The goal of this second module was to learn the fundamentals of design, and deepen our understanding of Design Thinking, and Design Thinking tools, how to create user flows, interaction design, and the difference between UI and UX, and design leadership and facilitation.
By the end of the module we were given the challenge to use our learnings within design principles to design a remote, problem solving workshop.
We were lucky to have Ross Chapman (web and UX designer from Southampton, UK) as our industry leader for the module, and to have guest speakers such as: Agnieszka Szóstek, Experience & Strategic Designer, Renate Matroos, founder of Twenty 6 Consultancy, a learning designer and an expert in business development, idea generation and strategies, David Hoang, Director of Design at Webflow, UX Instructor at General Assembly, and previously Head of Product Design at One Medical.
Through the whole module we used the programme Mural. I was really excited about how Ross kind of created this whole module as one big workshop in Mural, with check-ins, small activities with team work, and adding notes and Q&A’s and visualizations on the go — that created such a creative experience with positive energy!
So what have I learned about Design Thinking? 💭
I have learned that Design Thinking is a philosophy, and a non-linear, iterative , loop process (also called ‘The Double Diamond’) that can be used to understand users, challenge assumptions, redefine problems and create innovative solutions to prototype and test. It involves five phases:
1. Empathize: Understand the user and their problems or challenges fx through interviews, surveys or experts. In this phase we need to learn and listen, understand the customer’s needs without judgement and have a desire to create something that improves the customer’s life. Empathy mapping can help aligning everyone in the team or company on who we are designing for. It’s the first step in Design Thinking. Another great tool to help users to share their problems and needs is the user journey tool.
2. Define the problem: What problem am I going to solve? and create a problem statement, we use these to define the current and ideal states, to freely find user-centered solutions. A great tool to help framing the problem is the Ligtning decision Jam, using that methods helps with collecting ideas.
3. Ideate and get feedback!
4. Prototype: Sketch up the idea!
5. Test! And apply the learnings and go back and ideate.
It is most useful to tackle problems that are ill-defined or unknown.
Another thing we learned is that Design Thinking relies on divergent and convergent thinking. Divergent thinking is where we try to understand all possible drivers of the problem and imagine all possible solutions — here we can generate a lot of ideas and be creative! Convergent thinking focuses on being more specific around the chosen ideas and make it more tangible, it’s more of a linear process. These cycles of the two ways of thinking is practiced in Sprints.
With these design fundamentals we will know how to solve problems and design — not just from an aesthetic point of view, but with a purpose.
The purpose of my workshop ✍️
In our last Fieldwork module we empathized and got insights from qualitative and quantitative research. In this module our main focus was more on how to facilitate a workshop and finding the right tools and activities. So I decided to do a shorter research on a topic that have been in my thoughts for the last months, about young people in the 20'ties not seeing themselves as a part of the problem nor the solution in the spread of Covid-19.
To gather insights I read expert articles and interviews. I also discussed the topic with some of my friends within the target audience. After gathering my research I did some empathy mapping on two personas. Normally with more time I would have started out with this tool in my workshop, but because of the limited time (30 min.), I created one before to get a deeper understanding of the audience and shared it with my team.
Ideally if I should make this workshop with people outside the class, I would have sent them an email beforehand with a Google Meet invitation and link to the workshop board, and bring in the storytelling and info about the topic and workshop.
My problem statement:
‘How might we create a dialogue that will help the young generation to understand the seriousness of Covid-19 and to engage and feel more responsibility?’
Welcome: I began the workshop thanking my team for participating in the workshop and reminded them to turn on cameras and to not hold back ideas — quantitative over quality.
Why are we here: To clarify the intention and outcome of the workshop, to make sure all participants are aligned, and to help them be clear on expectations and why and how they can contribute.
Check-in: Participants had to draw themselves as the animal that reflected their current state of mind. The check-ins help to spark creativity in an easy and chill way and to set a positive vibe and energy that the participants will bring with them through the workshop.
Conceptualisation: I used around four minutes to talk about the topic and the research. Because the topic is a little heavy and complex I wanted to make sure that the participants would gain a deeper understanding of the problem and the different factors to it, for making it easier to get into ideation later.
Warm-up: I considered a lot whether I needed both a check-in and warm-up activity, but I chose both because I wanted the check in to be more of an energizer, and the warm up more as an ‘easy’ start to get some ideas around the topic.
Zone rapid brainstorming: I knew I had to choose one main tool I was sure could help me generate som tangible ideas, so I chose the ‘zone’, rapid brainstorming that aided by accepting all ideas and spark creativity. The mindset is quantity over quality and the goal is to create a large pool from which to pull the best ideas to develop on further or for finding the best solution or strategy.
There are 4 zones in this type of brainstorm:
1. Solo brainstorm
2. Cluster into themes
3. Vote on best ideas!
4. Enrich the ideas!
Check-out: For the check-out the participants should add a gif that expressed the feeling or take-out they got from this session. I found it a fun way to end the workshop, to add some fun visuals but still give reflections on the session.
For keeping a funky, creative and positive energy throughout the workshop I created a playlist that played when participants were doing ideation.
How did it go? 👀
It went surprisingly well! I was a little nervous since it was my first time creating and facilitating a remote workshop, and since I don’t see myself as someone being good at multitasking or being super structured, I definitely felt out of my comfort zone — even with taking the ‘leader role’. So I was happy that I got such positive feedback!
The overall feedback:
- Good structure and flow.
- The layout and colors work really well and helped the participants to relax and focus on the task.
- They liked that I used enough time in the conceptualisation part, it helped them to understand the depth of the problem and prepared them for the brainstorm activities.
- They complimented me for being an empathic facilitator, and one mentioned that he liked that I at one point asked for their opinion about how they felt with the defined time for the upcoming activity. He said asking for their opinion helped them to relax, feel listened to.
- Vote on clusters instead of the ideas.
- Add share ideas to the solo brainstorm.
Reflections on being a facilitator 💭
Being a great facilitator is definitely not easy, you have to prepare a lot, make sure to explain everything well, make sure of the timing and be able to ‘read the room’ and how people are feeling, be ready to solve any problems, and make sure to bring a lot of good energy!
When that is said I think it was so much fun being a facilitator, and it gave me great energy! I’m looking forward to facilitate workshops in the future and feel I have gained confident and an awesome toolkit to bring with me.
I have also learned that I don’t have to be perfect in everything to be a facilitator, I don’t have to know everything — it’s about the participants.
Test and try even if it’s not perfect! I’ll learn as I go, and can improve it. It’s not that scary after all to get out of my comfort zone, first workshops might not be the best ever, but with experience I’ll get more confident and maybe one day become a workshop hero! 🌟
Ross for being such a great industry leader for this module, and thanks team for being the best learning group.