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Workshop Whitebox A collection of tools for improving workshop planning and facilitation Yiqiu Wang

Yiqiu Wang Email: Web page: Blog:

Master of Design for Services 2014 Duncan Jordanstone Collage of Art and Design University of Dundee

Executive summary Workshop Whitebox is a project that offers a better designed planning and facilitation for design-led workshops. This project developed from the Hospital to Home project which is being conducted by the Institute for Research and Innovation in Social Services (IRISS) in the context of improving the experiences of older people transitioning from hospital to home. It was identified through the involvement in co-design workshops with IRISS, that conducting workshops requires elaborate planning and preparation.    This created a niche opportunity for the designer to explore how workshop planning and facilitation could be better guided and simplified for people who need assistance in preparation for workshops irrespective of their field of interest.   The designer took a Service Design approach to recognise the core needs of users, understand key aspects of workshop facilitation and planning to create what is now a complete package called ‘Workshop Whitebox’ that offers both a guide and a checklist for beginners.   The two elements of the Workshop Whitebox website are the All-in-one Super Kit, a detailed guide and the AEIOU Checklist that summarises all aspects of workshops into 6 simple categories of Activity, Environment, Interaction, Object and Users.   Although this has been proven useful for beginners, there is an opportunity to expand the services of the Workshop Whitebox to cater to the needs of experienced and expert users in both design and non-design fields. 

Contents 1.0 Context


1.1 Project Introduction


1.2 Methods


1.3 Secondary Research

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2.0 Research 2.1 Primary Research

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2.2 Workshop Participation ······················································································17

3.0 Ideation 3.1 Methods

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3.2 Refinement


3.3 Iterative Process


3.4 Rethinking


4.0 Final Design 4.1 Description 4.2 Final Test and Reflection

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5.0 Next Step




1.0 Context 1.1 Project Introduction With the ever-increasing ageing population in the UK, there is a rising need for professional care for older people. However there is a lack of availability of health and social care to meet the growing needs of the population. In order to have a sustainable health and social care system, there needs to be a radical change in the way care is provided today which has been recognised by the Scottish Government, prompting them to introduce a new agenda called ‘Reshaping care for Older people’. Institute of Research and Innovation in Social Services (IRISS) is an independent organisation in Scotland, funded by the Scottish government. IRISS has undertaken a project titled ‘Hospital to home’ which aims at re-designing a positive pathway for older people going from Hospital to Home. IRISS has taken the approach of co-design workshops to closely understand the working of the health and social care system, identify problem areas and create solutions along with older people, carers and professionals from Health and Social Care. 


IRISS leads this project which spans across 20 months until March 2015 that involves 8 co-design workshops conducted every month between May 2014 and Jan 2015. The designer was initially a part of Homeward Bound design team that was working in a collaborative partnership with IRISS within the Hospital to Home project. The Design team actively took part in assisting the Project lead of IRISS in facilitating the first four workshops that fell in the problem discovery and problem defining stage. Our role as a design team was to support in facilitation and design additional activities for people to engage with at home as a reflective process following every workshop.


Being a part of these Co-Design workshops, the designer, at an early stage identified that there is an elaborate process of planning and preparation that forms the ground work of a successful workshop. This led to the designer to branch out further from the Homeward Bound team’s project focus and explore the opportunity to create a product or service that supports people to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of workshops. A workshop is a creative way of involving people in activities that allow sharing of knowledge in a particular area that is of interest to all the participants. It is different from the usual oneway instruction way of knowledge exchange that can often be monotonous and tedious. Workshop can be fun and engaging if planned well in advance in the intent of creating a positive and enjoyable experience for the participants.


Workshop here requires a 'Design Thinking' approach which is a systematic thinking and iterative process (Liedtka and Ogilvie, 2011). Design Thinking For Educators pointed out that Design thinking is about believing we can make a difference, and having an intentional process in order to get to new, relevant solutions that create positive impact.(IDEO, 2014). The Workshop Whitebox project was started to support and build confidence of people who would like to set up workshops (facilitators) and keep their user at the centre of focus while designing the workshop. The ‘Workshop Whitebox’ title is inspired from whitebox testing which refers to internal structures or working of software. The aim is to provide a tangible outcome for users to build their workshops.

