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Designing Design Workshops

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Hands on collaboration has become a dominant approach to designing new solutions whether they be for products, services, environments, etc. But bringing people who have different perspectives of a topic, ways of expressing themselves, and levels of comfort in working together can be tricky. Taking the time to think through why, how, and when to best bring people together and intentionally design your design workshops helps to ensure that at the end of your event you walk away with the information and answers you need.

Hands on collaboration has become a dominant approach to designing new solutions whether they be for products, services, environments, etc. But bringing people who have different perspectives of a topic, ways of expressing themselves, and levels of comfort in working together can be tricky. Taking the time to think through why, how, and when to best bring people together and intentionally design your design workshops helps to ensure that at the end of your event you walk away with the information and answers you need.

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Designing Design Workshops

  1. 1. PREPARED BY Designing Design Workshops Adam Connor, VP Organizational Design & Training – Mad*Pow Jan. 25, 2016
  2. 2. OVERVIEW 4
  3. 3. Designing Design Workshops Workshops and collaborative activities provide teams with the potential to generate more and better ideas for a solution, allow individual team members to share their points-of-view, and build consensus around design solutions. However, effective workshops take more thought than just putting people together in a room. In this workshop participants will: • Explore and practice a variety of workshop activities • Learn when to use which types of activities • Review best practices for planning workshops • And learn how to facilitate activities and discussions including advice for dealing with difficult participants. OVERVIEW 5
  4. 4. OVERVIEW 6 Who We Are Mad*Pow is a design agency that improves the experiences people have with technology, organizations and each other. Experience Design | Design Strategy | Motivational Design | Organizational Design Adam Connor VP Organizational Design & Training, Experience Designer
  5. 5. THE WHYS & WHENS OF WORKSHOPS 10
  6. 6. Studios, Sprints, Workshops, Whatever… Workshops are meetings comprised of 1 or more activities in which ALL* participants: • Are presented with 1 or more questions or challenges • Explore and provide their answers or ideas for solutions to the given challenge through hands-on activities • Work together to (begin to) understand and organize their perspectives/answers/ideas. *With the exception of the master facilitator THE WHYS & WHENS OF WORKSHOPS 11
  7. 7. Workshops can be used to… • Generate and collect a variety of ideas • Allow all team members to share their perspectives. • Build awareness across team members of challenges, perspectives from each other and the desired solution • Build a shared vocabulary • Find consensus around elements of the final solution • Build a sense of collaboration and of ownership in the solution • And… THE WHYS & WHENS OF WORKSHOPS 12
  8. 8. Avoiding the all to familiar, and horribly painful… Swoop-n-poop! THE WHYS & WHENS OF WORKSHOPS 13
  9. 9. Reconsider workshops when… • Key members of the “team” aren’t willing to participate • The team (or leadership) is unwilling to move away from an existing solution. • There aren’t clear objectives or outputs for the workshop THE WHYS & WHENS OF WORKSHOPS 14
  10. 10. The contents (activities and topics) of a workshop are always determined by the objectives or output that the workshop needs to achieve. Understanding where you are in the overall process of your project can help clarify what your objectives or output should focus on. THE WHYS & WHENS OF WORKSHOPS 15
  11. 11. THE WHYS & WHENS OF WORKSHOPS 16 The Design Thinking Process
  12. 12. THE WHYS & WHENS OF WORKSHOPS 17 DISCOVER SYNTHESIZE GENERATE REFINE Initial Insight Plan Release EVALUATE Discover Explore the influences, actors, contexts, triggers, constraints, etc. of a problem or opportunity set. The Design Thinking Process
  13. 13. THE WHYS & WHENS OF WORKSHOPS 18 DISCOVER SYNTHESIZE Initial Insight Plan Synthesize Organize findings into insights: what the group believes and understands about the problem space and articulating the objectives for the future state that the project will work to create. The Design Thinking Process
  14. 14. THE WHYS & WHENS OF WORKSHOPS 19 DISCOVER SYNTHESIZE GENERATE Initial Insight Plan Generate Generate a large number of ideas for “solutions” (products, services, etc.) for achieving the desired objectives. The Design Thinking Process
  15. 15. THE WHYS & WHENS OF WORKSHOPS 20 DISCOVER SYNTHESIZE GENERATE REFINE Initial Insight Plan Release Refine Iterate, combine, and eliminate solutions based on analysis and appropriate variables while increasing fidelity until one (or a small number) of solutions are determined. The Design Thinking Process
  16. 16. THE WHYS & WHENS OF WORKSHOPS 21 DISCOVER SYNTHESIZE GENERATE REFINE Initial Insight Plan Release EVALUATE Evaluate Deploy the solution(s) in some form and monitor it’s effect on the problem space. The Design Thinking Process
  17. 17. THE WHYS & WHENS OF WORKSHOPS 22 DISCOVER SYNTHESIZE GENERATE REFINE Initial Insight Plan Release EVALUATE The Design Thinking Process
  18. 18. MAKING IT WORK STRUCTURE & PLANNING 23
  19. 19. 24 Bringing people together to work collaboratively can be so challenging sometimes?
