How To Run A Design Thinking Workshop

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are you looking for an innovative way to

solve problems and bring your team

together in this video we're gonna teach

you all about how to give a design

thinking workshop hi I'm Jeff head of

design at career foundry be sure to give

us a like and subscribe to our Channel

now Design Thinking is interesting idea

because it's taking what designers know

and do and letting other people do it

but design is something that we should

all be doing and something we should be

sharing so it's a really interesting

concept and it's super popular it's

gained a lot of traction so many

people's first experience with design is

actually through design thinking but

don't get caught up too much on the

terminology if you're a designer you'll

feel this you'll know this intuitively

if you're not a designer you're

basically just teaching people and intro

to design so everything that you teach

them they're going to be excited about

so you can feel confident knowing that

this workshop will be a fun experience

now of course some of you might have

already run from design thinking

workshops if you have any tips about

running Design Thinking workshops of

your own please leave them down in the

comments we'd love to hear about them a

design thinking workshop has three

pretty huge benefits first of all is

creative problem-solving in action

secondly Design Thinking workshops

facilitate innovation and teamwork the

very creative nature of it is thinking

outside of the box and coming up with

innovative solutions lastly as well as

facilitating innovative solutions it

teaches creative thinking which can be a

hugely strategic advantage for companies

so now that we know the what and why of

running design-thinking workshops let's

look at how you can plan for these

workshops first thing you want to do

when you're preparing for the Design

Thinking workshop is set the objective

now you need to know exactly what you're

running this design thinking workshop

maybe you want to create a new product

or maybe you want to optimize an

existing product and you just want to

make it better imagine you're working

for a company called love foundry an

online dating service

the goal of Design Thinking workshop for

love foundry might be to better

understand the onboarding the initial

experience that users have with the app

so you could focus on that for your

design thinking workshop next you want

to find a space for your workshop and I

can't just be any meeting room it has to

be a place that has really good lighting

comfortable seating and you might want

to even consider some nice music for

your workshop you're trying to get

people into a creative mindset so think

about that when you're looking for a

place for your workshop now for a

crucial part of the planning phase the

agenda the agenda is gonna be a list of

all the things you'll be doing for your

workshop day now golden rule number one

of making an agenda is don't overfill it

you're gonna be surprised you're never

gonna have enough time for anything so

make sure that you give lots of space in

your agenda items and second golden rule

of agendas is make sure that each agenda

item is based on an activity something

action related so they're gonna be doing

during the day now okay you're making

your agenda but what is the time frame

now ideally you get as much time as

possible I've done a Design Thinking

workshop in four hours it was pretty

packed I'd recommend doing an all-day

workshop now that that you would

probably block out nine to five but the

the workshop itself might be more like

ten to four with bricks for lunch and

you know breaks between so just keep in

mind how long your agenda is gonna be

for and we definitely recommend doing an

all-day Design Thinking workshop so now

that you've got your agenda set it's

time to think about the materials you'll

need for the workshop so there's some

digital materials you're going to need

first most simple digital material is a

watch I definitely recommend a watch so

you can time things check what's going

on of course you're going to have your

phone with you which is a good thing

you can use your phone to take

photographs during the workshop if you

have a Bluetooth speaker you can

actually control the music from across

the room

so you can take a photo really quickly

and pause the playlist all in one go and

this is also super helpful and if you're

going to be running the workshop all day

I definitely recommend having some

slides and a slide deck something like

keynote you can have that on your laptop

and that can be projected onto onto the

wall or I can maybe be a TV screen

regardless you're going to be away from

your laptop and the wall and the screen

so you're going to probably want to have

a clicker maybe some sort of USB thing

that plugs into your laptop then you can

control the slides from all the way

across the room you can control them

music you can take photos of lovely

people doing design thinking and you'll

be all set that way with your digital

materials and tools for yourself ready

it's time to think about the materials

you're going to need to provide for the

participants because when you run a

workshop you also bring the supplies

that they're gonna need so things you

recommend would be post-it notes always

post-it notes

markers for the post-it notes it's

better than using a pin in the post-it

notes because if you use a marker on the

post-it notes you can see it from far

