Have you ever left a conference, or a training feeling like a new person? You’re excited, you’re equipped with tools and new knowledge, and you’re ready to revolutionize how you work. You have a head full of ideas and a notebook full of inspiration. You go to sleep anxiously thinking about all of the ways your new knowledge can be applied to your projects.
Then you wake up, set that notebook on your desk, and pick things up where you last left them. Your to-do list awaits you, along with a full inbox from being out of the office and back the grind you go.
It happens to all of us.
So how do we make the most of our learning experiences? Here are a few tips for those who have attended our Design Thinking workshop or are planning to attend:
- Post-session processing — Plan a little bit of time to think about the day and take notes on immediate action items or key takeaways. It can be hard to find time (and energy!) after a long day, but even 15 minutes while sipping your favorite beverage will be helpful.
- How does this apply to my work? — Keep this question in mind throughout the day and take notes on specific examples or projects to which you can apply the methods.
- Create accountability — Schedule debrief time with your team or a colleague to review key takeaway. This will ensure at least one more person hears your insights and will help you retain the information longer.
- Practice — Try at least one of the methods on an upcoming project and communicate with your larger team why you’re doing it and what you’re hoping to achieve. This will help you practice the methods while also introducing the concept to more team members.
- Report back to your leadership — Share what you learned and give specific examples of how you’re applying it to your work. Not only will this create accountability for you, but it will show your leadership that the workshop cost was a worthwhile spend, making it easier for you to borrow from the professional development fund again.
- Encourage other team members to participate — If it makes sense for your organization, and you enjoyed your experience, invite others to attend! The more your team is on board with a human-centered approach, the easier it will be for you to adopt. We also offer custom team experiences.
- Look for design problems — When you have an interaction at the grocery, at work, at the gym, or anywhere else you go. Ask yourself what are the opportunities to improve the experience? What touchpoint could have been executed differently to make things easier or more efficient? Looking at your world through this lens will help you see opportunities to apply your learning outside of the workshop.
- Join the DT community — Your workshop guide has resources available and links to other organizations in the field. Follow them on Twitter, check out their blogs, and keep the learning going!
Whether you tackle one of these recommendations or all of them — whatever you do, make it tangible. If you see opportunities to bring it to life, do it. Build it. Get it out in the open. People will notice, become curious, ask questions, and be eager to participate. Pull back the curtain, and let it be seen. Doing so will make design thinking less of a mystery, and instead, part of history!