  20. 20. The Diamond Model STRUCTURE & PLANNING 25
  21. 21. The Diamond Model STRUCTURE & PLANNING 26 Divergent Working to collect as many answers, ideas, etc. as possible from the group.
  22. 22. The Diamond Model STRUCTURE & PLANNING 27 Convergent Making decisions to focus attention on a subset of what has been collected.
  23. 23. The Diamond Model STRUCTURE & PLANNING 28
  24. 24. The Diamond Model STRUCTURE & PLANNING 29 Emergent Analyzing and organizing ideas/answers/etc. in order to make sense of them. During this time, some new ideas might arise, or be consolidated together.
  25. 25. You keep using that word… I do not think it means what you think it means.
  26. 26. Getting where you need to go.
  27. 27. Planning Backwards • Identify the immediate next action you need to be able to take once the workshop is complete. • Ask yourself what information, decisions, artifacts, or answers you need in order to be able to take that action. • Ask yourself the same question again and repeat until you reach whatever information you currently have. • You now have an information trail from your current state to your desired future state. Select the best activities to acquire this information and decide what can be accomplished in your workshop or as pre or post work. STRUCTURE & PLANNING 32
  28. 28. Time is a resource. Plan accordingly.
  29. 29. All About Agendas • You’ll need one. It helps you figure out what you can get done in the time you have. • Don’t save it for last. (It’s usually the second… and fourth... and sixth thing I do) • Give everything specific timings, not general blocks like “early morning”. • If things feel tight when putting together an agenda, they’ll probably seem worse in the actual workshop. • Pad everything. Things almost always take longer than you think they will. Plus you’ll need time for transitions, instructions, clarifications, etc. • Remember that the time needed for many activities will be depended on the number of participants. • Have others look it over and give you their OK, especially if leadership is involved. STRUCTURE & PLANNING 34
  30. 30. DISCOVER 37
  31. 31. DISCOVER 38 DISCOVER SYNTHESIZE GENERATE REFINE Initial Insight Plan Release EVALUATE Discover Explore the influences, actors, contexts, triggers, constraints, etc. of a problem or opportunity set. The Design Thinking Process
  32. 32. For many projects, much of the gathering of information will be done via research. However, gathering perspectives from participants (such as stakeholders) will still be important. For example: • Understanding various perspectives of the challenges to be solved. • Understanding the roles associated with a project’s execution. • Understanding initial objectives (i.e. goals and principles). DISCOVER 39
  33. 33. Challenge Map DISCOVER 40 USE TO Reframe a problem space by exploring perspectives on why it should be done and challenges to it’s success. PARTICIPANTS Work in pairs or triplets. TIME Minimum of 25 minutes. More depending on the scope & number of participants. HOW TO DO IT 1. Divide into small groups (2-3 people per group). Each team will then: 2. Write the current problem statement in the form of “How might we…” on a post-it and place it in the center whiteboard (or butcher paper) 3. Using a different color post it, ask the question, “Why should we do this?” Capturing each answer on an individual post it and placing them in a row above the original statement. Preface each answer again with “How might we…” or (HMW…) for short. 4. For each answer, repeat step 3, continuing to expand outward and upward until the team feels the answers it’s uncovering are no longer useful. 5. Select a third color post it and begin working below the original problem statement. Here you will challenge the problem statement with “What is preventing us from doing this?” or “What is preventing this from happening today?” Again, include the HWM... preface. 6. Continue, moving downward in the same fasion as you did for the question of “Why” in steps 3 & 4. 7. Examine all of the answers and determine if one or more would might make more apporpriate problem statements. 8. Have each group share their results looking for patterns and overlap.
  34. 34. Challenge Map DISCOVER 41 TIPS & CONSIDERATIONS 1. Left unchecked, this activity can go on forever. Master and group facilitators should look for diminishing returns to determine when best to end. MATERIALS Whiteboard (or butcher/flipchart paper) Post Its (3 colors) Markers PAIRS WELL WITH Follow up with activities to evaluate the potential new problem statements. Activities like SWOT Analysis, 20/20 Vision, and voting-based exercises can work well.
  35. 35. Free Listing DISCOVER 45 USE TO Gather data about a group’s understanding of the “contents” of a specific topic. PARTICIPANTS 2 or more people working individually TIME 5-10 minutes for initial collection. Time needed for presenting and organizing items will be variable. HOW TO DO IT 1. Provide participants with a topic related to the purpose of the project or workshop. For example, “auto insurance” 2. Ask participants to individually write down as many things as they can related to auto insurance. 3. Depending on how you plan to analyze and organize participants answers you may want them to write each item on a separate note card or post it, or write all answers on a sheet of paper.
  36. 36. Free Listing DISCOVER 46 MATERIALS Post Its, note cards, or paper Markers Tape PAIRS WELL WITH Often followed up with affinity mapping activities. TIPS & CONSIDERATIONS 1. Depending on how you plan to analyze and organize participants answers you may want them to write each item on a separate note card or post it (for use when affinity mapping), or write all answers on a sheet of paper. 2. When following with affinity mapping, have participants present their responses to each other. Posting each item on the wall as they present. WHY WE USE IT By gathering the items that people come up with we can then compare similarities and frequencies of topics to understand more about the perspective of the group as a whole.
