IDEO Method Cards

I’ve been wanting to buy the IDEO method cards, as a cool inspiration tool for myself and for the customers I work with. The cards are freely available online ( is a nice visual source) and are now also available as an iPhone App. ( But I’m the original paper lover – I want to hold the cards, place some of them up where I can see them, carry them around with me, flip through them, hide the one’s I don’t want to see, categorize them into piles and place them on my futon…

So when a friend kindly agreed to cart them over from the US for me, I was very happy! One of the cards that really caught my attention was the ‘Five Whys?’ card. I love this method because of its simplicity and the depth of understanding it generates. And I have always found that ‘mini’ techniques like this that can be incorporated into larger techniques, help to keep user interactions fresh by breaking the monotony of a standard, homogeneous session.   Another interesting card -‘Unfocus Group’ At first because of the cool name. But also because it reminds me of a multidisciplinary innovation approach I’ve become familiar with and adapted over the years. (More – Some of the method cards are actually common (and sometimes nameless) research techniques or practices that IDEO has packaged more creatively, and (re)christened to sound more interesting. (‘Extreme User Interviews’ / ‘Draw the Experience’ / ‘Behavioural Archaeology’) Which is good from a marketing perspective – The ‘Extreme User Interview’ method is definitely a more intriguing conversation trigger than say a discussion about ‘including both extremely familiar as well as completely unfamiliar users in the research sample set.’ The IDEO method cards are currently not available in India, but they can be bought online at: William Stout Architectural Books ( (or) Amazon ( On the whole, I think the cards are a good buy and a useful tool for researchers to have handy. Looking through the set, I can think of several ways in which I might use them in my work.