The Occupational Philosophers: A not-so-serious business podcast is LIVE! Click podcast link below

Design Thinking Workshop

Simon shows you how to dramatically speed up the way you develop innovative solutions to complex problems and build an empathic, curious and action-orientated culture within your organisation.

Go Beyond Traditional Problem Solving:

So what is Design Thinking? Good question!

Definition:

It’s a very human-centred, iterative approach for creative problem solving and innovation that draws from the designer’s toolkit to integrate what’s desirable from a human point of view, technologically feasible and economically viable.  (Thanks IDEO for that overview – you're awesome).

Simon’s Twist:

Building on the above, Design Thinking is about connecting with real people, rapid experimentation, getting your hands dirty and making stuff that you can quickly test (Ideas don’t live in a PowerPoint).

It’s a complete shift from the straight to solution type of problem-solving that’s so common. Whilst it may seem productive to go straight to solution, often it’s the wrong solution or not designed for the people who have the problem.

What makes Design thinking different is truly understanding the people you are solving the problem for and then massively expanding your thinking on how to solve that problem.

So what makes my design thinking courses different? Well, I’m a bit different (in a good, design type of way.) You can read more in my bio here. Throughout my 20-year career, I’ve always had a foot in both the creative/design and corporate worlds. As such, I have a real-world understanding of design and design thinking. It’s not just post-it notes on a wall. As a professional artist and designer, I understand that Design Thinking is really Design Doing.  It’s an action word.

As such, my workshops are very hands-on. We design, we create, we test, we experiment, we connect with real people and most importantly, stretch ourselves to do things differently and embrace our very human traits of imagination, creativity and curiosity. That leads to outstanding solutions to real-world problems.

And did I mention, it’s enjoyable? The serious stuff of great outcomes and great solutions and enjoyment are not counter-intuitive.

Crucial Stages in Design Thinking Many Overlook

Stages of Design Thinking

There are Five, Non-Linear, Hands-On Stages that bring Human Centred Design to Life. These are:

1
Empathy
Empathy

Once you spend time in other people's shoes, you can see things you wouldn't have imagined. The empathy stage is a deep dive into people's thinking, emotions and behaviours whose problems you are solving.

2
Define
Define

"Innovation starts with a problem, not an idea. It's crucial to clearly define the problem you're trying to solve before attempting to solve it. Be a curious cat and keep asking, "why?

3
Ideate
Ideate

Great stimulation in = great ideas out. In the ideation stage,  you go really wide in your thinking and leverage as many different approaches, tools and frameworks (not just post-it notes) before you go to a solution.

4
Prototype
Prototype

Get real with your idea and mock it up. Build it, act it, make it visual but whatever you do, create something tangible (or a minimum viable product) that people can interact with.

5
Test
Test

Share your idea. Observe, be open, gather feedback and different perspectives. Iterate quickly and embrace surprises and things you had previously overlooked. This is the space of great learning and rapid iteration.

I also like to add three essential stages that many Design Thinking workshops miss. Without these, Design Thinking is just a process or methodology that anyone can tear to pieces.

1
Dance with your Ogre

This is where innovation often stops before it even begins! So acknowledge the monster that says you’re not creative. Get laughter happening, have some fun, and be ready for the challenge.

2
Get your language right

Many great ideas and products are killed by small words. Language drives thinking, which drives behaviour and behaviour drives results.  Replace the words “no” and “but” with “yes” and “and”.

3
Repeat

The process of design and innovation is never-ending. So you need a never-ending curiosity and energy to make great stuff happen. “Repeat” is the new mantra for a culture of design and innovation.

Transforming ideas into reality.

I understand you may have some reservations about using human centred design. When we start to do things differently, that change can feel uncomfortable and there is always a hesitancy about another ‘new’ way of operating, built up by many years of change and other rollouts across your organisation.

There are many (I'd say about 90% of people I work with) who genuinely believe they don't have a creative bone in their body, and anything to do with creativity or innovation is someone else's job.

