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Become a Design Thinking Facilitator

Lesson 6 of 12

Learning To Listen

Lee-Sean Huang

Become a Design Thinking Facilitator

Lee-Sean Huang

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Lesson Info

6. Learning To Listen

Lesson Info

Learning To Listen

Alright, so now I'm gonna break down some of the activities that I cover in my other class of design thinking for business innovation. And we'll talk about some of these principles of how I explain the activity and then how you can replicate the activity or remix the activity in your own context. So one of the activities we do in the other class is about learning to listen. And so this is another riff on the Five Why's activity or the artifact stories. And this reinforces the discover phase of the process of understanding people and users, what's in their head, what's in their hearts and what's in their hands. What are they doing. So with learning to listen, we introduce three mascots: Silent Sponge, Paraphrasing Parrot and Probing Puppy. And these are more mascots to help us understand how to conduct compelling interviews. So I introduce the mascot, Silent Sponge just means that as the interviewer, learn when to shut up. Paraphrasing Parrot means that you could use phrases like, "To p...

araphrase," or "So what I'm hearing is" "If I understand correctly" when you're interviewing somebody, you want to take some pauses to paraphrase what you're hearing and making sure that you're understanding correctly. And then finally there's Probing Puppy which is going deeper into the conversation. So this is where you could ask something like the Five Why's without literally repeating yourself so you could say, "Oh, could you tell me more about that?" "What do you mean by that?" "Can you give me a specific example or story that illustrates that point?" So you can introduce these three animals and then do an activity where the students interview each other or you can bring in a third-party guest speaker too, and have the students practice with that guest interviewee. We also send students out in the public to do intercept interviews which is a little scary, but also fun and it's good practice in terms of just talking to strangers and building rapport. In New York City, it's a little bit easier because we have that density and so we send students out and people are often busy but we tell them if somebody's wearing headphones or if their in a social situation they're probably less likely to want to talk to you, but if somebody's on a smoking break or somebody's just hanging out in the park just approach them and rather than thinking about it as, oh, try to get three interviews in an hour, we actually have them collect rejections. So we tell the students to collect at least five rejections or collect at least 10 rejections and so they're bound to get somebody who will talk to them about something. And so that's another activity you can do, also to break up the day a little bit, so if you're doing some sort of off-site or even on-site training, you want to leave the building. And that's another important part of design thinking too. You're doing your contextual inquiry where your users live or work. Understanding the context where you'll be designing so the intercept interviews or sending people out to conduct interviews is a way to practice that as well.

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.

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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.