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The Art of AI

The Art of AI: How design thinking and prompt cards can improve AI-powered products and services

These organizations are using design thinking to innovate with AI. Here’s what you can take-away from their experiences.

When Dasha Simons, AI & AI ethics Senior Consultant at IBM, works with clients, she uses design thinking methods to explain and discuss the most important concepts and consequences of AI. She puts herself in the role of the various stakeholders involved: “What does it actually mean for a data scientist when she goes to build a non-discriminatory AI-model? Design can help to make that challenge tangible.” With a prototype, for example. “With that, you can really test ideas and concepts for implementing AI.” 

AI Essentials Framework

According to IBM, AI has four main qualities: understanding, reasoning, learning and interacting. Designers should take into account that systems may possess one or more of these qualities. IBM has captured its years of experience and specific vision for the application of AI in their AI Essentials Framework & Design Foundations. The framework helps organizations to develop future scenarios and address hard questions before building AI-powered applications. 

Visualization of context in an AI design process according to the AI/human context model; IBM.

Creative technologies at DEPT

Nadia Piet just became Head of Creative technology at DEPT. As a designer she applies a research-through-design way of working: exploring creative new possibilities by experimenting with them. In a nutshell, it means that a designer fleshes out ideas and literally shapes those ideas into form (by visualizing, sketching, building or prototyping it out). This way, you create “artifacts to communicate,” Nadia explains. She then invites others – designers, developers, data scientists, clients and users – to reflect on the possibilities of AI (or any other new technology or trend) during creative concepting workshops. 

AIxDesign Ideation Card Deck

Nadia is also a founding member of the AIxDesign-community. Within that community, an AI-concepting card set has been created that serves as both an inspirational and practical guide for designers, managers and innovators to learn about the possibilities of AI. During brainstorms and workshops, these AIxDesign Ideation Cards prompt team members to wonder where and how AI might bring value for their user or customer, within a new product or existing service.

Some cards from the AIxDesign Ideation Card Deck.

I love algorithms – Stanford University

To help others develop a basic understanding of AI, this card set from Stanford University’s will serve you well. The “I Love Algorithms” card game ( allows anyone, technically skilled or not, to create prototypes with machine learning additions, in so-called “low resolution.” The purpose of this is that you spend less time perfecting the look and feel of the user interface and more on meaningful discussions with your team about the use of AI for your solution.

I love algorithms card set from Stanford University’s

Microsoft’s Human Experience Toolkit & Google’s People+AI Guidebook

If you are in need of guidelines and examples, Microsoft has put a nice collection online. In the Human AI eXperience Toolkit (, you will find practically useful material when designing AI-powered products. 

Google’s People+AI Patterns

With the People+AI Guidebook, Google provides a set of guidelines, design patterns, and examples that make key design opportunities for AI products tangible. This online guide is written around common questions during a creative process, such as “How do I explain my AI system to users?” and “How do I help users build and improve trust in my product?

New solution spaces

By using these different card sets and applying design thinking methods when concepting AI-powered solutions, companies might change the way they innovate entirely. According to IBM’s Simons you arrive at completely different ‘solution spaces’ when you take, for example, a fair and explainable system as a starting point. “Then it’s no longer about risk mitigation.” Dasha draws a parallel with sustainable design and production. “Where in the past someone might say at the end of a project, ‘oh yeah, we still have to hit our sustainability numbers,’ now it’s a source for innovations. There are circular companies that would never have been there if they hadn’t made sustainability a starting point.”

If you want to learn more about the practical application of AI in media, design, marketing and communication, make sure to read the forthcoming book The Art of AI. This practical introduction to machine learning (in Dutch), will be available as of May 25th. Written by former Googler Laurens Vreekamp and ML-engineer Marlies van der Wees (DPG Media), the book contains interviews with 14 creative pioneers from the Netherlands and Flanders. It also has AI-forecasts by experts, covers timely examples and provides you with over 70 tools to start your AI-journey. No programming or math skills needed. 

You can order the book at 

1200 881 Laurens Vreekamp

Laurens Vreekamp

Author of the book Art of AI - a practical introduction to machine learning for media professionals.

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