Common Good
Jul 14, 2016 · 4 min read

At Common Good we partner with companies to help solve their biggest challenges by designing connected customer experiences across both physical and digital. As a team we take an outside-in, customer focused perspective and apply a human-centred design methodology to work only with partners that are inherently good.

When Hyper Island asked if we’d like to do a studio event with them, we thought it would be great to share our perspective on designing based on values and empathy. Two core principles that are the foundation for clients we work with, and people we design for.

The workshop started with an emoji check-in because who doesn’t love sharing emotions with unicorns, cocktails and baby birds. It was a lot of fun and a great ice-breaker to start the session.

Everyone then got into teams of three ready for a session in active listening. We gave everyone the question what do you value in a relationship? And then 3 minutes for the speaker to talk, the listener to listen and the observer to observe. It’s a really simple but effective exercise in putting yourself in the shoes of a speaker, observer and active listener. Giving everyone the opportunity to experience each role and reflect in a group afterwards on how they felt, what they experienced and importantly, what they learned from each position.

Active listening around values and relationships

To check out how it’s done in detail, it can be found in the HI Toolbox.

After an intense and focussed activity we decided we needed a fruitbowl energiser before the emoji check-out!

We asked the Common Good team to tell us their personal highlights from being involved in the evening’s event. Here’s some things they said:

Rita (Designer)

At Hyper Island and Common Good, people completely get empathy and the importance of values. I know this because I graduated from one and work in the other! My biggest learning from the evening is that I love being around the people I am around, and… if more people knew they can integrate empathy in their daily work-lives they’d reject any other way of working. Also, unicorn emojis!

Fiona (Design Researcher)

Once everyone felt a little bit more relaxed after the check-in and had introduced themselves to the group, the active listening could begin. The question brought up a range of topics. I learned that people are open to telling others their values, personal relationships and experiences to complete strangers. I learned that when someone is showing an openness to listen people feel at ease to talk. It was so nice to see after everyone mingling together with a few more drinks after, and I loved that people really enjoy learning new skills and will hopefully use them in their everyday lives!

Aimee (Service Designer)

My favourite part was getting a group of strangers to check in with emojis! It was a great way to create a sense of presence in the room and to get everyone laughing… two things I think are very important for a group workshop. After the Active Listening exercise and energiser we checked out with them again and it was great to visually see, as well as hear, the value people got and what they were taking with them… My biggest learning: playing is serious business.

Lucy (Research Lead)

A big thanks to everyone who came to our active listening event last week. My biggest learning is about pushing yourself out of your comfort zone. A year ago I didn’t imagine I’d be facilitating events like this with awesome people, but one day I just decided to do one (I may have had a few wines) and I’ve really enjoyed them since! At the start of the session, I could sense a few shy people who didn’t want to speak up but it was great that everyone actively got involved throughout the evening. It made the evening really open and lots of people shared valuable thoughts and learnings to the group.

My second insight (If I’m allowed one) is about collaboration. It was a real team effort from Common Good pulling together the schedule, assets and practicing. It made me feel very proud to be a member of the Common Good team.

My third (I’m pushing it now) is that you can do the fruitbowl energiser with 30 people!! And it’s amazing fun!

All in all we had a great time, made some new friends, shared a valuable tool as well as some important learnings — things we feel are integral in creating common value for everyone.

Common Good Design

A strategic design agency working with organisations across research, prototyping, and capability & culture. Find us over at

Common Good

Written by

We are a strategic design studio. Connect with us @commgoodco

Common Good Design

A strategic design agency working with organisations across research, prototyping, and capability & culture. Find us over at

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