Facilitating design thinking workshops (in progress)

I’m currently writing a book called ‘Facilitating design thinking workshops’, to be published by Sense and Respond Press.


The book is currently in draft, and due to the publisher at the end of June.

What it’s about: The elevator pitch

Design thinking is a popular method to tackle problems collaboratively and creatively. It has become popular over the last few years. It’s well-known in the design field, and becoming more popular in business generally, particularly for innovation.

A lot of the time it is executed as design thinking workshops. Anything from half a day to a few days. Design thinking workshops are great as they are super-collaborative and allow people into the process who would otherwise not be included.

Design thinking workshops need to be very carefully facilitated to achieve their goals. They are much more complex to facilitate than a regular meeting.

There are a lot of resources around facilitation generally (and they are really good). None specifically aimed at design thinking. Until now…

Three main points

It’s practical. It’s short. You can literally read it, follow it and put it in place for your next workshop.


About design thinking and design thinking workshops

Workshop goals and problem statements

Structure of a design thinking workshop

  • Warmup
  • Context setting
  • Idea generation
  • Idea description and definition
  • Prioritisation
  • Planning
  • Wrapping up

Preparation and logistics

  • Facilitating without contributing
  • Creating a flexible structure
  • Attendees
  • Working together
  • Location, venue and timing
  • Pre-workshop homework
  • Agendas and other logistics

Workshop activities

  • Planning workshop activities
  • Introduction and instruction
  • Working through the activity
  • Wrapping an activity up
  • Sharing back
  • Reflecting
  • Activity management tips

Managing people

  • Making sure everyone contributes
  • Managing groups
  • Elephants in the room
  • Pet projects
  • How to manage the unexpected