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Become a Design Thinking Facilitator

Lesson 12 of 12

Debrief And Q&A - Taking It Home

Lee-Sean Huang

Become a Design Thinking Facilitator

Lee-Sean Huang

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Lesson Info

12. Debrief And Q&A - Taking It Home

Lesson Info

Debrief And Q&A - Taking It Home

To just do some review of some of the topics that we've talked about here, and then we might have some time for final questions. We talked about design thinking as a balance between user needs, starting with human empathy, to understand what people are feeling, what people need. And then also balancing that out with business goals. So how does that work within the constrains and the targets of any given enterprise or organization. And then also matching that with technical feasibility. Sometimes you might need to make jumps of creativity into the implausible, to the absurdity even, but that helps you be creative and push those limits of technical feasibility. We've talked about design thinking as not just a method but also a mindset. The steps of design thinking are pretty simple, but not easy. Right, it takes practice to do, to build up that instinct to be able to improvise something like this, and to focus on asking the right questions, and creating a creative brief that's not too sp...

ecific where you assume the solution already, but is open ended. And so how do you also create that mindset, that culture, where people feel safe and comfortable doing that. We've talked about starting with empathy. Empathy both for our external users and clients, but also for our students or participants in a workshop. Being empathetic to them, giving them some sort of on-ramp to participation that's revealed overtime. We've talked about re-framing problems. And that's part of the mindset as well, a lot of cultures, a lot of disciplines, really focus on solving problems and just taking care of things, but sometimes that involves banging your head up against a wall, rather than going around. So, thinking about ways to think around problems. And also, thinking about need. We've talked about human empathy, going inside people's heads. But also thinking about the norms that keep the status quo where it is. You know, and these could be social norms, cultural norms, things that are expected behaviors that we could shift in some way. Right, what happens when we take the horses away from the carriages? It forces us to come up with an engine. And then also, get people to think by making. And this is part of this misnomer of design thinking. Right, it's not just about thinking, it's about doing. And so, for people to really experience and to grock design thinking, they have to do it. They can make stuff, be hands on, and then move forward from there. You were introduced to Benny the Blowfish, our mascot here. I'm thinking about this mindset as being this transformation or this pendulant between being pliant and prickly. Sometimes you want to be prickly, and really be critical, advocate for your ideas. And other times you just want to go with the flow, be pliant, and that sometimes requires taking some tangence, or exploring other fields, other disciplines, other industries that are not directly related to the problem you're solving. We talked about the inner worlds, so this is the starting with empathy. What's inside somebody's head, what's in their hearts. We've talked about this contemporary context as well, of looking around to see what other industries are doing that may not be directly related to what you're doing, but gives you context about what's recently possible. We also looked at historical precedence, and I think that relates to that previous question about you know, doing this with younger students, or doing this with a diverse group of people, but the more experience that you can bring into the room, the better it helps you with ideation, right? Because you can come up ideas that have been done before in a different context, from the current context or the historical context, but having that wide experience, having a big bag of tricks really helps with the broad part of design thinking and ideation. We also touched upon futurecasting. Whatever idea you come up with, whatever concept that you come up with, is about proposing a possible future, that doesn't exist yet. So, how do you tell a story, how do you create a world around that future. And just to review this is the cycle of design thinking that I've used in this class and in my other class. Starting with discovery, from empathy of our users. And then defining and reframing our problems in different ways. And then opening up to ideation, and being okay with the absurd and with the ridiculous. Then being prickly again, to choose a small subset of ideas that we'll prototype and move forward and test. And figuring out how to give and get feedback in a structured way that's helpful and allows us to iterate in this process. And then we also talked about the different models and dialects of design thinking. And it really doesn't matter what the terms are, but basically be familiar with them, so that you can go between different cultures and organizations. And then we've also talked about the mind-sets of being a facilitator, right? You are a facilitator, you're a teacher, so you are imparting knowledge, but you're also leading by example, and also bringing people along. Maybe revealing a little bit one step at a time, so it's easier to grasp. And then you can also think about this mindset of the fitness instructor and deciding based on the culture, based on the group. Do you need to be more of a Yoga instructor, or more of a Boot Camp leader in terms of getting people to do things. And maybe it's a little bit of both, right? Being really strict about some things, about time, but then being really open-ended to make a culture that's accepting of some far out there ideas. And then finally, a review of the facilitation principles. There's not a whole lot of principles, but really just practice, practice, practice. Find a mentor that you can work under to do this stuff. Maybe somebody who's been facilitating longer than you, or just do it, just facilitate a group of safe people, where the risks are low. And then really get feedback too. Get that meta feedback about how you did as a facilitator. Think about these principles of progressive reveal. So you don't want to overwhelm people with too much detail, just give them a little bit at a time, be one step ahead of them. And also think about this framework of making a connection with you and your participants, with the participants and each other. Explain just enough, so that they can do something, so they can act. But don't over explain, in a way that gets people caught up in the weeds. Once they've done