Inspiration tours are explorations inspired by Design Thinking methods of observation and analogous experience. You can use them at the beginning of a Design Thinking project or as a way to get your team inspired. They allow you to experience new places and ideas in a framework that helps spark new ideas and expand your thinking about what is possible.

During the Next Library conference in Berlin, designer and researcher Julka Almquist led an inspiration tour for a group of 25 librarians. It was an exploration of the city that aimed to help participants generate new ideas for the library and see the world with fresh eyes.

The theme we explored was “honoring history while planning for the future.” Berlin is a perfect site to explore ideas of inheritance and innovation. On the tour, we intentionally visited places that were not libraries so that participants could break existing frames of reference and identify new concepts that could be applied to the library.  

The following images are sites we visited on the tour and the themes and questions that guided our thinking.


Prinzessinnengärten: An urban garden that was created in an open space in former East Berlin


Bikini Berlin: A former textile factory converted into a shopping mall


Tempelhofer Feld: A former military airport that has been converted into a massive public park


Floating University: A temporary learning space built in a rainwater basin


These are key words and concepts that framed the tour.

These were questions to help synthesize the information on the tour.