#2 Designing the Design Thinking Workshop Experience

The three best things you can do….

A. Decide what design challenge is best for your audience. If the goal is to teach the design thinking skills, you might start with one of the Stanford d-school “wallet” or “gift giving” 90-minute programs (instructions and materials here). Or modify it to use your own topic — just be sure to pick a topic that everyone in the audience can relate to.

With LIME design, we ran a 90-minute paired-team exercise on “designing the morning routine.” I later ran the same topic at a girls boarding school in Rwanda. Everyone has a morning routine!

B. For a full-day or longer design thinking workshop you’ll want the participants to do empathy work with real users. Depending on the workshop goals, you may need to create your own design challenge. The best one we ever did at Citrix was “Designing the 21st century emerging artists experience.” We invited artists — dancers, film directors, painters, musicians, improv artists — to be our subjects. Our participants watched the artists do brief performances of their crafts, and then dug in with empathy interviews. (The brilliant Maureen Carroll designed this! She keeps a list of topic ideas for workshops. Maybe if you are nice she will share some.)

Bringing artists into the corporate environment brought together two cultures that rarely intersect. Not only did the employees enjoy the creativity, but the artists enjoyed jumping into the DT workshop too! We ended up letting them join different teams and provide a creative spark.

C. To build a more custom experience, attend a workshop with Thiagi on Interactive Techniques for Instructor-Led Training. It’s not really about “instructor” led training…it’s how to engage the audience in activities so they learn-by-doing. Games, simulations, competitions, jolts…ideas for ways to create your own experiential learning. Plus it’s the most fun you’ll EVER have in a training course! I promise.

William Hall, Thiagi, Rich Cox
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