Design Thinking Facilitator

Design thinking is a method for focusing on the human needs behind the business goals when designing a product, service, or experience. Over the years I’ve participated in and lead many design thinking workshops to help diverse teams solve complex problems. Each workshop is different so I rely on my toolbox of exercises to help any team to distill problems down to user needs, generate ideas to address those needs, and iterate on those concepts. I’m committed to thoughtful design because I believe the choices we make can have lasting impacts on people’s lives.

Each workshop I lead follows a similar pattern:

  • Icebreaker Exercises—It’s important to create a safe and collaborative environment so that everyone feels comfortable contributing.
  • User Research—At the heart of any innovation needs to be the user, so first we must understand the problem from a human perspective and generate empathy.
  • Ideation Exercises—The goal is to create many ideas without getting hung up on the logistics. I keep everything low fidelity, sharpies and post-its, to keeping the ideas flowing.
  • Reflection and Organization—Making sense of the all the content that was generated and cross pollination of concepts to begin to form a plan.
  • Action Plan—This is where the ideas are formed into action plans and different players are responsible for carrying them forward.
  • Wrap up—Workshops are always intense and I want to give everyone a chance to admire their work and offer me feedback.

This is a photograph of a design thinking workshop with NYFA (New York Foundation for the Arts) that I helped facilitate in February 2016. We explored ways to improve their Arts-Business Incubator program for artists. You can learn more about the ongoing partnership between IBM Design and NYFA in this white paper on Cultural Entrepreneurship.

The early days of the z/OSMF redesign. We explored the needs of the systems programmer who would be using the product to make sure that we were solving problems that mattered.

This is a photograph of a workshop that I facilitated to bring together the different cloud product teams within IBM Z.