How to Run a Remote Design Thinking Workshop

We’ve remade our kit to bypass those tricky on-site logistics

Over the years the rise of topics like design thinking, design sprints and lean UX has turned UX workshops into a necessity, becoming an essential way for designers to engage with a range of stakeholders effectively.

The world has recently shifted in the most unforeseen way, and most people would have experienced fresh challenges when moving online for work. From weekly sprints to running workshops and to those unplanned chats in the kitchen.

But just because your team isn’t sitting next to each other but working from home doesn’t mean that you have to put those business challenges on hold. The world of work is rapidly evolving, but with the right tools and a solid plan, you can still bring everyone together just as you would for an onsite face-to-face workshop.

“Design thinking is a human-centered approach to innovation that draws from the designer’s toolkit to integrate the needs of the people, the possibilities of technology, and the requirements for business success.”
– Tim Brown, Executive Chair of IDEO

What exactly is a design thinking workshop?

The concept of design thinking is that it’s all about solving complex problems in a user-centric way and the design thinking workshop is based on this framework, which incorporates a series of creative and collaborative exercises that helps a group of people to align on a certain challenge and to come up with testable solutions. It’s unique in its process because the focus is very user-centered, allowing designers and other stakeholders to step into your user’s shoes and to understand them on a deeper level.

Why did you make a workshop kit?

We first created our Design Thinking Workshop Kit to help anyone run their own hands-on sessions using popular design methodologies, together with Marvel. Taking you and your team from nurturing empathy, rapid idea generation, right the way through to sketching and creating interactive prototypes in sessions that can fit into an hour.

What’s included:

  • Workbook: A printable PDF, complete with writing templates for each stage of the Design Thinking process and sketch sheets for paper prototyping.
  • Workshop Slides: A handy presentation to run through on zoom or another video call app that you are using during the session that keeps pace with the agenda.
  • Presentation Template Slides: Once you’ve finished, each team can use these slides to present back the work they’ve done in the session. Or simply share a Marvel link with everyone.
  • Facilitator Guide: This helps you prepare for the session, with email templates, tips and more to help run and coordinate the Design Thinking Workshop!

“I used Marvel’s Design Thinking workshop to help run our redesign of our main product. It was really easy to use and clear, we even jumped ahead to do user journey mapping to find out what our problems were before stage 2 – solving problems.”
– Joe, Product Designer at StoryStream

What is different about this new kit?

Running a remote design thinking workshop is not without its challenges, but we can guarantee you that the benefits far outweigh any difficulties.

To move with the times, we’ve made our kit digitally editable so you won’t need to print anything out and that everyone can fill in their own copy from the comfort of their own chair.

Thanks to technology, a remote design thinking workshop can offer many of the same benefits as an in-person one. Here are just a few and some might even surprise you:

  1. They can save you time
    Remote sessions enable you to share content quickly, ideas are written digitally using a digital whiteboard and is easy to keep a record of your discussions. Also, if you can’t remember what a stakeholder or facilitator recommended, then you can always replay your recorded session or your notes and not worry about all those little post-it notes.
  2. People aren’t as shy as you think
    In groups, big voices can easily drown out more tentative voices, which often limit a workshop’s potential. In a virtual setting, if more than one person speaks, it becomes very difficult for everyone to hear. With a computer screen, people also feel protected and more open to sharing ideas.
  3. Experiment faster
    Collaborating remotely can enable shorter and more frequent sessions, which lead to increased experimentation. Plus, you can create your prototypes and do your user testing all in one platform too!
  4. Unique perspectives and networking
    Design thinking encourages people from all areas of the business to come together and solve a problem. Connecting interesting profiles that wouldn’t normally meet or collaborate. It is easier to bring people together for a remote session than it is for an in-person one. This increased flexibility means valuable stakeholders are more likely to say yes.
  5. Reduce carbon footprint
    Working from home or the office means fewer planes, trains, cars and printing worksheets out – all resulting in less carbon emissions.

To find out more

So there you have it! With a few clever tweaks, we have adapted our previous design thinking for remote delivery – ensuring collaboration and innovation no matter where you are in the world.

If you would like to learn more about this workshop and design thinking, sign up and join Murat in our next webinar, who will share tips and best practices of running your workshop smoothly.

Further reading:

Read the full article here

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