Workability: Techniques for Better Design

Workshop Dates: July 11th – 15th, 2016

Keywords: brainstorming, team building, working with biases and assumptions, effective critique and feedback methods, reactive prototyping, observation and basic research interviewing

Buried in deadlines and overwhelmed by deliverables? Feel like you’re doing the same work over and over? In design, our world gets so busy with wireframes and personas that we don’t have time to work on the most basic of skills. But these “soft skills” – creativity, insight, empathy— are what make our professional lives easier and our work more fulfilling.

In this week-long intensive overview, you’ll encounter a wide variety of design exercises to help you refine and deepen your process. You’ll learn new ways to brainstorm, reconsider your approach to prototyping, develop more effective strategies for critique. All of this helps you to foster a more functional team experience overall. Everyone can benefit from this type of study, so this workshop is suitable for designers of all levels.

Learning expectations:

  • Develop an appreciation for diversity on teams
  • Use tools to rapidly integrate new team members or to norm entirely new teams
  • Identify biases and assumptions, and understand how they help or hinder your teams
  • Develop personal techniques for interdisciplinary collaboration, including working with biases and assumptions
  • Learn tools such as timeboxing to better structure your time and effort. This also includes retrospectives to help your team focus on what was learned and how to carry it forward into additional projects
  • Quickly identifying “workable” ideas within a team environment, when consensus seems difficult to achieve
  • Develop new vocabularies for observations in parallel and for communicating expectations and insights around those observations (problem statements into hypotheses)
  • Break apart perfectionist tendencies by embracing failure and by introducing check-in methods so creative work appears less “magical” and more process-driven

Prerequisites: Participants will need a camera for video (a mobile phone is fine).

Mary Sherwin
David Sherwin