by Thomas Brandenburg
It’s important for participants to be open minded and collaborative. They need to be willing to step outside of the business mindset and be ready to explore all ideas no matter how big.
1. What is the simplest way that you can describe what you do in workshop related activities to an audience that isn’t familiar with it?
I create a safe space for people to explore their ideas through activities that encourage play and utilize elements of games in workshops. I have designed and facilitated workshops that include role playing to create empathy, prototyping with craft materials often associated with childhood, and ask people what their superpowers are and to consider how they can use them during collaborative workshop activities.
2. What are the key lessons you have learned facilitating and planning design thinking or human-centered design workshops since you started?
Not every workshop is the same. It truly depends on the problem space and the audience. Flexibility is important during workshop facilitation. You need to be resilient and understand that timing doesn’t always work out exactly as planned and you might need to change course to ensure your participants get the most value out of the workshop.
3. What are the biggest obstacles a leader may face then trying to establish or advance a design movement within their own organization? What might be some approaches to overcome them?
I think it depends on the size of the organization. The more roles and perspectives in a company, the more challenging it will be to establish or advance a design movement. Communication between multidisciplinary teams is key. I’ve explored this a bit with Mad*Pow and my colleague, Samantha Dempsey, through an ethics in design project called the Designer’s Oath. We found by bringing multidisciplinary teams together to have conversations and provide insight into the different perspectives of the many roles in an organization they were able to find common ground.
4. What habit or pattern of behaviors may be important to unlearn for participants as they go through your workshops?
It’s important for participants to be open minded and collaborative. They need to be willing to step outside of the business mindset and be ready to explore all ideas no matter how big. We want people to have fun, play and use their in-workshop superpowers to solve real world problems.
5. What does success look like at the end of an engagement?
Many of the workshops we facilitate have tangible prototypes or concept posters in which participants have to pitch their ideas. Success at the end of a workshop engagement looks like participants passionate and excited to share their ideas. It sounds like clapping, support and laughter!
Do you have any last thoughts you would like to share with our readers?
Looking forward to playing, collaborating and helping you create change!
Check out other 5 x 5s at the SDN US National Conference Blog