away so people in the back of the room

can see what was written on the wall so

that's a nice combination

another nice combination is of course

paper and pins so you're gonna be

sketching and doodling you need to have

lots of paper on hand people can try

something throw it out try it again in

addition you're gonna need some tape so

if you're gonna be drawing things and

putting them on the wall and when they

put this on the wall with the tape

they're also gonna probably want to vote

on things so your needs and those little

dot votes they're gonna be different

colors stickers that are circular you're

gonna use those for different things

like whose idea was the best vote with

your doctor so you can use these

stickers to do things like vote in

addition you might want to consider

having a whiteboard around you never

know when you need to illustrate a

concept or maybe you want to keep track

maybe you want to have something like

points for the day you can use the

whiteboard to keep track of things like

that so now that you have your sort of

material is gonna be working with with

your hands you also need to consider

things to eat so when you're running an

all-day workshop this can be important

to have snacks lying around and I don't

just mean any snacks we're not talking

like donuts

and you know skittles and things like

that what we want is healthy snacks

right you can't afford to have a bunch

of sugar crashing while you're doing

this Design Thinking workshop so take

all the things like the supplies the

snacks and kind of put them throughout

the room arranged neatly but kind of in

different spots that they feel like they

can help themselves to them throughout

the day


now that you have all the physical

things set you've got the space the

agenda supplies the materials and the

snacks it's time to talk about how to

conduct the workshop the first thing you

want to have is an introduction we're

gonna give a nice brief overview of what

you're gonna be doing throughout the day

this will set the expectations for

everyone when you show something like

the introduction it's good to see how

they feel about this and you can kind of

gut check what they thought they'd get

out of the workshop versus what you

thought they'd get out of the workshop

there's a really very crucial important

part of the workshop and don't forget if

you're gonna be filming or taking photos

of the workshop you need to get their

consent upfront so make sure that

they're all okay with having their face

photographed and wherever you'll be

posting it might even be good to

indicate where you're gonna be posting

these photos and what you're doing with

them exactly and if it's sitting you

know maybe a more corporate environment

you might want to even have a written

consent form so that everyone's aware of

the data policy of your workshop so the

first real action of the workshop you

want to do something bold you want to do

something that wakes them up you want to

do something to get the blood pumping

and start getting them to be a bit more


none of this sitting in the chair and

watching you talk at them that's not

what a workshop is that's a TED talk

you're doing a workshop so what you want

to do is do an icebreaker this might

sound a bit cheesy to you you might be

like oh that's what we do in summer camp

when we were kids but this is a really

great way to get everyone up because

actually what people do is sit in little

clusters around their friends an

icebreaker gets them up they start

walking around the room interacting with

people they loosen up they start to have

fun maybe a little smile comes across

their face so icebreaker it's a really

great way to get a workshop going I

recommend you jump into them as quickly

as possible what are some good

icebreakers you can obviously look

online but some of you I've seen worked

really well is just do

rock-paper-scissors games so you say

everyone does rock-paper-scissors with

each other in little pairs now the key

is once you win at rock-paper-scissors

you move on to the next person but once

you lose at rock-paper-scissors

you have to cheer for the person that

just beat you so as people go through

you end up with just two people and

everyone's cheering and everyone's

excited and one's watching it like it's

really interesting fun drama of human

life but really

getting them to get their blood pumping

giving them walking around so something

like this will be a nice way to get

everyone ready for the sort of

collaborative you know positive

encouraging workshop environment that

you want to create so when you're going

through a design thinking workshop you

want to go in the actual phases of a

design thinking process now you don't

want to start at Step five and work

backwards you want to start at step one

and go all the way step five so step one

is empathy this is super important for

designers you want to put yourself kind

of in the shoes of the user who's going

to be using your app or service or

anything like that so this is a good

thing to start with get in the workshop

you got the icebreaker everyone's

excited to work and now they need to get

their mindset into the same as the user

so there's a couple ways we can do this

you don't always have enough room and

your workshop to bring all your users

into that space so you can do some

things to cut approximate the feelings

that the users are having with the app

so let's take our example of love

foundry now how do you get your workshop

