Content Areas

Design Strategy

Day 1


The structure of the Design Strategy day is organized around five themes—business alignment, defining customer value, core experience definition, core experience evolution, and delivering strategic guidance. We’ve designed this day to help you learn how to move quickly and confidently through ambiguous strategic questions toward concrete action. The day begins with:

  • An overview of key business strategy concepts
  • Translating business strategy into design strategy
  • A framework for strategic design work

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Getting Business Support

The first component of design strategy connects design work to business strategy in a way that wins support from the right stakeholders. We look at:

  • Identifying opportunities for business/design collaboration and diagnosing misalignment
  • A development model for design competency within organizations
  • Design-oriented frameworks for evaluating strategic options
  • A method and exercise for communicating valuable strategic options

Defining Customer Value

The next component of design strategy requires that an organization be able to articulate customer value and connect it with meaningful design constraints. This section covers:

  • Examples of differentiation through customer value
  • Frameworks for defining customer value
  • Customer value and the design process
  • A method and exercise for defining and evaluating customer value for the design process

Defining the Core Experience

The next component of design strategy requires a clearly articulated definition of the core user experience that reflects customer value and business constraints. We dive into:

  • Scope and strategy in digital products and services
  • The opportunities and pitfalls of a ubiquitous, cross-channel environment
  • Core enabling capabilities and end-user offerings
  • Minimum viable products
  • A method and exercise for defining the minimum viable experience

Evolving the Core Experience

The fourth component of design strategy takes the core experience and evolves it over time, defining what it means for both the end-user as well as the organization. We look at:

  • Scope and time in digital products and services
  • Examples of iterative product and service development
  • Organizations and the evolution of the core experience
  • A method and exercise for aligning the core experience with organizational need and market change

Delivering Strategic Guidance

A facility in design strategy is only one of the competencies that is necessary in today’s practice. We’ll look at the intersection of design strategy, research, interaction and service design to recap where and how strategy-oriented thinking and skills have the most opportunity to improve the outcomes of your work over the long haul. There will be time for both group discussion as well as Q&A.

Design Research

Day 2


The Design Research day is structured to give a framework for conducting effective user research. We’ll cover the research structure, data collection, data analysis, research findings, and giving design direction. Although we cover the execution of field research, this workshop emphasizes the hard work and value that comes before and after data collection. The day begins with:

  • The case for design research
  • The interplay between research and design
  • A framework for doing design research

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Principles of Design Research

Research is only effective if it is appropriate to the goals of the project and business. We will discuss ways to make sure that your research project is set up for success from the beginning. We’ll cover:

  • Uncovering project goals
  • Creating targeted research questions
  • A method and exercise for framing your research

Defining Research Objectives and Choosing Methods

The key to data collection is selecting the right methods. We’ll present examples with a focus on qualitative and contextual methods and cover developments in remote data collection. We’ll look at:

  • Prioritizing efforts and choosing methods
  • Planning for timelines and budgets
  • A method and exercise for managing and delivering your research

Smart Data Collection

Nearly all research requires fieldwork. Data collection is an art, so we’ll take some time to explore and improve your skills in the three most fundamental aspects of interviewing: Listening, asking questions and documentation. We’ll dive into:
  • The art of effective interviewing
  • What to look for when conducting design research
  • Effective field tools and tactics
  • A field research exercise

Efficient Data Analysis

Simply collecting data doesn’t automatically mean that you have learned much. We’ll discuss a number of ways to manage research data and turn observations into real insights. We’ll discuss:

  • Handling large amounts of research data
  • Real time data analysis
  • Pattern detection, analytic frameworks, and software tools
  • A method and exercise for managing large amounts of qualitative information

Representing Research Findings

How research findings are represented has a significant impact on how others take what you have learned and apply it. Effective communication is critical. We’ll tackle:

  • Creating representative models of research findings
  • Connecting research findings back to organizational objectives
  • Narrative and shared stories in research findings
  • A exercise in delivering qualitative research findings

Moving from Research to Design

A symbiotic relationship between research and design is a critical contributor to good design. We’ll end the day discussing how to make the transition from research outcomes to starting design work.

Service Design

Day 3


The Service Design day focuses on various ways of modeling and describing a service experience. These perspectives include modeling of the service system, describing the customer journey, and designing a blueprint to support the organization providing the service. We will discuss ways of determining the success of the service offering. We start with an introduction into the practice of Service Design.

  • Characteristics of Service
  • Defining Service Design
  • A Service Mindset
  • Why Service Design Matters

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Services Systems

It is important to understand the service ecosystem and relationships even if you’re only designing a single touchpoint within a channel. How do your customers get to you, and where do they go next? Understanding the tangible elements within the entire customer experience, as well as the relationships between them, helps ensure a consistent and successful service experience. We’ll look at:

  • Touchpoints
  • Relationships

Visualizing the Intangible

To best understand the experience of our customers, we need ways of visualizing the abstract concept of their experience.
We’ll cover:

  • A Customer Journey

Service Prototyping

An experience isn’t digital. Therefore, your ideation shouldn’t be constrained to that form alone. Service unfolds over time, sometimes involving many people, places, and things. With this in mind, we’ll explore alternative ways of brainstorming and prototyping the customer experience with:

  • Storyboarding
  • Storytelling
  • Modeling
  • Acting

Service Architecture

Once we’ve defined the service we’d like to deliver, we have to start thinking about the system that needs to exist to deliver upon that goal. We’ll discuss:

  • Service Blueprints

Service Execution

Executing service design requires engagement with multiple parts of the organization
and collaboration with business operations. During this segment, we will address the challenges of executing on service design strategy. In addition, we will work with a tool
to help designers think through and iterate potential business models for service
design using:

  • Business Model Canvas

The day will close with time for Q&A and discussion.

Interaction Design

Day 4


The Interaction Design day starts with a foundational outline of the practice of Interaction Design. We then quickly move into looking at the development of research-driven concepts, the prototyping and validation of those concepts, and the refinement and presentation of the concept proposal. We begin with an introduction to the theory and practice of interaction design:

  • Roots of Interaction Design
  • Methods of Interaction Design
  • Materials of Design
  • Design Criteria

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Insight to Concept

Many describe this stage of the design process as the “leap,” the point at which you move from research and insight into tangible and articulated design concepts. This part of the day will address:

  • Concept Sketching
  • Brainstorming Frameworks

Concept Validation

After generating and organizing sketches and initial concepts, we’ll discuss methods of quickly testing your ideas and iterating upon them. In this section we cover:

  • Customer Scenarios
  • User Flows
  • Storyboards
  • Rapid Prototypes

Concept Refinement

After testing, validating, and iterating and receiving your critique, it is time to bring your ideas to the next level of refinement. During this part of the day, project teams get ample work time and opportunities to receive one-on-one feedback from our teachers. This section will include:

  • Constraints
  • Patterns
  • Simplifying Strategies
  • Visual Communication

Bringing It All Together

A good idea isn’t worth much unless you can share it in a compelling way. This final portion of the day will focus on pitching and presenting your work. Topics include:

  • Rhetoric and Argumentation
  • Storytelling

The day will close with time for Q&A and discussion.