  37. 37. 4Cs DISCOVER 47 USE TO Build an understanding of a group’s perspectives on a specific topic. PARTICIPANTS 4 - 24 people TIME 25 – 30 minutes HOW TO DO IT 1. Draw a large 2x2 grid on an easel pad or whiteboard. Label the 4 spaces: Components, Characteristics, Challenges, Characters 2. Provide participants with a topic related to the purpose of the project or workshop. For example, “auto insurance” 3. Explain to participants that the activity’s purpose is to help them explore what they know about the selected topic by having them gather information with respect to each of the 4 spaces: • Components: parts of the topic. • Characteristics, attributes of the topic • Challenges: obstacles associated with the topic • Characters: people or roles associated with the topic. 4. Break participants into four equally sized teams. Assign each team one of the “C”s and provide them with post it notes and markers. 5. Instruct the teams that their job is to collect as much information about their assigned “C” from others in the room. Give the teams 5 minutes to discuss their assigned “C” and how they will gather information.
  38. 38. 4Cs DISCOVER 48 USE TO Build an understanding of a group’s perspectives on a specific topic. PARTICIPANTS 4 - 24 people TIME 25 – 30 minutes HOW TO DO IT 6. Once the 5 minute planning period has elapsed, give the teams 10minutes to gather information from as many of the other participants as possible. 7. At the end of the 10 minute gathering period, give each team 5 minutes to organize what they’ve captured in whatever way they deem appropriate and then add their organized findings to their space on the original 2x2 grid. 8. Have each team present their findings to the others and facilitate discussion to ask clarifying questions and have other participants add information if they sense something missing.
  39. 39. 4Cs DISCOVER 49 MATERIALS Post Its Markers Easel Pad or Whiteboard PAIRS WELL WITH Often followed by further explorations into problem framing (challenge maps), principles or goals (free listing), personas (proto-personas) etc. TIPS & CONSIDERATIONS 1. You don’t need to use the 4Cs as laid out here. If there are other elements of the topic more appropriate for your situation, use those instead. WHY WE USE IT Team members come to projects with their own perspectives which is important, but one aspect of good collaboration is seeing the perspectives of others. This activity forces participants to gather information from other members of the team. It also acts as a strong introduction to the group’s perspectives setting the stage for discussions on personas, principles, scenarios, etc.
  40. 40. SYNTHESIZE 50
  41. 41. SYNTHESIZE 51 DISCOVER SYNTHESIZE GENERATE REFINE Initial Insight Plan Release EVALUATE Synthesize Organize findings into insights: what the group believes and understands about the problem space and articulating the objectives for the future state that the project will work to create. The Design Thinking Process
  42. 42. During “Synthesize” the team builds a shared understanding of both the current state surrounding the problem space as well as their objectives and vision for it’s future. Work done during this phase often focuses on these aspects: • The framing of the “problem” or “opportunity” • Establishing Personas • Identifying Goals (OKRs) • Articulating Principles • Constructing Scenarios SYNTHESIZE 52
  43. 43. Proto-Personas SYNTHESIZE 53 USE TO Develop an understanding of the team’s perspectives on the needs, constraints, and contexts of their audience/users. PARTICIPANTS Up to 10 people TIME 3-5 hours, typically divided over 2 sessions. Additional time in between sessions needed for consolidation. HOW TO DO IT 1. Introduce the concept of personas and proto-personas (as necessary). 2. Provide participants with proto-persona templates, or have them construct their own (paper divided into quadrants labeled: Name & Sketch, Demographics, Behaviors, Needs & Goals. 3. Working individually, give participants 15 minutes to come up with as many personas as they can think of for the project. 4. Once time is up, have each participant present their personas to the group, posting them to the wall as they do. 5. Work with the team to select 4-5 characteristics that can be conveyed as a spectrum (ex: risk aversion) based on the pool of personas. These characteristics will be used to help organize the personas and identify opportunities to consolidate. Try to select characteristics related to behaviors/needs/goals rather than demographics. 6. Draw the spectrums on a whiteboard. Have the group decide where the each persona falls on each spectrum, placing a post it with that persona’s name at that point. Voting cards can be useful here. 7. Make sure that conversations focus on the users themselves. Participants should be debating each other, not trying to convince you (the facilitator).
  44. 44. Proto-Personas SYNTHESIZE 54 USE TO Develop an understanding of the team’s perspectives on the needs, constraints, and contexts of their audience/users. PARTICIPANTS Up to 10 people TIME 3-5 hours, typically divided over 2 sessions. Additional time in between sessions needed for consolidation. HOW TO DO IT 8. Once all personas have been placed, end the first day/session with a quick description of the next session’s work. 9. Before the next session, examine the personas that have been generated and work to refine/consolidate them into a smaller set (3-5ish) as necessary. Keep track of your work as in some cases you’ll need to explain your rationale to the group. • For this step, combine the demographics and name/sketch quadrants from the first round and use the lower left quadrant for the personas positioning on the characteristic spectrums. 10.When the group gathers again, present them with the new set of personas and how you arrived at them. 11.Allow the group to adjust the new personas as necessary to reach agreement.
