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Design Thinking for Innovators Workshop

Design, Events, Industry Happenings / Off / August 21, 2018

As part of my ongoing professional development, I was lucky enough to attend the SOMA Design Thinking for Innovators Workshop, held at Riff and lead by the hugely talented, creative guru Nate Sturcke.

This workshop was a half day hands-on, outcome focused workshop – and man did it deliver! We learnt everything from being able to define design thinking, understanding how it can be used in an organisational context to identify solutions for our customers/clients through to successfully run an end-to-end design thinking process in the form of ‘The Wallet Project’, all of which I’m going to dive into a bit deeper for you below.

So, what is design thinking you may be asking?

Design thinking is a creative problem solving approach. It’s about starting with the people you’re designing for, then finding a creative solution to their problem using a human-focused lens, with empathy and purpose.

You need to dig deep and think about:

  • Desirability – Do people want this and does it solve the problem?
  • Viability – Is it sustainable?
  • Feasibility – Do we know how this can be achieved?

Thinking about these three aspects will lead you to a creative solution.

The process.

There are many variations to the design thinking process, as well as no set order. You’ll find that as you start moving through the process, you’ll head back to the start, jump to the end and back in the middle. This is a good and important part of the process – think of it as double checking to make sure your plan is bullet proof.

Here are some examples of the design thinking process:


After learning about this cool way of thinking, we put our brains (and hands!) to use and tackled ‘The Wallet Project’. We partnered up with someone in the group and took turns over a series of questions/activities to help identify their ideal wallet – which I was then to actually make a prototype of! There was a craft table, I repeat a CRAFT TABLE to do this – how cool!

The activities included interview stages where we were to ask our partner as many questions as possible, keeping in mind what we just learnt about the design thinking process. We then conducted a second interview where we dug deeper, really trying to get to the bottom of why they wanted what they wanted. After this we captured the findings and insights and identified exactly what they needed as simple as possible and why.

We started to get creative now and begun sketching out some of our solutions for our partners ideal wallet. Thinking big, then getting feedback and refining our idea. Once this was finalised, we jumped over to the craft table, took supplies such as colour card, popsicle sticks, magnets and googley eyes to name a few and built a prototype of the wallet. This was so much fun… but did I mention we only had seven minutes to build this thing?!

We took turns sharing our design solution and why around the group, there were some very creative ideas!









To finish off the workshop we came back to the reason behind ‘The Wallet Project’, breaking it down to the four elements of empathy and a Persona Canvas worksheet.

  • See the world through their eyes
  • Appreciate them as human beings without judgement
  • Understand their feelings
  • Communicate

As a graphic designer, I found this workshop extremely helpful and fun, but this workshop is not just for designers it’s great for anyone with big ideas and creativity to help arm you with the foundations of design thinking to apply to your business or life.

P.S. We had donuts! So, make sure you register for this workshop next time it’s happening! You can find out more on the SOMA website here.

Blog crafted lovingly by Ali (D) Collier, Senior Designer.

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