How does the Design Thinking Workshop look like?

If you haven’t been on the Design Thinking workshop yet, then this is a reading for you! Design Thinking Workshop is not one of those where you will just sit and passively “absorb” knowledge, but you will actively participate and learn the methodology through its application. Sounds interesting, but you still don’t know what it’s all about?

The standard Design Thinking Workshop lasts for two days, and its goal is to educate participants about the methodology itself. Participants, divided into smaller groups, go through five major stages – empathy, (re)defining challenges, ideation, prototyping and testing.

At the beginning of the workshop, participants are introduced with an unknown challenge. The reason for this is to achieve the equality of participants and teams so that they don’t come up with pre-defined attitudes or prepare themselves for the topic. After that, comes a phase of empathy where the main goal is to get into the skin of the user, to identify with his problems and to understand what is “tormenting” him. We get these answers through interaction and conversations where we seek to assert an authentic problem, the one we maybe haven’t been aware of before. For example, on our Autumn Lab, the challenge participants addressed was “How to encourage people to read.” After introductory word and mutual meeting, the participants start to work on the map of challenges, respectively we set up several categories on the panel, that participants fill out in order to consider all the perspectives related to the challenge, which will later serve as a platform for field research and discussion. Some of the information on the Autumn Lab was that people are increasingly referring to online books, due to their practicality.

When the map is created and a set of questions is defined, the participants go out and talk to the users. First, they are conducting a deep interview with the extreme user, followed by a series of short interviews with bypassers on the street. This way, we gain series of views based on different attitudes. Some of the opinions at our workshop were that people like to read simple books, that they read only if there’s time and that they read more in the summer. However, we also get the more personal information such as that people like having books on shelves in their homes, though they may never have read them. After gathering information from the field and profiling the characters, we enter the phase of (re)defining the problem in which we will determine the exact same. For example, one of our teams came to the conclusion that people don’t have the need to read but feel they should read.

The second day of the workshop begins with the most creative phase, ideation, in which we ​​”evoke wild ideas”. The emphasis here is on quantitative aspect, that means the goal is to generate as many ideas as possible, without evaluation and criticism. This is accomplished by a variety of brainstorming techniques that help to free the (then hidden) creative potential in a very short time. This is the opportunity for participants to free their spirit and to encourage them to tell something that they might never have in their companies.

In the prototyping phase, the participants form their final idea into a tangible form that will eventually represent the first version of the prototype. At the same time, we come to another phase in which the creativity of the participants is highlighted because they have the opportunity to use a variety of materials – from cardboard, scissors, adhesives, to LEGO cubes. However, more sophisticated prototype forms are used, such as a simple application display on a computer, so called mock up. The goal of this phase is not to create a highly designed, sophisticated product, but a tangible prototype that will serve shortly for a relatively accurate (future) product presentation.

In the final test phase, real users present final prototypes to get the most detailed feedback, that will be used for further improvements. So, we get a simple prototype that can immediately fit on the tester’s requirements and serve as a response to the challenge. At this stage, each team gets a number of testers that is proportional to the number of teams. After presenting the challenge and prototype, the testers get a certain period in which they comment the solution, suggest possible repairs and give a total comment on the presented. For example, in response to the problem that young people don’t read enough books, one of the groups as the final prototype presented the Book Catcher – an interactive book with the code that users scan on their electronic devices to open avatars so that they get a better view of the book and at the end of each chapter they will find a quiz. By solving quizzes, the users score the points, which can be compared with other readers. Once the app shows a scoreboard, it automatically shows a list of people who are also reading the book and with whom the user can share his experience. The reader can also create a profile that shows what he is currently reading, what he read, and the top 5 books of his choice. Ultimately, based on his taste, the user can also get a view of his “soulmates” who also enjoy the same titles.

Finally, after the testing phase, comes the final part of the workshop that we conclude by mutual team presentation, comment on prototypes and a certification granting.