  45. 45. Proto-Personas SYNTHESIZE 55 TIPS & CONSIDERATIONS 1. Large groups can make this activity somewhat difficult. When dealing with significantly large groups it can be useful to break out into multiple sessions and run the just the first session with each sub group, then the second session with a core, decision making group. 2. If the entire group is sufficiently small enough, you may be able to do the persona consolidation together. 3. When dividing over 2 sessions, do not allow too much time to elapse between sessions. Too much time in between kills momentum. WHY WE USE IT Personas are a useful tool for understanding user/customer archetypes. But projects don’t always allow for them or sometimes we need to talk about users before they’ve been created. This approach allows organizations to build upon and later validate or invalidate their understanding of their audience earlier in the process. MATERIALS Whiteboard (or butcher/flipchart paper) Post Its (3 colors) Markers PAIRS WELL WITH Follow up with additional exploration like empathy mapping and/or journey mapping. Or possibly with brainstorming activities like Design Studio or 6-8-5.
  46. 46. Empathy Mapping SYNTHESIZE 60 USE TO Help participants empathize with specific audiences in a given situation. PARTICIPANTS Teams of up to 6 people. TIME 20-25 minutes HOW TO DO IT 1. Prior to this activity, make sure that the team has developed proto-personas or is familiar with any personas developed for the project key use cases have been identified. 2. Assign a persona and use case to each group. You can select the same or different combinations for each group depending on your needs. 3. Provide each team with an empathy map template or have them construct on easel pad paper (see image). 4. Give each team 20-25 minutes to capture what their persona is sensing (seeing/hearing/etc.), thinking, feeling, and doing when they encounter the assigned use case. Each item captured should be written on a post it and placed in the appropriate section of the template.
  47. 47. Empathy Mapping SYNTHESIZE 61 MATERIALS Whiteboard (or butcher/flipchart paper) Post Its (3 colors) Markers PAIRS WELL WITH Follow up with current state-journey mapping. TIPS & CONSIDERATIONS 1. Depending on the number of personas and use cases/scenarios that you need to cover, distributing different combinations across the teams in your workshop can be a good way to cover more ground. WHY WE USE IT Designing for experiences requires teams to think about how people think, feel and perceive specific situations. By thinking through how a situation affects an individual, teams can better understand their behavior as they work through it towards their goal.
  48. 48. Design the Magazine Cover SYNTHESIZE 64 USE TO Envision key characteristics, features, and outcomes of the future product or service the project will create. PARTICIPANTS Teams of up to 6 people. TIME 30-40 minutes HOW TO DO IT 1. Provide each team with one or more sheets of easel pad paper. 2. Instruct each team to imagine that a magazine is running a special issue all about their future product/service/organization. The sheet of paper represents the cover of the issue. Their job is to determine the contents of that cover in 20 minutes. Their contents should include the following: • Feature Story: The big thing people will be talking about related to the product/service/organization • Key Headlines: Other stories that reinforce or explore other angles to the feature story. • Quotes: things people, often customers, but can be anyone, will say about the future creation. • Ideas for images: images reflective on the new future state the creation will bring about. • Sidebars: Smaller stories that reveal interesting facets of the feature story. (often personal experiences) 3. As the facilitator, remind teams as they work that this is a magazine cover. Imagine it sitting on the rack, trying to grab people’s attention.
  49. 49. Design the Magazine Cover SYNTHESIZE 65 USE TO Envision key characteristics, features, and outcomes of the future product or service the project will create. PARTICIPANTS Teams of up to 6 people. TIME 30-40 minutes HOW TO DO IT 4. Have each team present their magazine covers and describe why they made the selections they did. 5. As a group identify and capture any significant similarities and differences between the different team’s magazine covers. And discuss whether these similarities or differences are indicative of characteristics (principles) of the future creation, use cases/features, personas, or other elements.
  50. 50. Design the Magazine Cover SYNTHESIZE 66 MATERIALS Easel Pads Markers (various colors) PAIRS WELL WITH Future-state journey or scenario mapping as well as activities to explore/refine principles. TIPS & CONSIDERATIONS 1. A blank page can be intimidating. It can be useful to prepare templates ahead of time for the teams. 2. Give the teams additional paper to brainstorm and capture ideas before putting together their final cover. WHY WE USE IT This activity pushes teams to think from an outside-in perspective about how the world will perceive what they create, what will be the most valuable aspects of their creation and how might that value be seen/experienced. This activity can be used to begin to surface key principles or features/use cases or further explore principles and use cases that have already been noted by the group.
  51. 51. Other Common Activities for Synthesis Journey Mapping (Current & Future State) Mapping the flow of an end to end user journey across channels and touch points to identify opportunities and challenges (current state) or objectives (future state) Scenario Mapping Mapping the ideal (future) sequence of thoughts, emotions, and interactions a user will have with a product or service for a specific use case. Goal & Principle Setting Identifying goals and principles for the product/service/organization. Often through a combination of research, free-listing, affinity mapping and prioritization/voting. Affinity Mapping (KJ Technique) Identifying common perspectives within a group for a given topic by arranging answers in proximity to one another based on how similar they are. SYNTHESIZE 67
  52. 52. MAKING IT WORK TEAMS, ROLES, & FACILITATION 70
  53. 53. Workshops are made of PEOPLE!