Workshop Whitebox

The Beginners Based on the Hospital to Home project and field research, facilitators can be broadly divided into three groups—Beginner, Experienced and Expert. ‘The Beginners’ have never run workshop before and lack the confidence and related knowledge to establish a workshop.  ‘The Experienced’ have experience but need capability of controlling the workshop and participant engagement. ‘The Experts’ have abundant knowledge and can cope with different situations. For different groups, different aims and challenges would be discussed in this report.

The Experienced

The quote by Professor David Liang “The client liked the fish. Next time give them the net.” (Brown and Katz, 2009) is self- explanatory of the value of the Workshop Whitebox. The Workshop Whitebox, in addition to being a tool that enables in achieving goals, aims to help people to continually enrich their skills as a facilitator.

The Experts


1.2 Methods To evaluate the value of this project in the real world it was important to first frame a business question. In a broad sense, it was phrased as: How can we support a better designed planning and facilitation for workshops? In order to focus the research in this area, the designer broke this question down into several research questions: (1) What challenges or problems do facilitators face? (2)  What should be prepared and considered in planning stage? (3)  What is physically needed in the workshop? (4)  How should the right tools be used in a creative way to cater to different participants and situations? (5)  How to get feedback and improve workshop? (6)  How do facilitators learn from others?


These design questions helped the designer find the real problem areas and narrow down the project focus. This was a good start to the research phase, however it was found that it was not sufficient to guide through the whole process. A clear structure and process was needed to move forward.

The designer followed the Double Diamond Process introduced by the design council as part of her planning process for this project.’It is a simple way of mapping the design process” (Design Council, 2014). There are four phases in Double Diamond: Discover, Define, Develop and Deliver.




Reading + Interviewing

Finding problems



Discovering ideas & Low-fidelity output




Test & High-fidelity output

In relevance to this project, The designer framed it as below Discover: information of workshop planning and facilitation Define: real problems when people setup workshops Develop: ideas for solution Deliver: Usable output to improve workshop planning and facilitation


1.3 Secondary Research Choosing by customers Customised services are gaining  a strong position in today’s world. The dynamics of business have evolved from being hierarchical to being more networked and socially connected. New methods and tools were developed in an open vision for innovation. Service Design Toolkit provided a sharable package of service design templates for improving the quality of services (Namahn, 2014). Business Model Brainstorm Kit delivered a visual language and editable way to brainstorm complex business modules (Board of Innovation - "We make Corporates innovate Like Startups", 2014). The BOAT model uses a metaphor with objects that have both possibilities and constraints. It challenges the participants to think and rethink their understanding of the situation by working through the analogy created with the boat and other props (Clatworthy, 2014). As shown above, several new products showed the customised services play more important roles in the business world. This further evidenced that users of Workshop Whitebox could be offered customised services which is an upward moving business trend.

The BOAT Image from How to get a leader to talk: Tangible objects for strategic conversations in Service Design (Clatworthy, 2014)

Business Model Brainstorming Kit Image from Board of Innovation website (Board of Innovation "We make Corporates innovate Like Startups", 2014)


Communication with users These services share a common feature: ease of communication. This means that users can understand, use and share these services easily. The best way to help users or even prospective clients to understand the usefulness of Workshop Whitebox, is to give an example. By telling the story of a situation where it was successfully employed, we can demonstrate the value of Workshop Whitebox to the user. Communication tools for service design (Diana, Pacenti and Tassi, 2009) indicated that visualisation in maps, action flows, images and narratives are the main tools for communication. Visual and effective communication are fundamental to the development and also the use of Workshop Whitebox.

and programmes” (Thomas, n.d.). Now, workshops are used not only in the field of Design but also in public and private sector organisations for event and meeting management, recruitment and education.

Value of Workshop (Whitebox)

However, most of the guides and support for workshop planning in books or papers are suggestions for preparation or for specific activities. Workshop planning is essential to the whole process, however, there is little emphasis on it in the literature. Although some of books and papers offer templates to support workshop planning complete, systematic worksheets the guide the user through the entire process not currently available. This triggered the designer to develop Workshop Whitebox with a user-centred approach to enable good, consistent workshop planning even by the most inexperienced of users.