It's possible products and services launched before weren’t that awesome. Or likely they've shared ideas and were laughed down (killing any originality and creativity on the spot).

In my Design Thinking Workshops, we embrace these challenges head-on. How do we do that?

  • We create a safe and fun space to share ideas
  • We deal with the ‘I'm not creative Ogre’ upfront and provide multiple ways to achieve success
  • We ban the words ‘no’ and ‘but’ allowing ideas to thrive
  • As we use so many different tools and methodologies there is something for everyone, no matter what your learning style or approach
  • Design thinking workshops build the tools and problem solving skills to develop and test ideas rapidly, with the people who are going to use them. It’s a completely different shift from the set and forget style of product launch you may have done previously
  • I meet people where they are at - wary of change, maybe excited, maybe anxious (maybe not even wanting to be in the room) and ease them into the day, even making it enjoyable.
  • We make the complex simple so it's easy to understand easy to do
  • By using a number of different human centred design tools, principles and methodologies, we provide the space for multiple thinking styles and continuous places for collaboration.

Awakening Your Team's Creativity Through Collaboration.

Design thinking isn't just about a style of thinking. It’s a way of working, creating and collaborating with people at its heart.  As such, it drives behaviour change and improved outcomes across many different areas. If you’re looking to shift things up, here are just a few things you will be able to learn through Simon’s design thinking workshops:

  • Go beyond traditional problem solving and engage your team in a style of thinking that isn’t business as usual
  • Drive the potential of collaboration in your team to an all-time high
  • Create an innovative, customer-focused culture in your company
  • Develop skills in bringing products, services and solutions to life at speed
  • Develop creative confidence and be comfortable in bringing your ideas to life
  • Understand the importance of and rebuild the very human skills of creativity, curiosity and imagination
  • Develop a bias towards action and rapid experimentation which enables productivity to thrive
  • Just quietly, enjoy yourself and rediscover the joy of what’s possible when we create and collaborate

Clients have used the collaborative skills and behaviours they developed through Design Thinking Workshops to solve complex problems across their organisations including:

  • Redesigning how information is shared across multiple construction projects
  • Solving productivity bottlenecks
  • Creating employee engagement programs
  • Restructuring tenders and presentations
  • Developing three-year strategic frameworks
  • Redesigning meetings to drive productivity
  • Creating education frameworks
  • Building client engagement and sales processes

With a powerful kit bag of methodologies and design tools and an open and expansive mindset, Human Centred Design can be applied to all sorts of areas where you would like fresh thinking and innovative solutions.

Our packages

Introduction To Design Thinking:  90 Mins - 3 Hours

High on interaction and collaboration, delegates will get an understanding of how to apply design thinking in your organisation and deep dive into 1-3 key areas of the design thinking methodology.  If you're looking to build quick skills in empathy, rapid prototyping and iteration, getting curious about the problems you need to solve or taking your creativity and ideation to the next level, this design thinking workshop is a great way to kick off that process.

Tailor-made for a conference or offsite setting, it’s a perfect way to introduce your team to a new way of collaborating and problem solving that delivers tangible results and participants leave with ideas and approaches that can be immediately applied at work.

Design Thinking Immersion (1-2 days)

These are a great mix of learning, doing and building real, tangible solutions as we work on real problems you want to solve. You will leave with tangible prototypes and a path forward to implement and test these in your organisation.

This Design Thinking course is delivered with a 70:20:10 approach to learning.

  • 70% of the learning comes from hands on application (the doing of design thinking)
  • 20% of the learning comes from peers and collaboration
  • 10% comes from the front of the room

As such, the programs are highly interactive as participants learn by doing, further implementing the mindset, behaviours and methodologies to use a human-centred process to solve problems at work.

Support and regular check-ins are provided post-program to ensure momentum and that solutions are being developed and implemented.

Design Sprint (3-5 day intensive and also delivered across weeks and longer time frames depending on the project)

Based on Google Ventures famed Design Sprint Process, teams deep dive into key questions about critical business problems as they go through multiple iterations of problem definition, Ideation, testing with customers and gathering key data over a number of days.