  54. 54. Don’t just throw people together. • Workshops can be done with any group. Think about your objectives for the workshop and their implications for who you should invite. In many cases you’ll want to go for cross-functional representation. • Don’t forget to include stakeholders. • Understand the roles, needs, and influence of participants (i.e. who needs to sign off and who is there more for awareness). • Though in a workshop, you should treat everyone as equals, it’s useful to know who your gatekeepers are. • To the degree you can, get a sense for individuals’ personalities prior to the workshop. TEAMS, ROLES, & FACILITATION 72
  55. 55. The Makings of Great Teams
  56. 56. How you put people together makes all the difference. • Teams are an effective way of making workshops with large numbers of people work. • They can also be useful tools for exploring various perspectives. • Try to keep them to no more than 6 people per team. • Most of the time, teams should be cross-functional. • Think about the personalities of people in each team and try to avoid bad combinations. • Each team will need a facilitator. TEAMS, ROLES, & FACILITATION 74
  57. 57. Roles Owner Responsible for planning the workshop and defining it’s success criteria. During the workshop Leaders often take the participant role. Master Facilitator Responsible for helping to plan the workshop, guiding all participants through the workshop agenda, providing activity instructions, and facilitating discussions. Team Facilitators Responsible for making sure their group carries out activities as directed. Also, to observe discussions and take notes as applicable. May participate in activities depending on setup. Recorder Responsible for taking public notes of important points, questions, to-dos, parking lot items, etc. Participant Responsible for contributing and participating in all activities and discussions. TEAMS, ROLES, & FACILITATION 75
  58. 58. Herding cats…
  59. 59. Facilitation is about establishing boundaries and keeping the workshop within them so that it reaches it’s objective. TEAMS, ROLES, & FACILITATION 77 START FINISH
  60. 60. Without (enough) binding and guidance, things can go anywhere and possibly never reach the objectives needed. TEAMS, ROLES, & FACILITATION 78 START FINISH
  61. 61. Too much binding and guidance can cause the workshop to feel constricting and forced. TEAMS, ROLES, & FACILITATION 79 START FINISH
  62. 62. Good facilitation (and planning) directs the workshop towards it’s objectives while keeping it feeling open. Remember: Facilitation is a skill. It takes practice. TEAMS, ROLES, & FACILITATION 80 START FINISH
  63. 63. Facilitating Activities & Discussions • Silence can be both good and bad. Be on the lookout for it. • Be a time cop, but also give people time to finish their thoughts or reach agreement. Don’t be afraid to let them go on long or cut them off if necessary. Know when to hold boundaries and when to let them slide. • Be prepared to adjust your agenda on the fly. Always know where you are. Make calculated decisions on how to proceed. • Watch out for group think and design-by-committee. Use framing tools, output from prior activates, research, etc. to steer back to what matters. • Facilitators should be unbiased TEAMS, ROLES, & FACILITATION 81
  64. 64. Facilitating Activities & Discussions • Summarize arguments, conclusions, etc. • Look for understanding. Check to make sure everyone understands what is being talked about. • Look for emotions in participants. • Ask lots of questions. Play dumb. “Why?” is your weapon of choice. • Be transparent. Let people know why you’re doing things. • Use a parking lot. It sounds lame, but it works so long as you follow through with it. • As you move through activities recap and refer back to observations and conclusions from previous ones. TEAMS, ROLES, & FACILITATION 82
  65. 65. Yes. You will have to deal with difficult people.
  66. 66. Recognizing “Difficult” People • Sometime it’s pretty obvious. • Signals can include: • Dominating conversations. Talking over people. Ignoring what others are saying. • Not Participating. Being closed of both verbally and physically. • Not staying in scope. Introducing topics and questions outside the bounds of the workshop. TEAMS, ROLES, & FACILITATION 84
  67. 67. Handling “Difficult” People • Remember that someone’s difficult nature isn’t always a reflection of their evil plans for world domination. • Use open ended questions to work at finding the root of their concerns, misunderstandings, etc. • Like most things in facilitation, forms of the question, “why?” are your best friends here. • Work with them to relate points back to any previous activity output, objectives, problem framing, etc. • Use your parking lot. • Call time-out, regroup, and adjust if necessary. TEAMS, ROLES, & FACILITATION 85
  68. 68. GENERATE 88
  69. 69. GENERATE 89 DISCOVER SYNTHESIZE GENERATE REFINE Initial Insight Plan Release EVALUATE Generate Generate a large number of ideas for “solutions” (products, services, etc.) for achieving the desired objectives. The Design Thinking Process
  70. 70. Bad Ideas GENERATE 90 USE TO Explore what “shouldn’t” be done in order to better understand the contexts of a topic and potential real solutions. PARTICIPANTS 2 or more people. TIME 30 – 40 minutes HOW TO DO IT 1. Prior to the workshop or activity, select a challenge/topic you’d like participants to generate solutions for. 2. Assemble participants into teams, provide each team with markers and an easel pad/paper. 3. Present the challenge to the team, and ask each team to work at creating (sketching) the worst solution possible over the course of the next 10 minutes. 4. Set your timer for 10 minutes and have the teams begin. 5. When 10 minutes are up, have each team swap their solution with another. 6. Each team then has 10 minutes to imagine and write/sketch the circumstances in which the “bad” solution would be a good one. 7. When time elapses, have each team present the bad idea they were given and the reframed circumstances they came up with that would make it a good idea. Allow for 3-5 minutes for each team. Let’s Have lunch at McDonalds!
