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Goal Setting

Lesson 3 from: Become a Design Thinking Facilitator

Lee-Sean Huang

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Lesson Info

Goal Setting

In a class like this, you can think about your goals and what you can do in any given workshop or facilitation. At Fusa, we offer a variety of workshops. Some of theme are really short. They're a couple hours to half a day, and it's just an introduction to design thinking. We'll conduct some workshops with materials that are tailored to the organizations we work for, and sometimes they're based on some real-life challenge that they have, and other times, if we're just starting out, it's some challenge that's an everyday thing that's meant as a safe introduction to design thinking. We think about this as creative cross-training, right, so we might ask people to just redesign their morning routine or redesign their commute, redesign the airport experience, something that has nothing to do really with what they do in their work, but it's something that they experience all the time as a user, so they can understand things as a user and think about, if they had a magic wand, as a designer, ...

could they rearrange that experience in some way, and it's also just a safe entry point, right. You're not dealing with the politics of a given organization or the constraints of some existing business. You're just redesigning something as practice, and then, from there, you can ramp people up to design something that's more related to what they're doing. So this is a framework that I learned called the fish bone. I actually first learned about this when I was a teacher. So my very first job out of college, I was on the Jet Program, which is a program run by the Japanese government where you go and teach in Japanese schools. So I taught Japanese students English, and, in this fish bone diagram that we were taught to use, we come up with some sort of goal. Alright, so in the language teaching, it was some sort of grammar point, some sort of vocabulary that I wanted the students to learn, and then I moved backwards from that fish bone and think about different activities that build upon each other to get to that goal. So think about that with your design thinking activities. For two hours or a half day teaser, it's really just an introduction to experiential learning. It's really learning the vocabulary of design thinking, thinking about starting from discovery to definition to ideation, etc., and just being able to identify what these terms are and seeing things in action. That's enough time to do things like ideate with post-its or prototype with craft materials, whether it's popsicle sticks or molding clay, pipe-cleaners, low-fidelity prototyping. That gets you through about one round of that design thinking cycle. So that's a pretty reasonable goal in two hours to half a day. We also do workshops that are about two full days, and that gets you through one practice round of maybe going through the design thinking process once to redesign the morning routine, redesign the commute, and then there's about a day and a half where the students can go deeper into specific skills like conducting user interviews or prototyping, right, it gives you a little bit more time to practice specific skills and to spend about a day working on some internal design challenge. So we did one of these two-day workshops with a pharmaceutical company in New York City, and they had this problem with their internet, so it was an internal site that was being used by their sales reps, and they had built something that was six months delayed. It was something that was over-budget, and the things that had been built didn't really meet the needs of the sales reps that were supposed to use this tool, and so, after about two days, we were able to reset things. We're not gonna redesign their whole internet in two days, but we were able to bring in people from across the organization, from the sales reps to people on the business side, people on the tech team, operations, to create a low-fidelity prototype that reset what they were thinking, that really grounded them in the user needs of what these sales reps needed and what were these essential points, so two days is a good way to immerse people in a team, to focus their attention on something that may be delayed, it may be stuck, or they just don't know how to start in the first place. It's not gonna get you to something that's anywhere near an MVP, but it gives you a prototype that you can move on and refine and move forward. From there, we can go to longer facilitations or classes. After about two days, it becomes more of a course and less of a workshop or a facilitation. We've done week long intensives as well, so, over the summer, I worked with a team of cadets and of officers from West Point, the US military academy there, with the Army, and so, over one week, we were able to go through a couple different iterations of the design thinking process. First with starting with an everyday design challenge to then working with them on an internal challenge around knowledge management at West Point, and then they also did a third challenge, which was for a client, working with the Department of Veterans' Services in New York City to look at issues of outreach to veterans and how the city can do better outreach, and this is working with the cadets as designers, and so they had the chance to practice the skills of this design thinking process about three times in one week with a very short challenge to a medium-length challenge and then a longer challenge over a few days. So you see that you can scale these goals and these facilitations over time. And then, of course, I also teach full-on courses, so, at the new school, at the Parson School of Design where I teach, we also do a six-week, five-week class online where students also go through the design thinking process but at their own pace. So you can think about this as small, medium, large, and then rearrange the pieces together to meet these goals, and the goals could be a short-term goal starting with just be familiar with the basic terms and definition of design thinking and then longer term goals like being comfortable facilitating a group on design thinking all by yourself.

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Ratings and Reviews

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.

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