participants to feel like single users

who are looking for love using an app

well you know you can start off by

having them interview each other so you

pair them up you know get everyone to

sit down together and you can give them

a set of questions to ask or you can

just let them sort of free flow but have

them say something like you know what

was your last experience with a dating

app how did that feel how could you

improve the experience and ask very

open-ended questions like that none of

this yes/no thing and then the other

person can be responding and that can be

some sort of them approximating a user

so then the person who is doing the

interviewing can also take notes and

when they're taking these notes they can

use a framework that's something we do a

lot in design just a way to categorize

what's being said so that's kind of a

way that you can kind of understand it

so one of the nice frameworks that we

like to use is saying thinking doing and

feeling so it kind of starts at the

visual on the face what are they saying

what's the literal words coming out of

their mouths what are they doing maybe

what's their behaviors where's their

body language like you know

cocking their head to the side these are

all like the doing so saying and doing

is a bit more obvious and then thinking

and feeling is a layer below that's one

way to get into the empathetic mindset

another way would be to give that

empathy map so epic empathy map is kind

of like a poster you can put these on

the wall and then what they do is they

show like a persona like a stick figure

drawing some sort of approximation of

the user and then it's divided up into

different quadrants around it so it's

also four things but they're slightly

different so you have the empathy map in

the wall and the first thing they look

at is what they're seeing

so say okay for our love foundry users

what do they see you know what's what's

in their life what's going on visually

for them the next thing is hearing so

they think about what are the users

hearing as you can tell it's kind of

getting them to role play get them in

the real mindset of the user just by

doing these two things in addition to

that if you talk about what they're

saying and doing that's also a part of

the employee map and then also there's

thinking and feelings so it's got some

of the similarities there but and one

approach you're having someone interview

and either give their real-life

experience or what they think the

experience is like and another one they

have something on the wall and as a

group you kind of fill out what the user

might be going through so those are two

nice ways to get an impotent mindset

right away in your design thinking

workshop so now that you have two

activities for the infancy stage it's

time to move on to the second stage the

second stage is defined so what you're

going to do is something called

reframing and this is a really clever

way to do problem-solving in a creative

way so it's like you kind of make your

mind shift into thinking about something

from multiple perspectives now if you

did the interview approach that I talked

about earlier each person will have kind

of paired up and interviewed another

person so they'll all have notes inside

those notes will be insights so to be

interesting to sort of try and find the

things they learn insight is just

something you learn from some research

or some interview so you take those

insights and you move into something

called a point of view statement so this

is something where it says a user needs

something and it's because of an insight

so what you're going to say for the love

foundry example maybe there was people

writing busy a lot so your insight could


for instance that people are very busy

and that's part of the reason people use

dating apps because it helps them to fit

it into their lives so you know the

busyness of these these people's lives

middle aged urban professionals are

looking for love on their phones because

they have very busy lives there's your

point of view statement now what you

want to do

that's a reframe right so now you're

thinking about what the hell would

happen to interviews a bit differently

now we can do another reframe and to put

it into a how might we statement how

might we is a really nice way to reframe

things from problems into challenges and

they're really great because the way

that the the verbage use is is really


it's how means you haven't jumped the

solution you don't know what's gonna

happen yet so how it's great for that

might its meaning it's a possibility you

know like it's something that could

happen and then we it's very inclusive

so it's saying how am i we together how

might we do something about this

challenge so the how might we statement

for love foundry might be how might we

provide a safe easy dating experience

for urban professionals that are super

busy so you're kind of reframing it

again right how might we is an action by

providing some sort of product or

service and a negative mentions the

target demographic so that's kind of how

the how might we works and the reason

you do a how might we the define stage

is you're gonna want to get everybody on

board maybe you have teens you know

something like that you might want to

get the teams on board for what they're

gonna work on and the define phase is a

good time to bring in some

decision-making so you can have everyone

put their how am i wheeze on the wall

and then you know those dot votes we

