Posts Tagged ‘design thinking’

Playing with Digital Space

I am applying the iterative process of needfinding, ideation and prototyping (Seidel & Fixson, 2013) to a digital space in my school library.

I have observed how other public and school libraries use digital signage screens to convey information to their users. I gathered these insights and brainstormed my own ideas. The ICT Department was receptive to me wanting to know about the digital signage system and offered to train me in the use of the software.

Once I knew what the software would allow me to do, I sketched a layout of a screen template on a piece of paper. I then played and experimented with the software to try and replicate my layout. Trial and error helped me to become more familiar with the software interface.


Prototype of digital signage screen

I now have a prototype screen layout. The layout is basic but I want to test it on the screen and get some feedback before I proceed further and invest more time and resources. If my prototype does not appeal to library users, the design will need to be changed (Kuratko, 2012). So while I still have a way to go, I have used the iterative process to make a good start.


Kuratko, D., Goldsworthy, M., & Hornsby, G. (2012). The design-thinking process Innovation acceleration: Transforming organizational thinking (pp. 103-123). Boston: Pearson. Retrieved from  

Seidel, V. P., & Fixson, S. K. (2013). Adopting Design Thinking in Novice Multidisciplinary Teams: The Application and Limits of Design Methods and Reflexive Practices. Journal of Product Innovation Management, 30, 19-33. doi:10.1111/jpim.12061

Designing Spaces for Learning – Assessment Task 1

A large flat digital signage screen is mounted on a blank wall in the school library where I am the teacher librarian. It was installed when the new school building was built four years ago. Two more screens are situated in other parts of the school. The screens are operated by the Information Communications Technology Department (ICT Department) and feature content provided by administration. After the staff member who was responsible for operating the digital signage left the school about two years ago, the screens have been used less frequently.

The school is fortunate to have digital signage equipment in place but it is currently under-utilised. This is a problem that I would like to seize for the screen situated in the library. The content displayed needs to be suited to the students and teachers so I need to “place people at the centre of things” (Leifer, 2013, p. 4) and interact with these stakeholders (Kuratko, Goldsworthy & Hornsby, 2012).

Digital signage screen and the view of the library from it.

Digital signage screen and the view of the library from it.

My inspiration has come from seeing how other libraries leverage this technology. Inspiration is the first step in Tim Brown’s elements of design thinking (Kuratko, Goldsworthy & Hornsby, 2012). I am excited by the possibilities of digital signage but realise there will be constraints and difficult learning ahead and I will need to “persevere through the difficult paths that are likely to arise” (Kuratko, 2012, p.111) by being proactive (second step). The benefits of having a dynamic space to communicate with students and staff will firstly require training in the software. Humility, the third element, is knowing what you don’t know and being able to admit it. I don’t know how the digital signage screens work yet, however “when you approach others for knowledge that would be useful to you and ask for their thoughts on your project, you accelerate the design process” (Kuratko, Goldsworthy & Hornsby, 2012, p.112). The final two elements of design thinking I must keep in mind are flexibility and focus. To fully realise the opportunities of digital signage I must have an open mind, seek feedback and understand that criticism about the idea isn’t a criticism of me.

Digital signage can provide a dynamic way of communicating (Larson & Quam, 2010) and is increasingly used in libraries. I want to utilise the digital signage screen in the library as a promotional and learning tool. In order to make use of this digital space, this week I made enquiries with the ICT Department about contributing content. They suggested a software demonstration so I could become familiar with the capabilities of the software. The demonstration is going to take place next week, with further software training sessions to be scheduled soon after.

I am excited by the prospect of learning how to use the software so that I can promote library services, school events, student work and highlight the school’s commitment to thinking and learning. I am also apprehensive because I do not have a design background and digital signage requires visual appeal. Once I have received the necessary training, I intend to experiment, create and prototype presentations. I will then seek feedback and redesign where necessary (Razzouk & Shute, 2012).


Created by K. Malbon based on Razzouk & Shute, 2012.


Kuratko, D., Goldsworthy, M., & Hornsby, G. (2012). The design-thinking process in Innovation acceleration : transforming organizational thinking. (pp.103-123). Boston : Pearson.

Larson, K., & Quam, A. (2010). The modernization of SIGNS: A library leads the way to networked digital signage. Computers in Libraries, 30(3), 36-38. Retrieved from

Plattner, H., Meinel, C., & Leifer, L. (Eds.). (2013). Design Thinking Research : Building Innovation Eco-Systems. Retrieved from

Razzouk, R., & Shute, V. (2012). What is design thinking and why is it important? Review of Educational Research, September, 82 (3), 330–348. Retrieved from

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