  71. 71. Bad Ideas GENERATE 91 MATERIALS Paper Markers Tape PAIRS WELL WITH Follow up with additional brainstorming such as 6-8-5, Design Studio, or Lens Brainstorming. TIPS & CONSIDERATIONS 1. This activity works best for broader conceptual challenges (ex: How might we make the experience of foreclosure less stressful) than “detail design” questions (ex: how should our application form work). WHY WE USE IT We often misunderstand “bad” as being the opposite for good, and in our search for good ideas we unconsciously cut ourselves off from a whole set of solutions. By examining what bad ideas might look like, and subsequently looking at situation in which they become good, we both expand our creativity by breaking down our aversion to “bad” as well as potentially surface ideas we wouldn’t otherwise consider. Let’s Have lunch at McDonalds!
  72. 72. Lens Brainstorm GENERATE 93 How might we… make saving for college more rewarding? USE TO Generate ideas for solutions to a problem space that satisfy a specific set of characteristics. PARTICIPANTS 3 or more people. TIME 10 minutes for initial collection. 3-5 minutes per person for presentation. HOW TO DO IT 1. Select a challenge/problem space and set of 3-5 adjectives that describe the experience the group would like their future creation to elicit. 2. Instruct participants that they will be brainstorming solutions for the challenge in accordance with the selected adjectives. 3. You will provide the prompt in the form of “How might we [challenge] more [adjective]? Example: How might we make saving for college more rewarding? 4. Let participants know that they will have 90 seconds per adjective and will write down one idea per post it. 5. Begin the brainstorm with the prompt for the first adjective. After 90 seconds, repeat the prompt using the next adjective. Repeat until you have gone through all of the selected adjectives. 6. Have each participant share their ideas with the rest of the group, posting them to the wall as they go.
  73. 73. Lens Brainstorm GENERATE 94 MATERIALS Post Its Markers PAIRS WELL WITH Often followed by affinity mapping to identify common ideas and outliers (which aren’t necessarily bad ideas) TIPS & CONSIDERATIONS 1. The adjectives you use can be anything (there is an original set based on the activities origins in game design). One good source of adjectives are the efforts design principles if any have been established. WHY WE USE IT A lens brainstorm (often paired with affinity mapping) can act as a good catalyst for a more detailed design brainstorm such as a Design Studio. How might we… make saving for college more rewarding?
  74. 74. 6-8-5 GENERATE 95 USE TO Generate a large number of ideas or answers to a given challenge or questions. PARTICIPANTS 2 or more people. TIME 25 – 35 minutes per round HOW TO DO IT 1. Prior to the workshop or activity, select a challenge/topic you’d like participants to generate solutions for. 2. Provide participants with paper folded (or divided) into 2 x 2 or 2 x 3 grids. 3. Instruct participants that their task will be to–working individually– sketch their ideas for the proposed topic using the provided paper with one idea/division. They will have 5 minutes to sketch as many ideas as they can with the goal of coming up to 6-8. 4. Set your timer for 5 minutes and have the participants begin sketching. 5. When 5 minutes have elapsed, provide each participant with 3-5 minutes to present and discuss their ideas with the whole group (or team if your workshop is broken into multiple teams) 6. Repeat the process as you see fit to collect more ideas, coaching participants to try to generate new ideas based on what they’ve seen in the previous rounds.
  75. 75. 6-8-5 GENERATE 96 MATERIALS Paper Markers Tape PAIRS WELL WITH Critique (see Design Studio) and voting based activities TIPS & CONSIDERATIONS 1. In order to maintain divergence, focus questions and discussion on clarification and explanation rather than analysis. WHY WE USE IT Useful for giving participants an opportunity to express how they think a product or service might look/work. Like other divergent thinking activities, this activity also pushes participants beyond their initial idea, which typically are not the “best” ideas to emerge. Also useful as an alternative when the time available doesn’t work for a larger Design Studio activity.