talked about those little blue stickers

you can have them put those onto the

ideas all know how might wheeze and that

way they can vote on what they want to

work on so at the define phase it's a

really good time as an activity to have

them you know do one of you statements

have them do how might we stay Mets a

reframe and it's also really nice to

have them vote on what they're gonna

work on of course they could all work on

their own how might we but it's nice to

in a workshop environment to have people

working together so I recommend doing

teams having teams work on one how might

we so from this point on these people

might be working on the same idea

together and how might we is a really

nice way to make sure that you have the

right idea

and it's for the right person and make

sure that's very specific the more

specific the better okay so you have

some activities you can do in the

empathy stage and also the defined stage

but what about the ith stage so stage 3

is ID 8 and this is time to break out

some of those artistic designee type

skills that you kind of figured you're

gonna be doing and Design Thinking

workshop this is thinking visually it's

basically sketching novel solutions to

the challenge you've already decided on

now this phase will be kind of

polarizing for non designers which

you'll definitely be doing this for non

designers so what you want to understand

is that not everybody at their daily job

sketches and doodles that's something

that only US designers get to do on a

daily basis so be aware that a lot of

them are gonna feel a little bit unsure

of their artistic skills so you wanna

make sure that you set a very safe space

so when you talk about the fact that

you're gonna have them sketch anything

they're gonna maybe clam up a bit so you

want to say things like there's no

artistic skills required here it's not

important how it looks it's important

that you're just thinking visually and

that's what you're wanting them to do

you want to get them in the mindset of

someone who's just you know thinking how

can I solve that how am i twee and they

just visually show it it could be a

diagram it could be a stick figure

actually stick figures are really really

nice at this stage so what you want to

do is just have them sketch a few

solutions to this how might we it's

early it's not gonna be perfect it's not

important how it looks or that it

actually solves the problem right you

just want to get something and then the

next thing you can do is have them get

feedback on their sketches and not only

just get feedback but have them explain

their sketches to somebody else and in

this process

they'll be diving deeper into thinking

and this is where some has really

creative problem-solving will come out

just the sheer act of trying to

visualize something can kind of get your

brain working in new ways and also the

the act of presenting something can help

you understand better the idea or trying

to flush out so in the id8 phase you can

do some of these activities so sketching

getting feedback sketching again doing

this over and over until people start to

feel happy with the the ideas they're

starting to generate now for the fun

part we're at the fourth phase now and

the fourth phase is prototype so

depending on how much time you have here

there are a couple different ways you

can prototype so if you

you know something like two hours maybe

bit more you could do something kind of

high fidelity and that could be maybe

you take a quick you know easy tool that

everyone understands like keynote which

is not a design software rights for non

designers and maybe you could you know

prototype quickly some of the sketches

they did earlier into something that's

almost like a nap

you know like jump straight to the full

experience you could do something like

that but since you're working with non

designers you know gauge the room see

what the kind of skill is in the room

there's also a nice tool called prot now

what prot lets you do is you can make

sketches of screens on paper and product

as a mobile app you just take pictures

of each sketch and then you can turn

that into a cook up a prototype that

feels real even though it's you know

just pencil maybe scanned it and using a

photo so like they can basically have

the entire experience of the app using

just this prototyping tool called prop

those are two like maybe activities you

can do for people that have a bit of

design experience or you know ones you

feel confident can work with digital

tools like that if you don't have as

much time you can also do things like

make storyboards storyboards is just

turning something that's a static visual

and to multiple visuals so it kind of

starts the process of things going from

just one image to a video and the way

that we experience you know services

apps products things like that it's more

like a movie than it is a picture so you

want to start to get to that kind of

feeling you want to make their ideas

which they sketched out in the last

phase and the idea phase tape take them

from something static you know simple

into something that's moving something

that's like an experience so at this

point prototype it's all about learning

by doing you want to be doing things

here you're gonna be making things

that's why it's the fun phase for a lot

of people they never had the opportunity

to prototype so it's gonna be really

interesting moment for you to watch

people prototyping it's gonna be like oh

wow I just had something that was a

