then encourage everyone to look for ways to
apply Design Thinking to their current projects, and introduce resources
for implementing Design Thinking in any organization."
Workshop 2012 -
Design Thinking for Museums: From Empathy to Innovation
Museum Computer Network Conference, Seattle, WA
"Design Thinking is a human-centered, prototype-driven process for
innovation. In this half-day workshop, participants will experience
firsthand the complete Design Thinking cycle through a hands-on, highly
interactive session. Design thinking emphasizes learning by doing, and
this workshop will be a rapid-fire, immersive, and fun journey through
every stage of the process."
How might we engage visitors–without a museum?
"This paper, co-authored by the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) and
the teaching team of the course “Design Thinking Bootcamp” at Stanford’s Hasso
Plattner Institute of Design (d.school), documents a partnership between SFMOMA
and the d.school in Fall 2012. For this partnership, a class of
multidisciplinary graduate students took on a design challenge for SFMOMA and
prototyped innovative, divergent solutions following the design thinking
process. In this paper, we will share the stories of the students’ process and
insights, provide examples of the prototypes they developed, and discuss the
impact the project had on the museum’s approach to collaborative