Participation is key to workshops. “In the UK, Participatory Learning and Action (PLA) approaches are increasingly used in a range of community-based poverty and regeneration projects – whenever the active participation of the community is prioritised. By utilising visual methods and analytical tools, PLA enables all community members to participate, regardless of their age, ethnicity or literacy capabilities. The status of participatory workshop could be promoted because it could be used in identifying needs, planning, monitoring or evaluating projects

The value of workshops is that they are human-centred, engaging, collaborative, optimistic and experimental. These capabilities are essential for innovation and growth in the 21st century.It is evidenced by Education Scotland that has taken a similar approach to build up challenge and motivate learners, help them take responsibility for their own learning and develop new thoughts and ideas.


2.0 Research

The development of Workshop Whitebox was not only about creating a tool to support anyone to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of their workshops, but was also about guiding users to improve their knowledge and understand of workshops to help them use workshops again in the future. It was decided that the primary research target should cover beginners, experienced people and experts and by using a semi-open, semi-structured format it was possible to guide beginners whilst affording freedom to those more experienced. First, the needs of these three different markets (beginners, experienced users and experts) can be established. Second, the valuable experiences can be extracted from users of different backgrounds and levels of knowledge during primary research. Third, the path of user development from beginner to experienced to expert can be mapped out by comparing the different markets.

Picture of interview preparation


The primary research included two different ways of capturing data: interviewing and workshop participation. Thematic analysis, impact mapping, mind mapping, service blueprints and low-fidelity prototyping were the methods used in primary research. These methods are detailed in section 2.1.

2.1 Interview 1. Questions—data gathering The interviews involved beginners, experienced people and experts from design and non-design backgrounds. The purpose of the interviews was to establish a general understanding of how the more experiences interviewees go about conducting workshops in a chronological “story-telling” manner. This made the procedure fluent and vivid and produced more candid details of the experience and feeling than paper and book reading. The interview questions were created based upon the design questions in section 1.2 and were developed in such a way that they could guide the interviewees to provide information that would be of most use to the project. These questions were improved upon after each interview based upon their successes

or failure. The questions allowed the mass of workshop information to be divided into focus categories in a logical manner according to the workshop timeline. This helped interviewees easily recall what happened when planning and conducting their past workshops. Choosing between open questions or logical closed questions was important to get the best, most clear answers flowing from the interviewees; this varied between individuals and so it was important to use the right question for the context. More questions could be added based on the answers and information given to guide the interviewee and keep the interview proceeding in a logical direction. Interviewees who were more suited to open questions showed more engagement when asked these as opposed to logical fixed questions.

Picture of interview


Different plans of workshops depend on the different contexts.

Workshop facilitators should have their own kits. After using and testing it every time, they will know how to use and change them according to different participants. Toolkits are useful, but how to use it depending on workshop facilitators and different condition of participants. Good strong meaningful conversation will be more useful instead of sticking to tools.

(From interviewee)

Further to this, many interviewees pointed out that different users have different ways and tools for conducting workshops in different contexts. “Keep it open” is the core ethos of Workshop Whitebox. First, it can work with different users in different situations and second, it can guide users to think and self improve their own way rather than in a fixed way. To improve the relationship with interviewees, tools like SWOT analysis (which was used to evaluate the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats of project or business) were introduced


(From interviewee)

as a take-away present to the interviewees. At the beginning of future interviews, conversation prompt tool could be used for better engagement and relationship building with the participant. More interviewer involvement and more engagement tools could also be considered to improve future interviews. One of the limitations of the nine interviews is that they were all conducted by the same person and so this could allow subjective opinions to creep in. Future research could avoid this problem by involving multiple interviewers.

2. Comparative analysis and thematic analysis—data analysis Why did the designer need to analyse data? To summarise the data collected and consolidate overall understanding of the subject of workshops, the key information from the interviews needed to be collected. In order to get full appreciation of views from different interviewees, “hot report” transcripts of each interview were not enough to analyse the complexity of workshop planning. All the key details of each interview were listed and compared on one sheet in order to draw out differences and common ground between the different interviewees.

Thematic analysis A method called thematic analysis could be used and changed according to this case. “This is a method for identifying, analysing, and reporting patterns or ‘themes’ within data. It minimally organises and describes your data set in (rich) detail.” (Braun and Clarke, 2006) Seven main themes were drawn from a chart of key information gleaned from the interviewees including designing a plan, preparation for the workshop, conducting the workshop, workshop consolidation, suggestions, needs and extra information that didn’t fit the other categories.

