Build Your Own is a method that helps people express their “what ifs” by putting tools for creativity and communication literally in their hands. It equips them with a kit of tangible symbolic elements that makes it quick and easy to create a physical representation of an idea. What you end up with are illuminating artifacts that provide a reference for what they desire or expect of your team’s ultimate solution.
A well-planned, easy to use kit of parts makes it possible for people to build what they imagine. The components you provide need to be simple and relatively nondescript, but should be appropriate to the type of solution you desire. For instance, a toolkit comprised of building blocks and figurines could work for urban residents invited to imagine their ideal use of public spaces. However, a toolkit consisting of pre-drawn user-interface elements and a sheet of paper would work better for IT professionals imagining their ideal network monitoring interface.