It combines the best of Human Centred Design with multiple forms of engagement including User Journey and Experience Mapping, Sketching and Visual Storytelling, accelerated iteration and user testing that drive towards rapid solutions.

The Sprint Methodology is productivity on steroids where you can get immediate feedback and validation using low and high fidelity prototypes. It takes away the endless rounds of emails, calendar invites and meetings that are a drag on innovation and decision making and literally sprints you towards testing solutions with customers. Importantly, it delivers real world feedback that provides clear information on the next key steps and a clear framework on how far you have to go.

Design Thinking Train the Trainer (2- 4 days with follow up sessions)

This is about building the skills, behaviours, mindset and methodologies to run Design Thinking workshops throughout your organisation. This Design Thinking course is highly practical and hands-on and you will learn by doing, spending time as both a facilitator and a participant.

Each stage of empathy, define, ideate, prototype and test and the activations to bring these to life are debriefed for learning and insights on how it feels to be in the audience and to facilitate.

You leave with a tried and tested design thinking facilitator's toolkit, a framework for delivering Design Thinking Workshops from preparation through to post-event follow up and a tailored personal development plan.

Importantly, you will have built your creative confidence so you can coach others in developing theirs, which is essential for developing outstanding solutions with design thinking.

With Our Unique and tailor-made Design Thinking Platforms, Workshops Can Be Delivered Online, Face To Face or A Mixture Of Both.

Testimonials

“Simon facilitated our inaugural innovation event in September 2016 in Melbourne, where over a dozen teams participated. He brought great energy to the session, engaged the teams very well, coached us along the way, and made the event fun. Simon is a great presenter and facilitator and I would recommend him for other organisations looking to run innovation sessions, hackathons, or similar events.”

Kristian Kish, Head of Insights, eNett

“I would like to thank you for your role as lead facilitator at the Department of Transport and Main Roads DG Customer Led Innovation Challenge. Your role was integral to making the day a success and driving a new way of thinking and was greatly appreciated by myself and all the participants.”

Neil Scales, Director General, QLD Department of Main Roads

“Simon brought our organisation new skills and a new mindset. Simon's approach to design engagement and problem solving promoted and placed our staff front and centre in bringing solutions to our organisation's challenges. Simon is an expert design facilitator, a great artist, and an exemplar of positive creativity. I look forward to the opportunity of working with you again in the future”

Mathew Harvey, MBA, Digital and ICT Strategist, Portfolio Architect, Design Thinker, QLD Public Trustees

Got some questions? We have the answers

Design thinking gives you much more than just a process (even though it is a process!) It’s a way of problem solving that is a mix between the rational (data/research) and emotions/feelings/intuition that data can’t always measure. As very corporate humans, we have become very good at the ‘rational’ but it’s that intersection of creativity and curiosity, feelings and emotion and data and research where the magic can lie. Importantly, Design Thinking puts the user front and centre, driving a completely different way of thinking rather than looking at everything through your own set of blinkers.

Workshop Locations

I deliver in-person workshops all over Australia, wherever you are AND with our fantastic, purpose-built design thinking platforms, we offer the flexibility to interact online at a time and place that works, even if you can't travel.

Some of the workshops I have run for organisations are:

  • Design Thinking workshops for QLD Transport and Main Roads in Brisbane
  • Design Sprints and Innovation Hackathons with eNett in Melbourne
  • Innovation and Design Thinking programs with the QLD Department of Education in Cairns
  • Design Thinking workshops and Design Thinking Sprints with the NSW Department of Education in Sydney
  • Strategy and Design workshops for BHP in Perth
  • Visual Storytelling for Design Teams with EY in Sydney

So in summary, I deliver design thinking workshops all over Australia, wherever you are AND with our fantastic, purpose built design thinking platforms, we can deliver online design thinking workshops and sprints no matter where you are.