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Find Themes

As you share your learnings, hidden patterns are likely to emerge. Here’s how to spot and make sense of them.


Suggested Time

60-90 Minutes

Level of Difficulty


Materials Needed

Your Post-its and boards from previous Ideation sessions


Design team

Process Phase

Once you’ve had a chance to Download Your Learnings and Share Inspiring Stories, you’re ready to Find Themes. Take a good long look across your interviews, Analogous Inspiration, and other learnings. Have any patterns emerged? Is there a compelling insight you heard again and again? A consistent problem the people you’re designing for face? What feels significant? What surprised you? These themes are bound to change, but as you move through the Ideation phase, continue looking for Themes and sorting out what they mean.


  1. Gather your team around the Post-its. Move the most compelling, common, and inspiring quotes, stories, or ideas to a new board and sort them into categories.
  2. Look for patterns and relationships between your categories and move the Post-its around as you continue grouping. The goal is to identify key Themes and then to translate them into opportunities for design.
  3. Arrange and rearrange the Post-its, discuss, debate, and talk through what’s emerging. Don’t stop until everyone is satisfied that the clusters represent rich opportunities for design.
  4. Identifying these Themes will help you Create Frameworks and write Design Principles.