Design Thinking Workshop

5 tips for a successful process


Are you going around in circles trying to design your first Design Thinking Workshop or do you need support? So if you find it difficult to integrate Design Thinking methods into your team or organization or if you need ideas, a Design Thinking Workshop can provide the required impact to support your team. No matter whether it is an extraordinary idea or an everyday challenge.

Desing Thinking Workshop

Design Thinking is an effective method to further develop processes, products and organizations. It is a co-created process that helps teams to innovate and solve complex problems. How? By developing ideas in a creative way that focus on the user of a problem, product or service.


The process


1. Explaining the design thinking game rules

The rules of the game help to provide the necessary framework for the workshop. Creative results are achieved within a very short time and participants can concentrate on what is really important: the ideas!

Time Boxing: There is a fixed time limit within which each specific  task must be completed
Ideas: Every idea is welcomed and must not be evaluated
Questions: There are no stupid questions! On the contrary, every question enriches the design thinking process
Free space: Creativity is desired and encouraged and can be based on unusual things.
Analog materials: The method requires nothing more than a pen, paper and other materials that participants can get their hands on, such as Lego or balloons. All forms od digital media are taboo.
Iterative Process: The phases are run through several times, if necessary, in order to always keep the user at the centre and to keep on  improving the result.

Design Thinking Regeln


2. Visualizing the Design Thinking Principles

For Design Thinking to work well in a team, it helps to adhere to certain principles. Visualise the Design Thinking principles easily on a flipchart or print out the “Design Thinking Principles Poster”. This ensures that all participants are aware of them. It helps them to approach things “differently”.

Design Thinking Principles

  • Build on others’ ideas together
  • Avoid evaluation of ideas and suggestions
  • Enable rapid failure to enable a rapid learning process
  • Always stay on the topic
  • Visualise your ideas on paper
  • Develop many ideas
  • Encourage participants to come up with wild, extraordinary ideas
  • Always keep the user in focus
  • Think outside the box


These principles enable creative and efficient work throughout the workshop.


3. Defining questions that can be helpful in solving  challenges in the workshop

Depending on the challenge, different questions can apply. Here are some examples of how the questions can be asked:

  • What bothers you in your daily work?
  • What is missing at your workplace?
  • If you could change one thing, what would it be?
  • What are your challenges?
  • A project failed, so what happened?


4. Orienting yourself on the 6 phases of the Design Thinking process

The of Stanford University defined six phases for the Design Thinking Process, which make a process successful. Conduct the Design Thinking Workshop along these six phases and in an iterative way.

  • Understand
  • Observe
  • Point of View
  • Ideate
  • Prototype
  • Test

Design Thinking Prozess


The first step is to understand what is at stake and what there should be a result for. In the context of a semantic analysis, the problem is first analysed and understood in detail. The easiest way to do this is to discuss the problem or issue deeply. The team shares its experiences and pursues the purpose. The content is explored, the stakeholders identified, and the challenge questioned so that everyone has a common understanding.



The second step is to correctly perceive the issues and problems from the user’s perspective. This is usually done by conducting interviews with different people within the organization, customers, affected persons, etc. This enables you to develop an empathy that helps you to ask the right questions. An effective method is to check whether one’s own assumption is valid or not. For example, one of the questions could be: “What’s stopping you from using the product so far?


Point of View

A combination of storytelling, clustering and persona forms the basis for this phase of the Design Thinking Process. Meaningful answers are created for different types of users (personas). These form the basis for the next step “finding ideas”.

Persona Template für Design Thinking Prozess



This phase is used to outline your ideas. Make a note of the main points by using the brainstorming questions to find answers,  discard ideas and find new ones. Different variations of ideas often arise that lead to an overall idea. The crazier the ideas, the better!

Design Thinking Ideation


Based on the results of the previous phases, prototypes are developed in this step. Different materials are provided for this purpose. In this way you support the communication and interaction in the team significantly. Consult with different team members, such as managers and stakeholders.

Prototyping im Design Thinking Prozess


Finally, share your results and use the feedback of the other workshop participants. Because that’s what matters now. This results in new insights that are valuable. Helpful methods for this are e.g. test planning, presentation and feedback grid.

Design Thinking Testing im Prozess

5. Allowing time for transfer and feedback

Ask your workshop participants what they liked about this process and what they would do differently next time. Encourage the participants to carry out a project or a situation in the future with this method.


Would you like to conduct a Design Thinking Workshop in your company?

Please contact us to explore what support we can provide or ask  us  questions:

Theresa Pfleghar Mirja Tekaat


 Antje Galitschke  Philip Schwidetzki



DOWNLOAD: Design Thinking Principles Poster

Simply print out the ➜  Design Thinking Principles yourself in DINA4 or DINA3 format and test them in your or our joint workshop!Design Thinking Principles Poster