Design Studio Workshops: Ideation, Problem-Solving, and the MVP
Read time: 4 minutes
“Alone, we can do so little; together, we can do so much.”
What Is a Design Studio?
A design studio is a UX workshop combining divergent and convergent thinking in an ideation process, focusing on finding solutions to a problem, and providing the platform to aid prototyping efforts. It combines brainstorming, setting priorities, and adjusting solution demands in a fast, energetic, and collaborative environment. Several refer to design studios as design sprints, UX workshops, etc.
Design studios include diverse perspectives, provoke ideation in a short time, and thus can be included in Agile design environments, facilitating team direction.
In my practice, I use the following “innovation flow” chart to guide me in the design studio process (see Figure 1).
Figure 1: Description of the innovation flow process followed in a Design Studio Workshop.
How to set up a Design Studio Workshop?
In my experience, there are essential steps and preconditions to have an effective design studio workshop.
First, be clear about the design studio’s objectives and your expectations (deliverables). Even though you will engage the participants in an ideation process, organizing the discussion content in several paths (themes) in advance is critical. These themes are dimensions of the overall issue that you attempt to understand. For each of these themes, you may have several topics (sub-themes) that allow you to fragment the participants’ thinking in the divergent stage.
Second, identify the appropriate stakeholders needed in the design studio. These could be the product manager, innovation manager, marketing manager, and all other employees with a stake in the process.
Third, design specific templates and hands-on material for the design studio. Generally, I create these templates for each dimension I want to explore. These templates could be profiles, flowcharts, perfect match tools, deep tools, path to excellence, matrix designs, cause-effect Ishikawa diagrams, Walt Disney chart, etc. Figure 2 shows some examples of manual charts and templates.
About the Author
Carlos M Rodriguez is an Associate Professor of Marketing and Quantitative Methods and Director of the Center for the Study of Innovation Management, CSIM in the College of Business, Delaware State University, USA. His publications have appeared in the Journal of Business Research, Journal of Business to Business Marketing, Journal of International Marketing, International Marketing Review, Management Decision, International Journal of Business and Social Sciences, Journal of Business and Leadership, and Journal of Higher Education Research & Development among others and several conference proceedings. Currently, he serves in the editorial board of several journals. His research interests are in the areas of entrepreneurship and strategic capabilities, luxury branding and experiences, product design and new product development teams, and relationship marketing. He recently published the book entitled Product Design and Innovation: Analytics for Decision Making centered in the design techniques and methodologies vital to the product design process. He is engaged in several international educational, research, and academic projects, as well, as, international professional activities.
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