CHXD: Discovering Unmet Needs & New Solutions Through Participatory Design workshop

As organizations embrace design-led innovation, they sometimes struggle to reap the full value of human-centered design. Teams can find their interactions with customers limited only to the early research and late evaluation phases of the design process.

The work in between–when ideas are being generated–is often left to the internal team alone, and we risk missing the opportunity to discover some of the most valuable and customer-centered solutions.
Additionally, throughout the design process, it’s not uncommon to encounter:
A lack of stakeholder empathy for customers and their challenges
Difficulty reconciling customer’s behaviors (what customers say they do vs. what they actually do)
Challenges in identifying the most valuable opportunities (what customers say they want vs. what they actually need)

Participatory design brings customers into the heart of the design process. Also known as co-design or cooperative design, it serves as a technique for both the discovery and generative/brainstorming phases of a project, where the end-users of a product, service, or experience take an active role in designing solutions for themselves.

Understanding how someone would solve a challenge they’ve faced surfaces new insights about their experiences. This new information better informs how we focus our efforts, and the ideas users propose, serve as actionable inspiration for the solutions we’ll create. Whether designing for patients, providers, or other audiences, when we move past the challenge of designing for them and begin designing with them, we find the outcomes are more innovative and customer-centered.

With participatory design, your organization can:
  • Better understand the latent needs of customers that may not be uncovered by other forms of discovery or usability research
  • Develop deeper empathy for your customers and richer understanding of their experiences interacting with your organization
  • Bring focus to the pain points that have the greatest impact and generate awareness for the opportunities that might otherwise go undiscovered
  • Generate a larger and more innovative pool of potential solutions than a design team working alone
  • Bring customers into the design process, shifting away from “designing for” and toward “designing with”
In this session, you’ll learn:
  • The value participatory design can bring to your process
  • How to use participatory design in your organization, including hands-on opportunities to try out fundamental tools and exercises
  • How to frame the purpose of a participatory design activity and create design prompts that will generate the best results
  • How to choose which methods to use and when to use them
  • What to do with the outputs of participatory design that create actionable insights
Listen to the podcast!


By: Jen Briselli

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Contributed by:
Jen Briselli Managing Director, Experience Strategy & Design   Contact Jen

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