Thematic analysis is made up of six phases. Phase 1 familiarising with data

Phase 2 generating initial codes

Phase 3 searching for themes

Phase 4 reviewing themes

Phase 5

defining & naming themes

Phase 6 producing the report


Thematic Analysis Needs: Beginners didn’t have knowledge or experience of workshops. They needed more systematic thinking for a holistic view in the planning stage and instructions to guide them.

- Guidance of planning in an overall view - Suggestions for preparation knowledge before workshop and workshop consolidating

The experienced people were very clear about what they wanted to do and what they needed to consider (Why? Who? How? What? When? Where). They had developed their own ways to run workshops and had their own preferences for setting them up. However, lack of confidence, ability to control the workshop and ability to create and change tools for different participants were three main challenges for them.


Experts were able to control the whole workshop easily and knew how to deal with difficult situations. They had established their own style and know how to be adaptable according to sudden and unexpected changes. They needed convenience, efficiency and a way to utilise workshops as a means of generating business.

- Business opportunity

Experience catching Innovation ability Confidence building Soft skill improvement

The summary of all the information gained from the interviews was suitable for meeting the needs of the beginners. These valuable experiences of the experienced people and experts were not only a guide, but also a model for the beginners to develop their skills: from discarding the unnecessary and selecting the essence.


Impact mapping:

Service Blueprints:

Impact mapping was used organise the information in such a way that clear aims for the project could be drawn out without getting sidetracked by minor details. “An impact map is a visualisation of scope and underlying assumptions, created collaboratively. It is a mind-map grown during a discussion facilitated by answering four questions: Why? Who? How? What? � (Adzic, 2012). An impact mind-map was made which contained Why, Who, Where, When, How, What allocated in five stages in chronological order. This indicated the applicability and coherence of themes for the project.

Although visual mind-maps revealed the procedure of how to set up workshops, Service Blueprints provided different perspectives with action and interaction from the people involved in the process. From changing mind-maps to Service Blueprints, it was more understandable and accessible with six stages: - general understanding of the context - deeper research on theme and planning of the workshop - facilitator team set up - prototyping and improvement - empathy in the workshop and testing - feedback consolidation and improvement after the workshop Service Blueprinting contained both a holistic view of information gathered in interviews and the iterative process of impact mapping. This was used in every stage to check every point during the journey of planning.

Drawing impact maps Image from impact mapping website (Adzic, 2012)

By using Service Blueprints, it quickly organised a clear chronological structure which is essential for structure building in early stage. However, details of user action and interaction were of less use as there is less chance to interact with others during the workshop planning stage and so the advice was less relevant here.


low-fidelity prototyping Instead of producing the final report as shown in the diagram on page 12, phase six was changed to a low-fidelity prototyping of data and information from interviews. There were three reasons for low-fidelity prototyping. First, it was the summary of findings. It ends with a clear definition of the problem(s) and a plan for how to address this through a design-led product or service (Design Council, 2014). Second, low-fidelity outputs are quick to make compared to high-fidelity outputs. The main idea of making low-fidelity outputs was conveying thoughts to others easily and quickly. Extra time could be saved for gathering reflection and feedback of findings from other people. Third, lowfidelity prototyping was able to reveal a future direction for next step. Although it is quick and coarse which cannot produce a successful integrated prototype, it could help tools avoid wrong decisions caused by subjective judgement.


Learn new kno

“Plan Book for how to set up workshops from tip to toe” and Workshop Toolbox were low-fidelity prototypes of information summary from interviewees’ experience. Both of these lowfidelity ideas could reach the users’ expectations after further development. The Plan Book was designed using Service Blueprints of information gained from interviews such that it could be readable and understandable for anyone. The Plan Book was similar to other workshop guide books or web pages but it was a simple guide without examples. It included the instructions of workshop planning and suggestions for material and non-material preparation. The Plan Book was aimed at beginners such that it could simply cover their needs as gathered from the interviews.

owledge from experienced people. Service Design has a tradition of using visualisation as a tool in the co-design of services. (Clatworthy, 2014) Visualisation is an important tool in the design process. It facilitates successful design by providing a means to explore both design problems and potential solutions (Dahl, Chattopadhyay and Gorn, 2001). Workshop Toolbox was developed in a visual way to show suggestions for material preparation from the Plan Book. It helped to start the conversation quickly about the materials used in the workshop, which guided people to recall their experiences in the the past. It was easy for people to keep on topic and break the ice with a tangible object.


