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I am Darshini Shah - UX Researcher and Design Strategist. 

After browsing through my projects and skills, do check out my blog which is my personal process notebook about the projects listed on this website.

Design Thinking Toolkit

Design Thinking Toolkit

Project brief - My team and I were introduced to the Darwinian theory of Blind Variation and Selective Retention. With our newly developed interest in the Complex Adaptive Systems, we decided to educate everyone about the concept. The best way to understand a complex theory is by doing it! So we decided to make a toolkit and prototyped it with our target audience while designing it - to reach a design solution following the theory of Complex adaptive systems. With this process, we understood the value and outcome of co-creation as there were constant reflections of our actions which were continuously iterated.

My role - User Research, User Testing, Visual Design, Co-ordinate with participants, Conceptualization and Iteration.

Blind Variation and Selective Retention 

Campbell's (1960) blind variation and selective-retention model of creativity maintains that quality is a probabilistic consequence of quantity. The more ideas are produced by an individual creator, the higher are the odds that some of these ideas will survive and influence posterity. A less prolific creator has a lower chance of leaving intellectual progeny that will endure the selective process. The mechanism of cultural evolution is therefore analogous to that of biological evolution.

Objective - We wanted the target audience to understand the process of design thinking and creativity through the theory of blind variation-selective retention. Here is a poster describing the theory as a Complex Adaptive System and our outcome - TB(D) A Game of Complexity.



TB(D) A Game of Complexity

This tool is an exercise to help designers understand Complex Adaptive Systems and their diverse elements while providing them with an environment focused on ideation, processes and the making of offerings meant to detach from the ordinary.

This will further help us to understand, influence and turn the flow of organizations or institutions by reframing business, organizational and wicked problems from a perspective of complexity.

Darshini Shah A game of complexity

Follow the path to interact with the 10 elements of Complex Adaptive System which play a major role in Blind Variation - Selective Retention theory. The 10 elements of CAS that have been used for this toolkit as tools to reach a design solution are - Agent, Artifact, Strategy, Interaction, Variation, Selection, Population, Types of agents, Adaptation and Success Criterion.


User Testing

We recorded three types of data sets - Instrumental, Imancipatory and Practical. 

Instrumental data -  This was the record of quantitative data. There were different types of instrumental data recorded during the process, some of them being -how long the game took to play, amount of time the audience took to understand it, number of times the prototype was iterated, number of usability testings, and number of people it was tested with.


Emancipatory -  To understand and research on the innovative potential of the prototype. There were instances when the audience would give feedback based on a product they had seen before. It was up to the designers to overcome pre-conceived notions and provide an innovative solution.

Practical -  The data that is possible to put in effect. This was done to keep track of realistic expectations set by the audience. We recognised our achievable goals considering the amount of time we had to deliver our final product. With practical data, we could harness the potential of this game in a realistic framework.


We prototyped with diverse groups, and hence, choosing participants for the same was a challenging task as we did not want to manipulate results, yet stretch the potential of this game by diversifying out user group as much as we could.


Prototypes and Iterations

We underwent major iterations. Most of them were concerning the design of the board, which became a challenge. The board could be either used as an accessory or could be a functional part of the game. We did not want any element to be an accessory, so designing a board that would accomodate the need to explore various options and yet fit all of them on the given surface was a task, we needed to resolve.


Final Prototype 

To solve the major roadblock concerning the board, we divided it into the three main stages that the game could be played in. Every stage is stacked on the previous one. The chosen ideas stay in the centre of the board, which were kept hollow to keep a track of the progression of the design ideation process. These boards were capable of accomodating various ideas and made it easier to filter the chosen ideas by covering the rest when you go to the next stage.


TB(D) A Game of Complexity - The Final Product


The Manual

Here is a demo of our manual that will help players facilitate the workshop without our presence. If you want to know more about the toolkit, you can request our manual here. So far, we have listed four methods to cater to a wide audience. However, if we facilitate the game in-person, then we customize our strategy to get the most valuable results.



We are continuously evolving and iterating our toolkit as we get invited to facilitate TB(D) A Game of Complexity within design professionals and students of the design fraternity. We take pride in the outcomes all these groups come up with, as it means - our design toolkit is doing it's job well! 

We are always looking for facilitation opportunities so if our toolkit interests you, Get in touch! We will hop in to stimulate your design ideation process and help your arrive at out-of-the-box solutions!


Food Transparency App

Food Transparency App

Indoor Wayfinding in Airports for Visually Impaired

Indoor Wayfinding in Airports for Visually Impaired