Design Thinking for Imperial War Museums

Our London branch had a busy December organising and delivering a Design Thinking workshop for the future Second World War Galleries of the majestic Imperial War Museums London.

The Entrance of the Imperial War Museums London

The Imperial War Museum is not a celebratory museum of battles or military power, it is a reflection on conflicts and their impact on the lives of ordinary people, soldiers and civilians.

It is therefore essential for such a museum to develop strong empathic ties with its audience. That's why we proposed the IWM to use Design Thinking to achieve this.

Our basic idea with Design Thinking for museums is that you have to directly expose the museum staff to the visitors. Nowadays staff are often isolated in their offices, far from the galleries and from the final users of their services. On the contrary, we believe that when museum staff gets back in contact with visitors, great things can happen and better ideas are developed. You can read about our Design Thinking project at the Museo Egizio in Turin.

Two WWII veterans working with the IWM Staff

We have set up a small team of educators, curators and designers and made them meet a panel of "museum users" coming from a broad spectrum of different range of interests, ages and backgrounds. For example, a WWII veteran and a young student with no specific interest in the war.

IWM Staff sketching new ideas during the Design Thinking workshop.

Together with their visitors the team designed a prototyped a few solutions for their future WWII Galleries. It's been an intense training condensed in a few days, full of ideas and new concepts that will have a lasting impact on the museum staff and their visitors as well.

You can read more about our Design Thinking training and how it could apply to your institution on our Training page.

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