(From interviewee)

The functions of both the low-fidelity Plan Book and Toolbox were prompting feedback and gathering reflection from people. Most of the feedback about the toolbox was practical and applicable. People could easily add in or remove objects as they desired. However, the feedback for the Plan Book was more superficial. People didn’t have enough time to read through it. This would cost more time and energy, which held back their curiosity about the Plan Book. It was evident that ideas that could be quickly explained by showing users a low fidelity prototype could be evaluated easily and so a more simple and brief output than the Plan Book was designed in the next stage.


2.2 Workshop Participation Different from the one-to-one interviews with beginners, experienced people and experts, the chance for assisting workshop facilitating was a vivid example to show details of action and interaction of facilitators and participants in the workshop. The role of the team was to assist IRISS to conduct four workshops in which older people and practitioners could discover and define the problems existing in the transition from hospital to home. Two assignments were allocated to us —homework designing and workshop facilitation.




To link up workshops and to make participants (older people and practitioners) get involved in the workshop quickly, additional activities were designed by the team as a bridge not only summarising the thoughts of each person in former workshop, but also prompting ideas for next workshop.

From these homework worksheet, they hold the same core of “Keep it open”. They were used to capture participant’s thoughts and ideas. Also, products should be designed like these worksheets in a simple way that everyone can understand them. Using a quote from Steve Jobs: “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.”



Additional activity 1

Ranking Problems



High interest Low priority

High interest High priority

Low interest Low priority

Low interest High priority



Additional activity 2

Additional activity 3


Key insights were gained efficiently through learning by doing (or executing) rather than through theoretical pondering (or planning) of the merits of an idea (Meinel and Leifer, 2011). “What I hear, I forget. What I see, I remember. What I do, I understand!� this famous proverb is borrowed from great Chinese thinker Laozi to explain that experience is the best teacher to guide and to point out mistakes. Supporting IRISS in workshop facilitation built three significant points. First, this offered an entire journey of each process in the workshop. This improved the understanding of the workshop in a real-life context. Preparation before the workshop, check-in, ice breaker, activities, breaks, check-out, these could be generally considered and fit to most of workshops, which was helpful to simplify the user process information from the interview. Materials needed for the workshops provided by IRISS were also a good resource to enrich Workshop Toolbox. Pictures beside show some of the materials used in the workshop.


Second, both IRISS and the design team benefited from reflecting and improving by giving support to each other. In these workshops, the design team acted as observers which helped IRISS to capture the voices of the participants objectively. IRISS provided feedback for the Plan Book and the Toolbox from the Workshop Whitebox project. They indicated that the Plan Book was a good process outline which covered a lot of ground in terms of what a workshop co-ordinator needs to consider. This is useful to someone who has never run a workshop before but wants to get an idea of the elements involved. The process outline was still quite vague and needed to be broken down in detail. The charts in the Plan Book needed to be reworded to make them understandable. IRISS also indicated that the Workshop Toolbox could be made more convenient for use in

the preparation stage. It could fit the basic needs of 3-5 people in one workshop, however the types and amount of materials were fixed which made it unlikely that the box would contain everything necessary for the many types workshops in which it might be used. Third, a bigger network was built which linked our design team to society. An officer from Health and Social care in Northern Ireland who attended one of the workshop was interested in design thinking as a way of problem solving in health care. With no experience of running workshops, she indicated that some instructions and some useful website links were needed. This illustrates the link between real situations in the field and the Workshop Whitebox project.


3.0 Ideation Idea generation is an iterative process. It didn’t have an obvious starting point because over laying of new knowledge and information inspired ideas frequently since the information gathering stage. From the summary of the interviews, the Plan Book and the Toolbox were the first two ideas aiming to reach the goal. As such, they didn’t fully cover the user needs for further development. The Plan Book and the Toolbox were taken to four further interviews for feedback gathering. There was a consensus from these four further interviews that although people felt it was useful to have a Plan Book and a Toolbox, few of them would like to spend time on them. The disadvantage of Plan Book was that it was too long to read through and apply. Also, the physical limitations of the types and amount of materials in the Toolbox would limit the situations where the Toolbox could be employed successfully.

3.1 Methods Brainstorming was arranged to create more ideas from different perceptions. After brainstorming, ideas were distributed in groups with potential links inside. However, this activity was better suited to larger groups of more than two people. Feasibility was the standard of selection because of the limited techniques that could be employed by only two people without certain specialist skills. Hidden opportunities could be discovered by exploring different perspectives for potential ideas.

