Inspire Your UX Team With These Design Thinking Workshop Examples


design thinking workshop example

Do you want to motivate and inspire your UX team to solve problems with user empathy? Have your team members lost their confidence or doubt their abilities?

When your design team hits a slump, it feels frustrating and stagnant. The once dynamic and creative atmosphere feels forced and uninspired. Perhaps your team’s overall energy and enthusiasm have declined. There might be a sense of dissatisfaction or a struggle to find innovative solutions. Try one of these design thinking workshop examples. It’s just the fire that ignites design teams into creativity!

We know what it feels like to feel stuck trying to solve the wrong problem. That’s why we use design thinking! Design thinking not only discovers the right problem empathetically but solves it innovatively.

It’s important to address negative emotions and find ways to reignite creativity and motivation within the team.

Choose from a design thinking workshop example to experience what it feels like to: 

  • empathize
  • define the right problem
  • arrive at the right questions
  • writhe through ambiguity until that clarifying a-ha moment

With design thinking your team will feel inspired to design for users in ways they never have before. And have a lot of fun doing it!

What is Design Thinking?

Design thinking is a creative problem-solving (and discovering) approach that puts users first. It encourages teamwork and cross-functional team collaboration. Additionally, it involves trying, learning, and improving ideas. All done to come up with innovative solutions.

It’s all about understanding people’s needs, working together, and making things better step by step. Empathy is at the very heart of design thinking.

 When you genuinely get to know a user and feel what they feel…the solutions are easy.

Benefits of Design Thinking Workshops

Design thinking workshops offer numerous benefits to organizations.

Consider organizing a design thinking workshop to reignite creativity and motivation.

 Here is what a successful workshop can do for your design team: 

  • refocus on user needs
  • generate diverse ideas
  • collaborate as a team
  • prototype and test solutions
  • encourage risk-taking

This process will help you regain purpose. It also explores fresh perspectives and learns from failures.

By taking action and embracing the design thinking approach, you can overcome the slump and create a positive and innovative environment for your team. The collaborative nature of design thinking workshops also fosters a positive culture within the organization.

 Remember, the key is to keep moving forward and never stop seeking inspiration!

Preparation for a Design Thinking Workshop

To prepare for a design thinking workshop within your UX team, start by clearly defining the goal or outcome you want to achieve from the workshop. Gather relevant background information and insights about the users and their needs.

Next, ensure you have a diverse team with a range of skills and perspectives. Encourage team members to come prepared with their own research or ideas related to the user you’re solving for.

Set up a collaborative and creative environment with ample materials and tools for ideation and prototyping.

Lastly, establish a clear agenda and time frame for the workshop. Communicate expectations to the team in advance.

You’re now ready to foster a productive and innovative design thinking session with your UX team!

Key Roles in Workshop Design Thinking

In a design thinking workshop, assign roles within your UX team that play essential parts in the collaborative process. These roles can also inspire your team members and give them a boost of confidence.

Facilitator: A facilitator takes the lead, and guides the workshop. They ensure smooth progress. They set the agenda, create a safe and open environment, and challenge assumptions. This stimulates creative thinking. The facilitator encourages active participation. They ensure that everyone’s ideas are heard and respected.

Scribe: A scribe plays a crucial role in capturing and documenting the workshop’s discussions and outcomes. They record key insights, ideas, and decisions. This ensures all is not lost. The scribe may use tools like a whiteboard, sticky notes, or digital note-taking. All tools to document the workshop’s progress. By maintaining accurate records, the scribe helps the team stay focused. They help recall important details and refer back to valuable information should a team slump dares creep back in.

Participants: They are the heart of the workshop! They have the responsibility to actively engage and contribute their ideas and inspirations openly. Participants need to embrace a mindset of collaboration, empathy, and openness to diverse viewpoints. By actively participating, they help generate a diverse range of ideas. They foster teamwork and collectively drive the design thinking process towards innovative and user-centric solutions.

The Man in the Van: The “Man in the Van” plays a vital role in ensuring the smooth running of a design thinking workshop. This person is responsible for managing the supplies and materials needed during the workshop. They make sure that all the necessary tools are readily available. Sticky notes, markers, prototyping materials, and other resources, should be readily available to participants.

Additionally, they help troubleshoot any technical or logistical glitches that may arise. They ensure that everything runs seamlessly!

