Learnings from facilitating the Design Thinking Workshop at Appsecco

What is Design Thinking?

Design Thinking is a way to build something keeping your user at the centre. Sounds super simple right?

You’d be surprised at how often we think we are designing for what our users need when we are actually designing for what we need from our users.

Design Thinking a good way to remind yourself of who you’re really building for.

The Design Thinking Workshop at Appsecco

I recently facilitated the Virtual Crash Course in Design Thinking (link) for a group of security professionals at Appsecco. It is a 90 minute hands-on workshop created by the Stanford d.school. The example problem in the workshop is to “Improve the gift giving experience of your user”.

In the case of Appsecco, we changed the problem and participants were challenged to design ways to “Improve the security learning journey” of their colleague.

The workshop introduces the participants to the five design thinking principles.

Five Principles of Design Thinking

  • Empathise
  • Define
  • Ideate
  • Prototype
  • Test

The hands-on session involves iterative, short sprints of interviews, ideation exercises, prototyping and feedback collection.

Appsecco team Design Thinking Workshop

The outcome of the workshop is to emphasise the importance of design thinking in building useful products/experiences. The participants get a structured framework that they can use. They also get ideas to start exploring for the problem that they set out to solve.

What I learnt from being a facilitator

My experience of conducting this workshop for Appsecco taught me a couple of things about Design Thinking.

Design Thinking is for everything

The original workshop offers an example problem to its participants which is “improving the gift giving experience” of your partner. I’ve since adapted this to tackle different problems for different groups of people - “improve the commute experience of your user”, “improve the communication experience of members in your team” etc. The end result of the workshops is not always a “product”, but a thoughtful solution/idea for the user.

Design Thinking is for everyone

I’ve often heard that “Design” is an artistic talent, that cannot be taught or learnt and that it is innate. And so product design is meant to be taken care of by a select group of people - possibly someone with Designer in their title. This is not true.

During the course of the workshop at Appsecco, I saw a group of people deep into Application Security designing pretty phenomenal and thoughtful ways for their partners to improve their leaning experience. One of them even designed an experience ending with a book as a result of their learning journey!

Design Thinking helps design be everyone’s responsibility.

Why do the workshop

You should give this workshop a shot when you (or your team) would like to:

  • get educated about the Design Thinking principles to apply it in your day to day
  • start brainstorming about a particular problem that you’ve been stuck with
  • learn new ways of designing products/solutions

The resources to faciliate the workshop are free and publicly available. It’s a 90 minute, highly effective session and you won’t be disappointed.

Disclaimer: Please try this at home! I conducted this with my family and we ended up spending a beautiful sunday afternoon designing gift giving experiences for each other. Bonus: Birthday shopping just became a lot easier!