Inside's forthcoming Field Guide to Human-Centered Design
1202-IDEO-landing Inside's forthcoming Field Guide to Human-Centered Design

The nonprofit arm of international design and consulting firm IDEO is expanding its instructive, digital platform on human-centered design (HCD) with an analog tool that’s equal parts coffee-table decor and on-the-job reference. The illustrated, 200-plus page Field Guide to Human-Centered Design launched on Kickstarter last month and has more than doubled its $30,000 funding goal, with less than a week to go in the campaign.

The book is an extension of the company’s multi-platform HCD program and is new packaging for the generative, three-step process of conceptualizing, prototyping, and implementing design ideas for projects spanning social entrepreneurship to community planning. Its goal: determine what occupants want, whether it’s feasible, and that it’s financially viable.

“We’ve learned so much more about how to practice human-centered design in the social sector that it felt like this was a fantastic opportunity to share a bunch of that [information],” says senior editor Aaron Britt, who worked on the book and the Kickstarter campaign.

Although the Field Guide is designed for entrepreneurs, nonprofits, and non-governmental organizations, the content also applies to architecture and design professionals, Britt adds. “If you want to design a house, or an office, or a hospital, talk to the people who are going to use it,” Britt says. “We found that too often, the people who lots of entities aim to serve aren’t asked what they want or need.”

The process outlined in the Field Guide is designed to integrate with other planning methods such as participatory rural appraisals, sub-sector/value-chain analysis, and triangulation, says the firm. And it joins the robust package of tools. The nonprofit’s Design Kit has 58,000 members and its online Course for Human-Centered Design counts 40,000 registrants from 148 countries in the last two years. Similarly, the HCD Toolkit, a textbook and PDF outlining’s principles, has been downloaded more than 141,000 times.

The Field Guide, which features mostly new content, includes case studies and worksheets for more than 50 methods employed by in its own projects. The firm expects to deliver books to its Kickstarter backers by February 2015 with a soft date of spring 2015 for general purchase.