Tag Archives: workshop

Facilitating design workshops a.k.a. how to plan a Kick-off meeting that doesn’t suck

11 Jan

Source: Smashing magazine Becoming A Better Facilitator

Start with

  1. OUTCOMES & GOALS – What is the purpose of the Workshop?
  • Who?
  • What do they already know that they can contribute with?
  • also, anticipate how to avoid pitfalls: managing preconceptions, 1-2 persons dominating conversations


Rather than a Meeting, Kicks-offs can be “WORKING MEETINGS

Top Advice: Be yourself. Find a style that works for you. But don’t be afraid to try other styles and stretch yourself (ie rather than always being a good listener, being more bold)

Range of types of activities
Open: Free discussions
Semi structured: Framework, guiding questions
Structured: Activity sheets, guided activities

Mixed activities
Hands on: energizing to move around, and to “see” things taking shape
Individual: some people think better alone, larger range of ideas (early ideas don’t steer the convo)
Team breakouts: sometimes necessary in order to get fast progress


1 Facilitator + 1 Note Taker
Don't transcribe everything, instead record Key decisions → Actions 


Source: Good Kickoff Meetings 


“Frontload” – interview your stakeholders before the meeting

Exercises during the kickoff
“Values / show & tell” – provide examples (for example, if going to discuss Value of Visual design, provide examples of beautiful typography, grids)
Assemble (visual) materials, examples that participants can respond to during the kickoff
Involve participant by having hands-on prototyping activities