At Fair Haven Innovates, we are makers. We make for others.


We use our design process to create innovative solutions for our user’s tame and wicked challenges.


This is our process.


design process


Here are the simple rules for using our design process:


-Lead with Empathy
-Test your way to the best answer
-Learn something new when you fail
-Return to the appropriate design stage as needed, when needed


Below you will find the stages of our design process. Use the buttons to go to a specific stage.



Our design process starts with Empathy. Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another. We lead with Empathy to understand and share the feelings of our users, customers, and clients to ensure we are designing the best solutions possible for them.


There are three actions, that are best followed in order, to help you develop Empathy during our design process:


  1. Observe – Watch or shadow users as they live their life.
  2. Engage – Prepare then Interview users. 
  3. Immerse – Experience what your user experiences through role playing.



After Empathy, we move to the Define stage. In the Define stage, we will unpack what we learned in the Empathy stage and work toward creating How Might We (HMW) questions to take to the Imagine stage. 



The three simple rules for getting to How Might We questions are:


  • Unpack Learnings – Use an Empathy Map to unpack what you learned in the Empathy stage. 
  • Turn Learnings into Insights – Insights are a discovery about the underlying motivations that drive people’s actions. They are the emotional “why” that gives meaning to a specific learning.
  • Turn Insights into HMW questions – How Might We questions are the starting point for our Imagine Stage. HMW questions are written in direct response to an insight. HMW questions should feel optimistic and exciting.



There are two phases to the Imagine stage: Generating and Selecting Ideas. During the Generating phase of the Imagine stage, your job is to brainstorm a lot of ideas and diverse ideas to solve your user’s problem. Ideas are ugly babies; they change and grow more beautiful as they develop, so it’s important that you don’t throw out ideas in this stage.


Generating Ideas


Here are the simple rules we use when we have a brainstorming session to generate ideas:


  • Don’t hate on ideas. Instead, say “Yes, and…” and build on ideas.
  • Add constraints to your How Might We questions to keep the ideas coming.
  • Sketch if you have to.
  • Only one conversation about one idea at a time.
  • Go beyond obvious solutions.


Selecting Ideas


Your brainstorm should have generated many, diverse ideas to solve your user’s challenge. During the selection phase, it’s time to harvest solutions to grow into prototypes during the Make stage. But how do you know what ideas are worth turning into prototypes? Sometimes it’s easy and most of the team will agree on the 2-3 ideas to turn into prototypes. If so, Great! You have your ideas for the Make stage! Sometimes, though, it’s hard to pick 2-3 ideas.


Here are the simple rules to help your team select possible solutions to build in the Make stage:


  • Use “I” statements such as “I think” “I feel” “I wish” “I wonder” and “What if…” statements when judging ideas.
  • Only one conversation about one idea at a time.
  • Place ideas onto the How? Now. Wow! Matrix
    • Vote: each team member gets three votes to spend on their three favorite ideas on the matrix
    • Compromise: support ideas you can live with.
    • If needed: eliminate, revote, and compromise until you have 2-3 ideas.


Carry 2-3 ideas, preferably one from each How? Now. Wow! Matrix area, forward to the Make stage.



Now that you have a 2-3 ideas about how to solve your user’s problem, it’s time to turn them into prototypes. Your prototype is the physical form of a solution for your user’s challenge. Machines, apps, games, pictures, videos, storyboards, etc. are all forms of prototypes.


Making for the first Time


If this is your first time building a prototype, keep the design and materials simple, make it fast, and keep it cheap because your first prototype will fail. Don’t worry! As long as you learn something from your prototype when you test it, it’s a successful failure. Successful failures are good. 


You will come back and rebuild your prototype using the data and feedback from the Test stage, so your goal is to get out of the Make stage as quickly as possible.


Here are the simple rules to follow when making for the first time:


  • Make only the 2-3 ideas from the Imagine stage.
  • Make even if you’re not sure yet.
  • Scout and Sketch first if you’re making a product.
  • Storyboard first of you are designing a process.


Make after Testing


After testing your prototype in the Test phase, you will most likely return to the Make stage to improve your prototype.


Here are the simple rules for making after testing:


  • If your prototype was a total failure, revisit the right stage of our design process and move forward from there. If you don’t know the right stage, go to the Empathize stage.
  • If your prototype was a successful failure, rebuild your prototype with your new insights.
  • Bring your prototype closer to its final form as simply, quickly, and cheaply as possible, then test it again.



Testing is an opportunity to get feedback on your solution and learn more about your users by engaging them with your prototype. 


Here are the simple rules for testing with users:


  • Use a Test Card to design an experiment to test your prototype.
  • Show, don’t tell
    • Put your prototype in users’ hands. Don’t explain everything (yet). Watch how they use (and misuse!) what you have given them, and how they handle and interact with it.
  • Create Experiences.
    • Don’t explain your prototype. Test your prototypes in a way that feels like an experience that your user is reacting to.
  • Ask users to compare prototypes.
    • Bringing multiple prototypes to test with users gives them a chance to compare them. Comparisons often reveal insights.
  • Have users fill out a Feedback Grid after the experiment.
  • You should fill out a Test Reflection Grid after all testing is complete.



After you finish the design process by solving your user’s problem, it’s time to tell their story. Storytelling isn’t as hard as it might seem. Stories are simply a person, in a place, who has a problem they want to solve. 


Here are the simple rules for storytelling:


  • Make your audience see themselves in your main character. Find shared experiences. 
  • Make your audience root for your main character. Empathy Maps will help you paint your user’s story.
  • Our design process makes a great story guide: use what you’ve learned during the design process to tell your user’s story.
  • Inspire your audience and leave them with a call to action.
  • Storyboard before filming.


How to shoot video


If a picture is worth a thousand words, a video is worth a thousand pictures. Planning ahead, but staying open to possibility, will give you the best chance of making an awesome video. Know what you are trying to do and be aggressive about communicating it in the frame. If it’s not in the frame, it doesn’t exist.


Simple rules for shooting video:

  • Video:
    • Shoot video close up.
    • Be conscious of light sources & shadows on your subject.
    • Follow the rule of thirds and frame off-center.
    • Get more footage than you think you need.
    • Longer takes make it easier to create transitions.
  • Audio:
    • Keep the mic close to the subject.
    • Point the mic away from undesired noise.


How to edit video


Editing can make or break a video: the story is supported or ruined by the way a video is sequenced, paced, & scored.


Simple Rules for editing video:


  • Shorter is better. Simple is best.
  • Make a rough cut of the whole story then go back and edit it again.
  • Avoid unnecessary animated transitions.
  • Transition on words or actions, especially to edit out mistakes.
  • Use voiceover and cut to action for longer scenes (a lot of other good tips here).
  • Music is powerful: use it wisely.
  • White text with a black outline can be read on any background.