My SogetiLabs colleagues Sergio Compean, David Yancey and I recently hosted our first dHackathon (design thinking hackathon) for the consultants in our Sogeti North Texas office. When you hear the word hackathon you may think programming, but this event was purely focused on learning early stage design concepts (empathize, define, ideate, prototype, test).
We had 21 participants. Much to everyone’s delight the dHackathon was a huge success. Participants learnt a great deal about the design process which had been a mystery. We had designers, developers, project managers, testers, administrators and business people attend from practices as diverse as Digital Transformation, Infrastructure, Software Development & Integration, and Testing. To have a little fun we had a small batch of t-shirts made up and everyone purchased their own.
Within 90 minutes of the start of the event everyone had paired up to complete a mini-version of the design thinking process end-to-end. Over the rest of the day teams formed to ideate and create some amazing UX (user experience) designs as low fidelity mockups on paper, wipeboard and in mockup tools like Balsamiq and UXPin. The solutions they built hold the promise of becoming future solutions for our local clients.
We used the design thinking content and exercises from Stanford’s d.School which makes it easy to get going. You can run design thinking sessions with your teams and customers that are as short as 90 minutes to as long as a day, weekend or week. This approach can even be integrated into traditional training or strategy sessions to provide a more immersive outcomes-focused experience.
Here is a complete dHackathon starter kit with templates from our event that you may customize to host your own event. Below I have included some quick lists, graphics, videos, and links to promote the event. These resources should help you get your own dHackathon up and running quickly.
What Is Design Thinking?
- Empathetic and experimental approach to problem solving
- Creative and iterative development of innovative solutions
- Initial problem and final goal may change during the process
- Alternate paths and hidden parameters are discovered
Design Thinking Improves Customer Experience & Sales
- Build your empathy and listening skills to truly hear the voice of our customers/clients
- Learn how to ideate with customers/clients to deepen relationships and expand projects
- Gain creative confidence to innovate with your customers/clients
- Expand opportunities from technical stop gaps to complete solutions
- Increase your profitability and growth
What Will You Do?
- Experience the process of Design Thinking in a short 90min exercise at the beginning of the day
o Pair up with a colleague to solve a simple design challenge
- Learn the Design Thinking process in depth by completing a session throughout the day
o Form a team to solve a more realistic design challenge
- Learn techniques from industry user experience designers and information architects
What Will You Learn?
- Learn the design thinking process driving critical decisions by business leaders today
- Add to your skills by learning industry leading design tools and techniques
- Create mockups that could be built into prototypes and enhance your portfolio/resume
Design Thinking Links
- Video: What is Design Thinking? (2 min)
- dHackathon Event Design Kit (download the free Field Guide and review to prepare for the weekend)
- Stanford dSchool – Virtual Crash Course in Design Thinking
- dSchool Hack-a-thon
- dHackathon Starter Kit with Templates