Course Outcomes

This design thinking course will:

  • Explain the design thinking process.
  • Discuss the roadblocks that can derail a team.
  • Introduce a range of popular models and frameworks.
  • Demonstrate tools that correspond with each stage in the process.

Course Overview

“Who designed this? Clearly nobody thought about the end user. I can’t imagine what these people were thinking. This is ridiculous!”  Whether it’s a product that makes no sense, a cumbersome process, or some other interaction that frustrates users, designs that don’t focus how people will ultimately experience them are at risk for failure. This workshop introduces design thinking frameworks and associated tools.

Program Objectives

At this program’s conclusion, participants should be able to:

  • Articulate the benefits of design thinking.
  • Explain the kinds of problems design thinking can address.
  • Identify pitfalls teams often encounter when embarking on the design thinking process.
  • Describe typical ground rules for effective collaboration.
  • Follow a range of design thinking frameworks.
  • Apply multiple design thinking tools to their work.

The following outline highlights some of the course’s key learning points. As part of your training program, we will modify content as needed to meet your business objectives. Upon request, we will provide you with a copy of participant materials prior to the session(s).

Workshop Outline

Learn by Example: What Is Design Thinking and Why Does It Matter

In this opening workshop segment, we will look at several examples of design thinking and the types of problems the approach can solve: human-centered innovation, shifting markets, changing behaviors, “wicked problems,” and more. During this discussion, we will also talk about the problems design thinking cannot solve.

The Functional Design Team: Avoiding Traps and Pitfalls

Despite its desires to solve problems together, a team’s dysfunction can derail the design process before it begins. In this part of the course, we will talk about ground rules successful teams follow when they engage in the design thinking process. During this module, we will also discuss the characteristics many design thinkers share and what those attributes look and sound like during the design thinking process.

Design Thinking Frameworks: Model Options

This program segment introduces several design thinking frameworks: Herbert Simon’s Design Thinking Cycle, IDEO’s Human Centered Design, and at Stanford University’s Five Modes. The purpose of this exercise is to emphasize the importance of a model and to provide participants with a selection from which to choose.

Stage One Tools: Understanding the Problem

In this module, we will consider a range of tools to help design thinkers understand problems: surveys, statistics, interviews, five whys and so whats, user roleplays, analogous empathy, empathy maps, customer journeys, and value chain analysis.

Stage Two Tools: Unpacking, Sensemaking, and Insights

This course segment introduces tools and tips for making sense of the information gathered in stage one: mind map, key assumptions, “how might we,” and problem definition.

Stage Three Tools: Ideation and Selection

Once participants understand their users and have taken an initial stab at defining a problem, we will discuss and practice a range of ideation techniques: brainstorming, brain writing, random stimuli, SCAMPER, and more.

Stage Four Tools: Prototyping

Prototypes are an essential part of testing a design’s success. In this workshop segment, we will look at eight prototyping methods: sketches and diagrams, paper interfaces, storyboarding, block prototyping, roleplaying, physical prototypes, Wizard of Oz prototypes, and user-defined prototypes.

Stage Five Tools: Testing and Feedback

This course component takes a deep dive into the testing and feedback process. During this part of the program, we will look at such tools as a feedback capture grid, “I like, I wish, what if,” and we will consider various testing options: in-person versus remote testing, user observation versus post-testing reporting, A/B tests, post-testing interviews and more.

Other Considerations: Implementation

Solution rollouts and getting solutions to scale are two of the challenges to consider as part of the innovation process. In this final part of the course, we will look at the possible obstacles that could emerge during a solution’s implementation.

By the conclusion of this program, participants should be able to apply design thinking frameworks to their workplace challenges.