small sketch on a piece of paper and

something it feels real and that's the

whole point of the prototype phase so

coming back to the love foundry example

what we're trying to do here is help

busy people find love on this app so

it's more of a product right so let's

let's think about storyboarding so

storyboarding can be a really nice way

to prototype this how might we challenge

we're trying to solve so what you could

do is you know the key here is that

they're having a busy busy day so maybe

a storyboard you

kind of map out what that busy day is

and by doing this you're getting into

that sort of experience that you want to

get out when you're prototyping and

you'll be thinking about the user you'll

be thinking about little moments where

you can use love foundry to you know

help them find love throughout their

busy day so this is a perfect idea

perfect activity for you know

prototyping things in the Design

Thinking workshop so this is a fun one

it's pretty visual doesn't require a lot

of artistic skills though because it can

literally just be stick figures and do

about something like 10 to 20 different

steps and you can prototype those things

out like that oh yeah and don't forget

you can also just have them act it out a

lot of people don't feel comfortable

making things like storyboards or

sketches or you know apps and things

like that if there may be you know not

the the visually or you know

technologically inclined you can just

have them act it out because you know

what better way to experience the

service then when it's acted out right

in front of you now for the final phase

the test phase now this face is gonna

feel kind of familiar because it's kind

of all about getting feedback but here

it's a bit different because now the

solution is gonna be pretty fully

fleshed out you know if you've done

something like a storyboard or maybe

prototype the you know sort of an app

experience it's gonna be ready to show

that this part is all about getting

someone new to test this thing for the

first time so if you had groups before

you want to get someone from a different

group testing so you've got your idea

it's ready maybe it's a service that's

acted out maybe it's a product it's

storyboard and out so you have that that

that's that kind of experience ready you

want to bring someone in to experience

it for the first time so what's great

about that is this person has never

experienced that before so they're gonna

be able to give you really good kind of

first-hand how it feels kind of feedback

and and that's gonna be a really great

time to capture all that feedback so

that you can improve what's happening a

really nice way to think about capturing

that feedback is to take notes again

structure it into four different things

so you want to take notes about what was

working so that's always important you

want to affirm what was happening want

to make sure the team knows that the

thing that they did is working well

also what's not working so maybe the

person who's testing this out says and

this parts not working for me

also maybe I didn't understand that so

she's not working

for me to get those two things figured

out so the positive the negative right

what's working what's not working also

if they have questions the questions

they ask be very insightful so you also

want to capture all the questions they

have if they're confused about something

and then ask a question it's probably a

good chance that that team didn't quite

you know sort out that's to that part of

the experience also this is also really

a important point is to capture the

ideas so when someone tests something

for the first time they're gonna have

really good ideas on how to improve it

immediately it just sort of flows out

they're like oh you could try this thing

here like really good thing to do is

capture that immediately because that's

gonna be not just feedback but ways to

turn that feedback into actually things

that can improve so between those four

things what's working what's not working

questions and ideas you can get a pretty

good understanding of the experience

that you're a prototype before so that's

what the test will give you really solid

actionable feedback that you can turn

into making whatever you've done better

now that would be the end of the five

phases of a Design Thinking workshop in

real life Design Thinking itself is

cyclical so you might go you know one

two three four five and then bounce back

two three and then four and five but in

a workshop it's gonna be very structured

you're gonna go one two three four five

right that would be the end of the

workshop so you know what do you do

after that basically what you've created

is a fully fleshed tested idea that can

be built so after the workshop you know

the next day at work

you could just start working on that

product so you're gonna have something

that's you know very sketchy but has

some feedback and it's fleshed out so

that's kind of the whole point of Design

Thinking workshop so I've just walked

you step by step through an entire

Design Thinking workshop but Design

Thinking itself was created in the 90s

I'm curious do you think that Design

Thinking workshops are still relevant

we'd love it if you let us know in the

comments what do you think this kind of

workshop is still something you would do

to learn more about running Design

Thinking workshops head on over to our

blog you can find a link in the

description below thanks for watching

see you next time