Both a design tool and a way of thinking, the Maker's Periodic Table is an inventory of standardized, inexpensive, and commonly found objects that can be used to physically prototype ideas wherever you are. The more we rely on digital tools to render information and share ideas, the more we loose the ability to think out loud, sketch with materials, and build quick and dirty versions of our ideas. While high-resolution prototypes dissuade us from questioning fundamental design choices, this low-tech play with everyday objects promotes an inclusive and open-minded design dialogue with a bias towards action.
The brainstorming tool prompts users to choose two different materials in the table at random, launching into a design sprint to prototype the idea with only those materials. After discovering basic, modular patterns of how these objects fit together, users utilize these elemental design patterns to prototype a design solution. The goal of the exercise is to eliminate pre-supposed design constraints and add new arbitrary design constraints to inspire idea mashups and novel design solutions.