The Man in the Van enables participants to focus on the design thinking process without interruptions. Their support contributes to a productive and engaging workshop experience for all involved.

Setting Objectives for the Workshop

Setting clearly defined objectives in a design thinking workshop is crucial. It opens up communication that addresses the slump. It also provides focus and direction for the participants. Guiding them toward achieving specific outcomes is the goal.

For example, let’s consider a company aiming to enhance the user experience for its customers. By establishing the objective of improving user experience, the workshop participants have a clear goal to work towards.

Additionally, the clearly defined objective allows participants to measure the success of their workshop outcomes. By having specific and measurable objectives, participants can assess the effectiveness of the solutions generated during the workshop.

Overall, setting clear objectives in a design thinking workshop, such as focusing on improving user experience, helps provide a common direction.

Gather the Right Workshop Participants

When gathering participants for a design thinking workshop, consider these key recommendations: 

  • keep the group size manageable
  • ensure a diverse representation of experts
  • designate a decider for efficient decision-making 

A diverse group fosters creativity. It involves those who have attempted to solve the problem before and brings valuable insights. With these considerations, you can assemble an effective workshop team for generating innovative and user-centric solutions.

Design Thinking Workshop Examples

Now that you have the nuts and bolts of design thinking workshops, let’s get to a specific design thinking workshop example.

There are several different ways you can hold a design thinking workshop. It depends on factors such as the size of the group, time constraints, resources available, and the desired outcomes.

Remember, the choice of workshop format should align with your goals, constraints, and the preferences of the participants. You can also combine different formats based on the specific requirements of your design thinking workshop

In-Person Workshop

In-person Workshop: This traditional format involves gathering participants in a physical location. A meeting room or a dedicated workshop space is suitable. It allows for face-to-face interactions, collaboration, and hands-on activities. In-person workshops are ideal for fostering deeper connections, facilitating immediate feedback, and promoting a high level of engagement among participants.

Virtual Workshop

Virtual Workshop: Conducting a design thinking workshop online is increasingly common. It allows participants to join remotely from different locations. Virtual workshops can be conducted through video conferencing platforms, collaborative online whiteboards, or specialized design thinking software. Don’t forget about the growing popularity of VR! Make sure to use digital tools that facilitate idea-sharing, collaboration, and real-time communication. Virtual workshops are convenient for remote teams or when in-person meetings are not possible.

Hybrid Workshop

Hybrid Workshop: A hybrid workshop combines both in-person and virtual elements. Some participants may attend in person, while others join remotely. This format enables the benefits of face-to-face interaction for those present while accommodating remote participants. Hybrid workshops require careful planning to ensure seamless collaboration and equal participation from all attendees, regardless of their location.

Design Sprint Workshop

Design sprint: A design sprint is an intense, time-boxed design thinking workshop that typically lasts for a few days. It compresses the design thinking process into a shorter timeframe to accelerate decision-making and prototype development. Design sprints involve intense collaboration, rapid ideation, and quick prototyping. This format is suitable when there is limited time available or when you want to achieve rapid results.

Iterative Workshop

Iterative Workshops: Design thinking is an iterative process, and workshops can be conducted in multiple sessions spread over a more extended period. Each workshop session focuses on a specific phase of the design thinking process. For example, problem definition, ideation, prototyping, or testing. This approach allows for deeper exploration and more thorough iterations as participants have more time to reflect, research, and refine their ideas between sessions.

Pop-up Workshop

Pop-up Workshops: Pop-up workshops are shorter, focused sessions that can be conducted within a larger event or as standalone sessions. These workshops provide a brief introduction to design thinking or target specific aspects of the process. They are useful for creating awareness, sparking creativity, or generating quick ideas around a particular topic or challenge.


A design thinking workshop can break the creative slump and involves:

  • understanding the problem
  • generating ideas
  • creating prototypes
  • testing
  • gathering feedback
  • implementing the solution

No matter which design thinking workshop examples you choose, it’s a collaborative process. When done right it fosters creativity, empathy, and iteration.

The most important thing to remember when participating in a design thinking workshop is to have fun! It should be a bit of a break from the normal way of discovering and solving problems. Any UX team will gain a newfound enthusiasm for problem-solving!

Written by Amanda Julander

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