Who to include in your Design Thinking session
Your plans are coming together: You’ve decided to do an introductory Design Thinking lab for your organization. You’ve got an important innovation challenge, a flexible space for brainstorming, maybe even a date on the calendar. But who should you invite?
Choose future champions
Think strategically and look toward the long-term. Even if you only gather people together for a one-day Intro to Design Thinking session, by the end of that day you’ll likely have a few ideas you want to move forward in your organization.
The people who were in your lab — the ones who interviewed and observed real people, who brainstormed solutions for them, who prototyped an idea or two — will be your best champions in the future. Not only for the innovative ideas they develop, but for the use of Design Thinking in your organization.
The Design Thinking guest list
- Your organization’s “front lines.” Teachers, delivery people, software engineers — whoever creates your product or delivers your service.
- Your boss. And maybe her boss, too. Without executive support, innovative ideas have no room to grow. Invite key leaders to experience Design Thinking for themselves and demonstrate that your organization is serious about innovation.
- Doubters. Include the people in your organization who think this whole thing is a little nutty. (By the time they’ve been through the process, they’ll probably be the first to recommend Design Thinking to everyone else.)
- People who represent a mix of skill sets. No one knows everything. Bring in people with a range of viewpoints, like a math whiz from finance, a creative genius from marketing, and a cafeteria worker who provides customer service with a smile. Vary seniority levels, too. Design Thinking can take cross-functional collaboration to new levels, if you let it.
- Outsiders: If your work isn’t too confidential, include a few people who work in related fields but with whom you don’t get much chance to interact. Their ideas can help breathe new life into your work, and a Design Thinking session provides a meaningful opportunity to get to know people in your field.
You’ll usually want to cap a Design Thinking intro session at 25 to 30 people. If you’re working in groups, make sure to distribute people with different skills and personalities across them. Then watch as the groups move through the Design Thinking process, collaborating in new ways, forming new connections and innovating together.
Learn more about Design Thinking and The O’Briant Group at obriantgroup.com or follow us at @obriantgroup.