The Super 6 — A Design Thinking Workshop

‘The Super 6’ is a digital-first framework for rapid, collaborative ideation. Inspired by Jake Knapp’s ‘Crazy 8', I created this 30 minute workshop as a tool to start solving a real-world problems in an engaging way.

Remote working has become the new normal, and therefore there is a need for digital tools that can be leveraged to help draw conclusions from the rapidly evolving world we live in.

Design Thinking

There is no single definition for design thinking. It is an idea, a strategy, a method, a mindset, a way of seeing the world. It is a human-centered approach used to solve problems, to tackle the unknown with curious confidence and new perspectives.

Design thinking is a non-linear iterative process with 5 core stages.

What I did

As facilitator, my role was to create the conditions for ideas to flourish, ensuring the workshop flowed and that the participants were engaged in the process. The Super 6 guides participants through a sequence of activities to arrive at a clear conclusion. I will take you through my process below.

Defining the problem

As a first step, a problem needed to be defined. A statement that details the current state and desired outcome (without including a solution). I decided to focus on biodiversity, more specifically:

HMW… create a sense of connection to and engagement with the natural world, to inspire action that will increase the global population of bees?

Creating a Structure

Like any good story the workshop needed a beginning, middle and an end. I designed the overall structure to reflect the British Design Council’s double diamond process model — to facilitate divergent and convergent thinking.

Choosing a Tool

The tool of choice was Mural — a shared canvas perfect for virtual settings as it allows communication and visual thinking in real time. It is also possible to timebox all activities to keep the workshop running smoothly.

All participants in this exercise were familiar with Mural, therefore it meant using it was frictionless. With a new group, additional time would be required to walk through key functionality.

Checking-in

A fun warm up, broadly linked to the workshop problem statement. For this problem I asked “If you were an animal, what would you be and why”, inviting participants to drop in an image from the web search function. This was perfect for bringing everyone mentally into the space.

Discovering the Problem

To open, I spent time to clarify the context, the goal, and empathize with the user, to ensure that all participants have foundational knowledge to build upon in the rapid ideation phase. Adopting a beginner’s mind, participants are encouraged to remain open and curious throughout the process.

I provided a high-level overview of the problem to provide context. As part of this I used IDEOs postcard from the future, to make clear what the vision was in a fun and engaging way.

Given the context, I set out the goal of the workshop in concise bullets. The purpose was to get everyone aligned, as this is critical to success. Pausing to ask if there were any questions before moving on helped to validate this.

Before the ideation phase, I thought it was important to empathize with the user. Staying focused on the people you are designing for, allows you to find optimal solutions that meet their actual needs. Given the time restraints I create an empathy map in advance, however, I invited the participants to add to it. I found this moment of reflection a great way to encourage everyone to engage with the prospective user and extrapolate on top, making it their own.

Framing the Problem

With the context and empathy map shared, we collectively reviewed the problem statement. This was to get everyone bought into and understanding the problem. In the workshop with my learning team, the problem statement was simplified to “HMW… increase engagement, the level of engagement with the natural world, to help increase the global population of bees”. The participants were happy with this adjustment and felt comfortable to move forward.

Ideation and Divergent Thinking — The Super 6

Participants had 6 minutes to document 6 ideas with the use of images and words. 1 minute per idea. This exercise supported divergent thinking for concept ideation. 6 ideas per participant worked well. Given more time, I would have opted for 8 ideas in 8 minutes — as this phase is all about quantity, giving participants permission to explore lots of different possibilities. “The way to get good ideas is to get lots of ideas”, so the more the merrier!

Participants were encouraged to think big, think bold and they were encouraged to zoom in to their individual workshop to allow for independent thinking.

Assessing the Viability

To activate convergent thinking, participants were then invited to present their top 2 ideas and plot these on an impact v difficulty matrix. 30 seconds per idea. This exercise is a checkpoint for feasibility.

As turn taking can be more difficult in remote settings, to enable a smoother flow I called on participants one by one to present.

Voting to find a solution

Once the top 2 ideas from each participant were presented and plotted on the matrix, all participants were given 3 votes each. As there were only 3 participants, I gave them multiple votes to help achieve a critical mass of consensus. The vote values could be used a on a proposed solution as 3, 2–1 or 1–1–1 points.

With one minute on the clock, votes were placed and a decision made on which idea to develop further. The ‘winning’ solution was then copied across to the podium and the ideation session was complete.

Checking-out

To close, participants checked-out and rated the session. I previously had a section for final comments, however I merged this with the check-out as it did not seem necessary to include as a separate section.

Closing Thoughts

  • The workshop ran over by 5–6 minutes. With an external/new team I expect this would take more time. I would therefore position the workshop at 45 minutes. Reducing the time for the Super 6 would limit the number of ideas generated.
  • A timeboxed session of 30–45 minutes is great intensive burst to keep energy and engagement high, and extract some concrete conclusions. With the right tools, it is impressive what can be achieved in a short space of time.
  • Overall this exercise was a lot of fun and I look forward to designing and facilitating more workshops in the future!

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