  76. 76. Other Common Activities for Generation Brain Writing “Silent” brainstorming, in which participants add their ideas to lists of ideas generated by other participants using those lists as inspiration. What if? A variation for use with other brainstorming activities where the facilitator selectively adds or removes a constraint to the problem space. SYNTHESIZE 97
  77. 77. REFINE 108
  78. 78. REFINE 109 DISCOVER SYNTHESIZE GENERATE REFINE Initial Insight Plan Release EVALUATE Refine Iterate, combine, and eliminate solutions based on analysis and appropriate variables while increasing fidelity until one (or a small number) of solutions are determined. The Design Thinking Process
  79. 79. Affinity Mapping REFINE 110 USE TO Allow teams to find shared ideas as well as outliers. PARTICIPANTS 2 or more people. TIME 1-3 hours depending on the number of participants HOW TO DO IT 1. Begin with a large pool of related items posted to a wall. For example, the output of a Lens Brainstorm or Free Listing exercise. 2. Instruct the group to move items to another wall (or a space far enough on the current wall) arranging them in groups according to how similar they are to form “clusters” of similar items. • Participants work individually, simultaneously, and shouldn’t discuss as they work. • They can move items into groups created by others or rearrange groups that don’t make sense to them. 3. Once all items have been moved to the new wall or space and any rearrangement seems to have diminished, end this phase of the activity. 4. Next, work with the group to assign a name to each cluster. Review the contents of the cluster with the group and allow them to suggest names. If the group agrees that a cluster represents more than one theme, break it apart.
  80. 80. Affinity Mapping REFINE 111 USE TO Allow teams to find shared ideas as well as outliers. PARTICIPANTS 2 or more people. TIME 1-3 hours depending on the number of participants HOW TO DO IT 5. Review the groups and the potential group names with the participants. Have participants select a preferred group label (You may use a simple show-of-hands vote if necessary).
  81. 81. Affinity Mapping REFINE 112 MATERIALS Post its Markers PAIRS WELL WITH Preceded by Free Listing or other brainstorming activities. Followed by voting activities. WHY WE USE IT Understanding similarities and outliers can be helpful for discussions of priority, as well as to identify outlier ideas that can, at times, hold interesting solutions that are otherwise overlooked.
  82. 82. Dot Voting REFINE 114 USE TO Determine relative priority or interest in concepts based on participant selection PARTICIPANTS 3 or more people. TIME 10 – 15 minutes HOW TO DO IT 1. Determine a total number of votes each participant will be given. 3 and 5 are common choices. 2. Begin with a pool of options for the team to select from. Review them with the participants and allow participants to ask clarifying questions as needed. related items posted to a wall. For example, the output of a Lens Brainstorm or Free Listing exercise. 3. Instruct participants to select the ideas they believe are most important (or most worth pursuing, etc.) and note place dots next to them. If they think an idea is particularly important, they may vote more than once. 4. Participants will place their votes simultaneously. 5. Tally the votes and arrange the items according to most to least votes. Discuss the resulting arrangement with the group. Are there any surprises?
  83. 83. Dot Voting REFINE 115 MATERIALS Dot Stickers PAIRS WELL WITH Precede with critique in order to help make sure voting considers relative value of ideas.. TIPS & CONSIDERATIONS 1. There are many variations on this activity, including blind voting ant the $100 test. 2. Sometimes, participants will change their votes during voting based on where they see others placing their votes. If concerned about this, an alternative is to have all participants write their votes down on a piece of paper and then give that paper to another participant who will cast their votes . WHY WE USE IT While it might seem overly simple, this activity is a quick and simple way to see where a group’s relative interests lie and can be useful in selecting priorities and directing future conversations.
  84. 84. Design Studio REFINE 119 USE TO Generate a large number of ideas and then build consensus around the most valuable through iteration and consolidation. PARTICIPANTS 2 or more people. TIME 1-3 hours depending on the number of participants HOW TO DO IT 1. Prior to the workshop or activity, select a challenge/topic you’d like participants to generate solutions for, typically a scenario for use of your product or service. 2. If needed, arrange participants in teams of up to 6 people. 3. Provide participants with paper folded (or divided) into 2 x 2 or 2 x 3 grids. 4. Instruct participants that their task will be to–working individually– sketch as many ideas as possible for their solution in 8 minutes. 5. At the end of 8 minutes, give each participant 3-5 minutes to have each team member present and critique their ideas with their teammates. 6. Once all participants have presented and received critique, have each participant sketch one idea for a solution based now on their previous ideas, the ideas of their teammates, the critiques they heard, and any new ideas that may have popped into their head. Again, participants will use the divided paper and have 8 minutes to sketch. 7. Again, once time is up, give each participant 3-5 minutes to have each team member present and critique their ideas with their teammates. 8. This time, participants will their solutions to their teammates quickly and then critique them with the Participants may use the divided paper as they wish.
  85. 85. Design Studio REFINE 120 USE TO Generate a large number of ideas and then build consensus around the most valuable through iteration and consolidation. PARTICIPANTS 2 or more people. TIME 1-3 hours depending on the number of participants HOW TO DO IT 9. Once each team member has presented and received critique, instruct each team that they will now be given 20 minutes to work together to sketch a single solution based on all of the ideas and critiques they’ve hear up until now, using whole (undivided) sheets of paper. 10.At the end of 20 minutes, give each team 5-8 minutes to present their solution to the others and receive critique. 11.Close with a discussion of the similarities and differences between the concepts the teams came up with.
