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Design Thinking is a formal method for creative yet practical problem solving and solution generation. The concept of design as a way of thinking about the world, rather than simply of way of making things, has existed since the mid-1960s. Since then, a number of Design Thinking models have cropped up. Although there are small differences between each model, all models have in common the following: research, working with end users, empathy, open-mindedness, optimism, exploration of multiple possible solutions, prototyping and testing, and constant ideation and iteration. Design as a profession, trade, and or craft can take a lifetime to master, but anyone with a willingness to try Design Thinking can very quickly use and benefit from this method.

This workshop will include an ice-breaking Design Thinking exercise, followed by a brief overview of Design Thinking. We will then take part in two consecutive break-out sessions, where small groups will carry out clearly specified (and fun) Design Thinking exercises. Finally, attendees will, as a group, discuss their experiences and how they intend to apply what they have learned to their designs and processes. 

Ashley designed this workshop with the intention of bringing fun, joy, laughter, and honesty back into the design process. So many people step into the professional design world because of their love of design, which makes the loss of this love due to personal conflict, corporate red-tape, unabashed pursuit of profit, and or big egos very depressing. It seems that when groups of designers and stakeholders come together to solve design problems, brainstorm, and or ideate, it becomes a competition for the title of Highest IQ in the Room, and everyone looses sight of the design, the problem they are trying to solve, and the people they are trying to help. Ashley sees Design Thinking methods and exercises as a way of orchestrating these meetings so that groups of designers and stakeholders can love their jobs again, get along with their teams (perhaps for the first time), and accomplish what they set out to do, which is to make the world a better place through the things we make. Finally, Ashley believes that all the solutions to the world's problems are locked in our brains, and Design Thinking is a skeleton key that can unlock them. She wants to give you a copy of that key, because she can't save the world by herself. 


  • An understanding of what Design Thinking is
  • An understanding of how to "do" Design Thinking
  • Confidence that you will be able to apply Design Thinking techniques to your current designs and processes
  • To be re-invigorated and re-inspired about your designs and your job
  • To get along with your team
  • To never worry again about who has the highest IQ on your team
  • To learn how to create work and team environments where breadth-first rather than depth-first processing exists so that creative solutions to design problems can flow freely like lemmings following their strong biological urges to migrate
  • To progress a work related or back-burner design 


Watch Don Norman's TED talk, 3 Ways Good Design Makes You Happy, paying particular attention to what he says regarding depth-first and breath-first processing from 03:52 - 06:40. Read Wikipedia's entry on Design Thinking. If you have a work related or back-burner design project that you want to progress, bring it with you. That may mean you just bring your brain, but it could mean that you bring your computer or a prototype. Lastly, bring your favorite notebook / journal / sketchpad, pens, pencils, and camera.


Wednesday, March 18th, 6:30 - 9:30 pm


500 Yale Ave N, Seattle, WA 98109



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