Phase 1: Understanding the Brief

This card will help you to determine the key points from the brief and the ‘practice’ you have to explore through the whole design process.



TIP 1: To identify the practice think about the ‘action verb’ that describes the need the brief is aiming to address. For example, if the brief is asking you to design a new kettle, the underlying practice would be ‘boiling water’. If the brief is asking you to design a sports water bottle, the practice could be ‘drinking water’ or even ‘rehydrating’.

Phase 2: Exploring the practice

With this card (and some post-it notes) you will brainstorm ideas about ‘Where?’ and ‘When?’ the practice can take place. This will help you to identify different situations and then choose two or three of them to explore in more detail with the next card (i.e. Card 2b).

With this card you will identify the ‘Meanings’, ‘Materials’ and ‘Competences’ related to the practice in each particular situation identified in Card 2a. To do this, answer these questions: ‘Why do you do it?’, ‘How do you do it?’ and ‘What makes it possible?’.

TIP 1: Start by writing down the situation you want to explore (i.e. the ‘Where?’ and ‘When?’ combination identified in Card 2a) on the left side of this card. Use one card for each situation you are going to analyse.

TIP 2: Use post-it notes of the same or similar colours to the circles in this card to brainstorm ideas while you answer the questions proposed.

TIP 3: Once you have identified meanings, competences and materials for each situation, you can complement your brainstorm with a round of primary data collection and/or desk research.

Phase 3: Considering the individual

With this card you will identify different users who may carry out the practice in each of the situations (or, at this stage, just one) you have decided to work upon. You can answer the proposed questions by using your own experience and previous knowledge, or the information gathered through desk research and/or primary data collection.




TIP: Use one card for each ‘Persona’, to whom you can also give a name in the space provided on the left side of this card.

Phase 4: The individual and the practice

With this card you will determine the ‘Meanings’, ‘Competences’ and ‘Materials’ you want to address for your target user (i.e. Persona) in a chosen situation (i.e. Where? When?). This will help you to create a ‘Scenario’, which you can then use to generate design concepts.

TIP 1: You can create more scenarios by exploring different users (i.e. Persona) in different situations (i.e. Where? When?), or different combinations of ‘Meanings’, ‘Competences’ and ‘Materials’ for the same user in a specific situation.

TIP 2: For your convenience, identify each scenario with a name that you can write down on the left side of this card.


Download the DIP Toolkit Cards:


Click here


This project was realised with the financial support of

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