something, you can reflect, you can deconstruct it, you can make sense of it there. And then just repeat this process again. So those were some of my facilitation principles. Hopefully, I've given you guys a working definition of design thinking and the design thinking process, in a way that you can adapt and tweak to your own context. You've done the mastery class as an example with Niel and Cindy, so you could see how based on their team dynamics and their needs, we can mix and match a lot of these activities into a two hour time block, but then also expand it to more time, or repeat it with a different group. So, I'm Lee Sean Ho, I'm from FOOSA. Be sure to check out the special features, where there's examples, worksheets, and other documentation. Feel free to reach out if you need help, and want to bring us in for an in-house facilitation, love to do that. Looks like we have a little bit of time for final questions too if we want. Yeah, Matt. So, the question I had was, in most organizations I would imagine they follow a more antithetical process to design thinking, where they have employees present ideas, and those ideas get put up on a board, they all get individually interrogated, the ideas left standing are the ones that make it to flourishing. So, for people that are steep in that mindset, this represents a significant investment of time, process, with a somewhat uncertain outcome. In that, a lot of times the whole purpose of design thinking and the process dictates that, we do things like change, redesign, then meeting, to redesign, team building or onboarding, to further pull away from solutions that are already there. So, for those people who are steeped in a very solution focused, that kind of antithetical mindset. How do you talk to them about the benefit and value of design thinking as opposed to what they're doing now? Yeah. Sometimes you have to just show rather than tell. And so that's why it's helpful to have some of these two hour workshops, where it is an investment in time and money, but it's still a relatively small investment and you can just show. Right, I mean it's like having a pitch meeting, or going back and forth on a contract could take longer than just doing it, and showing them. And, one way to manage the expectations is like, we're not going solve team building and onboarding in a two hour workshop. This is just creative cross training. It may surface some actionable ideas to test, and a prototype, but the point of this is to really get the reframe in. There's plenty of things that don't require design thinking, if you're trying to build a better mouse trap, or if it's something that's about optimization. The whole point of these ideas and that sort of, the pliancy of the blowfish model, is re-thinking onboarding. Right, because onboarding may not involve just somebody's first day at the office. It could be before they even get to the office, or it could be something else completely. And if there's some out there idea's that help reframe the problem, then that's the value of something quick like this. But it's something to demonstrate, and bring people along the ride, rather than try to sell that value of this. I have a somewhat related question. With this process of following design thinking, and starting with, it's very exploratory. Do you find that people that say have hands against keyboards, like designers, project managers, and developers. Do you find this to be more effective for that group, or people who are making large decisions? Like going back to the metaphor you gave in the beginning, of we want to figure out what, you want to get from point A to point B, we're not going to say build a bridge, we're going to say cross the river. So, for the people that are just figuring out which rivers to cross, do you find that this is more effective process for them, or more for the people who are doing the busy work? I think a lot of the people who are hands to keyboards, for example, are used to also doing the low fidelity stuff. They're used to the post-it notes, they're used to the doodles and the sketches. And part of this cultural cross pollination, is to get the people who are more removed from that, maybe it's C-suite people, or people that don't come from an engineering or a design background where they're hands on with something, to get out of their heads and get out of the PowerPoints, to think something through. So, that was demonstrated I think in the other class, where we were actually designing for you, of scaling up your art practice, and we didn't have a whole lot of time to prototype something, and we didn't even have an idea before the prototype, we just had these general, kind of parameters. But because we had a short amount of time, we just had to build our way forward, and I think that's the mindset and the method to get people in the room. It's like, you're just building something forward, that's a scenario, that you can later critique and put it up on the wall, and make better. But like, there is value in a small amount of time, with a small group, building something, rather than trying to analyze our way forward.

Class Description

So you’ve done your homework and you now understand what design thinking is and the power it has to revolutionize the way you do business. But the only way it can really have an impact is if key players throughout your organization embrace design thinking principles and are willing to put them into practice.

Basically, you need to become a design thinking evangelist, coach and trainer. This course will instruct you on how to explain the method and mindset for creative problem framing and solving and show others how to implement this innovative process.

In this class, you’ll learn how to:

  • Make the case for learning design thinking.
  • Introduce and teach design thinking to others.
  • Facilitate engaging learning experiences.
  • Teach "mindset," not just "method."
  • Sustain interest and engagement throughout the training process.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Design Thinking Resources

Bonus Materials with RSVP

Getting Started with Adobe Stock

Ratings and Reviews

Student Work

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Darwin Antipolo

The course fits my need in supplementing my DT facilitation activities. It was well designed, paced properly and full of useful tips. Thank you!

Carlos Encalada

This follow-up to Lee-Sean's Design Thinking for Business Innovation helped me to strategize and envision how I would bring these principles into my agency context. I look forward to using his guidance during this workshop in a way that is appropriate to a community healthcare setting.


There is a lot of common facilitator knowledge and skills shared in this course. The course was useful for me and helped me connecting the dots.