  86. 86. Design Studio REFINE 121 MATERIALS Paper Markers Tape PAIRS WELL WITH Follow up with prototyping. TIPS & CONSIDERATIONS 1. Depending on the scope of the project/workshop, you may find it useful to assign different teams different persona/scenario combinations. However this eliminates your ability to compare how different teams evolve solutions for the same contexts. WHY WE USE IT Design Studio works well to provide teams with an outlet to share their ideas for detailed designs and interactions as well as find and build consensus in a final direction based on value rather than personal preference.
  87. 87. Other Common Activities for Refinement Critique Critical Thinking based discussion of an idea to analyze it against its objectives and determine which aspect do or do not work towards them and why. Prototyping Creating a representation of the creation that can be interacted with by users in order to understand its effect on their experience. REFINE 122
  88. 88. 3 Kinds of Feedback REFINE Reaction Direction Critique Good lord! That’s awful! An inebriated cocker spaniel could have done better! You should have made all of those radio buttons a drop down [,because…] If the objective is for users to consider the impact to their bank balance before making a purchase, placing the balance at the bottom of the screen at the same size as all the other numbers isn’t effective because it gets lost in all of the other information. 123
  89. 89. The Critique Framework REFINE What is an objective of the design? Which elements or aspects of the design are relevant to the objective? Are those elements effective in achieving the objective? Why or why not? 124
  90. 90. The Critique Framework REFINE What is an objective of the design? If the objective is for users to consider the impact to their bank balance before making a purchase… Which elements or aspects of the design are relevant to the objective? Are those elements effective in achieving the objective? Why or why not? 125
  91. 91. The Critique Framework REFINE What is an objective of the design? If the objective is for users to consider the impact to their bank balance before making a purchase… Which elements or aspects of the design are relevant to the objective? …placing the balance at the bottom of the screen at the same size as all the other numbers… Are those elements effective in achieving the objective? Why or why not? 126
  92. 92. The Critique Framework REFINE What is an objective of the design? If the objective is for users to consider the impact to their bank balance before making a purchase… Which elements or aspects of the design are relevant to the objective? …placing the balance at the bottom of the screen at the same size as all the other numbers… Are those elements effective in achieving the objective? …isn’t effective… Why or why not? 127
  93. 93. The Critique Framework REFINE What is an objective of the design? If the objective is for users to consider the impact to their bank balance before making a purchase… Which elements or aspects of the design are relevant to the objective? …placing the balance at the bottom of the screen at the same size as all the other numbers… Are those elements effective in achieving the objective? …isn’t effective… Why or why not? …because it gets lost in all of the other information. 128
  94. 94. MAKING IT WORK LOGISTICS & LITTLE THINGS 129
  95. 95. Materials • Gather the appropriate materials based on your selected activities. Always bring extra. Common Materials • Post Its (Various Colors & Sizes) • Markers (Various Colors) • Blank Paper • Easel Pads • Tape (we use painters tape) • Index Cards • Dot Stickers • A Timer • Printouts can be useful. Think about anything that participants might need for reference. LOGISTICS 130 Sometimes Useful • Pipe Cleaners • Block/Bricks • Foam • Scissors • Video Camera
  96. 96. Space • Make sure the space is large enough. It can get loud when groups are working and discussing. You need enough space for each team to not feel crowded and for people to be able to move around freely. • Sometimes breakout rooms can be useful, but they can also complicate overall facilitation and transporting of things back and forth. • Plenty of wall space for posting ideas and notes (and the blessing of facilities to do so) • Good lighting, including daylight • Whiteboard LOGISTICS 131
  97. 97. Setup LOGISTICS 132 This! Not This. Or This.
  98. 98. Back To Agendas • Make sure you incorporate breaks. Try for 15-20 minute breaks every 90-120 minutes. • Lunch should be no less than 45 minutes. Try to avoid “working lunches.” • Provide snacks (and lunch if possible). Not just caffeine and sugar though. • Don’t start before 9 and don’t end after 5. 9:30-4:30 is good. • Never plan to start on time. LOGISTICS 133
  99. 99. WRAPPING UP 140
  100. 100. Here lie our best intentions….
  101. 101. We often look backwards and wish we’d done things differently. What if we looked ahead and tried to predict what might go wrong so we can be prepared. WRAPPING UP 142
  102. 102. Premortem WRAPPING UP 143 USE TO Help teams prepare for predictable obstacles to their success. TIME 20 – 25 minutes HOW TO DO IT 1. Ask the group to share their concerns and ideas about the things that will prevent the project and their efforts from succeeding. Capture these items on a whiteboard as you go. 2. After about 10 minutes, switch to discussing what will be needed to prevent the obstacles from occurring or to avoid their derailment of the project. 3. Capture these comments alongside their problems they address. surprises? How WILL OUR EFFORTS FAIL?
  103. 103. Closing Out The Workshop • Review the insights that emerged over the course of the workshop: patterns, outliers, assumptions, agreements, etc. • Don’t expect workshops to produce THE answer. Instead they are more like research, they point you in the direction of the answer(s). • Share next steps and assign responsibility if necessary (there are activities that can help with this as well). The key to a successful workshop is MOMENTUM. • And… THANK EVERYONE! LOGISTICS 145
  104. 104. THANK YOU! 146 Adam Connor VP Organizational Design & Training, Experience Designer aconnor@madpow.net Twitter: @adamconnor

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