An experience in adaptive workshop

The setting: three heads, three workshops, three languages

Together with Natura and Maker Brands, we experimented with a process of adaptive workshop, design and quick iteration of workshops on user understanding and the extrapolation of cultural trends.

Our daily bread here at Cirklo consists of creating-testing-learning and validating hypotheses continuously through small experiments, with human material subject to the changes we want to achieve.

What was particularly challenging in this run was the complexity exerted by the number of decision makers involved in its design (Natura — the boss, in other words, the client; Maker Brands — the main advisor, and Cirklo — the local expert), and the limited amount of time (3 workshops in 5 days), as well as the need to incorporate the findings into the process as they were generated. These restrictions ended up being an advantage.

Walking through a funnel

1. along with experts, we explored how the concepts of beauty, nature and sustainability are evolving in Mexico, and how this will be reflected in future behaviors;

2. we validated these trends with edgy users, proving that theoretical intuitions are reflected in behavioral patterns that lie in the more audacious users;

3. we did a second validation with more traditional users, noticing how, in their case, behaviors geared toward the trends detected at a more embryonic, spurious stage; these would have gone unnoticed without the previously constructed framework.

The session with the experts helped us to create a common language and lay the guidelines of the research.

This guided the swift redesign session of the second workshop, where — once we clarified the kind of information we wanted to gather — we identified where the behavior lay and explored how to access this place smoothly.

Similarly, the findings from the workshop done with edgy users helped shape the third workshop with traditional users, and establish a framework to quickly identify convergent and divergent behaviours regarding trends and observed patterns.

Debriefing right off the bat

The debrief method we used in the synthesis sessions was very swift and effective, allowing us to quickly redesign the following workshops. In condensed sessions of up to two hours, carried out right after the workshop and despite the exhaustion, each one — from Cirklo, Maker Brands and Natura — layed out the 10 most relevant observations they’d gotten from it right off the bat. One by one we presented, commented and clustered them, eliminating duplicates.

We selected the most compelling and revealing observations and transformed them into hypotheses to test the workshops, disguised as activities. Upon completing the workshops, we turned our findings into a series of actions for Natura.

This exercise allowed us to quickly and collaboratively design and iterate alongside different stakeholders: three heads, three workshops, and many women speaking in 3 different languages to create a great result.

We learned these valuable lessons:
  • a practical method to quickly synthesise information.
  • the client’s involvement in the whole process, which led to an organic understanding of the findings, rather than limiting, it was valuable information for the company beyond the scope of the project.
  • the “funnel” process framing the trend with experts and later confirming them with edgy and traditional users.

If you’re interested in getting to know your users, the world they inhabit and the motivations that drive their decisions, do not hesitate to contact Cirklo. We love setting up workshops, experiences and designing collaborative processes.

  • Thanks to Juan Carlos Boo for the photographs.
  • *Thanks to Mariana Quiroga and Miguel Melgarejo.

Originally published at medium.com on March 8, 2017.

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