The Design Thinking Process was used as the main method in the ideation stage. This process focuses on need finding, understanding, creating, thinking, and doing. At the core of this process is a bias towards action and creation: by creating and testing something, continue to learn and improve upon the initial ideas (, 2014). Picture 9 shows the five steps in the Design Thinking Process. By using the Design Thinking Process, five questions would be covered to evaluate outputs thoroughly. First, what is the information gained from users? Second, what are the users’ needs? Third, what is the idea? Fourth, what is the physical form of this idea? Fifth, what experience and feedback from users are captured?

from website (, 2014)


However, it was not enough to go through this process only once. Iteration is a necessary way to pick out problems in design. The Iterative Process was the method which supported Design Thinking Process. There were five iterative design thinking processes involved in the journey of the Workshop Whitebox project. Iterative Processes helped ensure the continuity of processes and drove improvements to perfect the final output.

Paper prototyping was used in every iteration for quick design and visualisation of the idea. It was easy to make changes and encouraged designers to modify the idea with iterative thinking and rethinking.


3.2 Refinement In this stage, the components of user needs were more complex after discovery. The needs of potential Workshop Whitebox users could be divided into knowledge needs and practical needs. Knowledge needs showed the knowledge value conveyed in the product and the benefit users could get out from it. Practical needs dealt with the level of complexity, speed and ease of use - the Workshop Whitebox needs to contain useful knowledge but if it is not practical to use, the knowledge would be useless. From the primary research, the similarities and differences of knowledge needs from the different markets (beginner, experienced, expert) were quite clear. “Keep it open” and selfimproving were the key insights for development. Based on this, three fundamental thoughts came out for the different markets. A guide in worksheet style was needed to serve as a checklist for the beginners. Workshop Diary was for the experienced people to capture data and recommendation of links was for bringing business to experts. Workshop diary and recommendation of links could become areas for future development of this project, which will be talked about later in this report but they were not fully explored at this time due to time constraints. A website could be considered as final output. This could be easily shared to market, which was a good starting point for advertising in the early stages.


Public sectors equally hav less paperwork. This prod another extra thing to do.

Besides knowledge needs, general needs for the beginners depend on convenience. Like Apple products, the secret of success was simpler, quicker, better than competitors.

ve no time and they need duct shouldn’t be seen as

Value to learn, accessibility and simplicity became the aim of practical needs for beginners. From one of the further interview with Deputy Manager in a local carers centre, the value of the guide and checklist were extracted. Both a guide and a checklist designed by the Deputy Manager with much experience were used for people who had less experience for workshop setting. This indicated the practicality of these two ideas in the real-life context. So the direction of the Workshop Whitebox project could be redefined to create a simple journey and improve the efficiency and effectiveness of workshop planning and facilitation for beginners.


(From interviewee)


By research on current services, successful experience could be found and applied to the Workshop Whitebox project. I researched user guides for starters of Graze and DIY toolkit from Nesta.

Graze! Home delivery of tasty, healthy and customised foods selection Platform: Website

Cost: 3.99 for each box

Who developed it: Graze

Features include: over 100 recipes, good swaps system, home delivery (size fit to mailbox)

Purpose:! “Here at graze we select the wholesome and delicious foods that actually taste good and handpick your very own snack box, delivered wherever you like.”

How does it work:! Select the type of boxes, then choose the snacks online and it would be send to home or work.

Positive! - easy to understand how does it work! - easy to choose based on step by step narrowing down! - many choices to meet different needs

Negative! - too expensive! - similar flavoured snacks could be bought in supermarket! - cannot get it whenever people want


DIY Toolkit (Nesta, 2014)! Practical tools to trigger & support social innovation


Platform: Website

Cost: Free

Who developed it: Nesta

Features include: 30 templates with guidance

Purpose:! “The DIY Toolkit has been especially designed for development practitioners to invent, adopt or adapt ideas that can deliver better results.”

How does it work:! a navigation tool to guide users through the website

Positive! - chronological order of thinking! - open to different situations! - a navigation tool with simple and understandable instructions! - an explanation and guidance for each

Negative! - too many choices! - quite general when facing specific problem! - not easy to find download all button

Insights from Graze snack box which could benefit Workshop Whitebox were four points. - Use clear and understandable instruction to guide people who are new to the product or idea. - Put the instruction at the front to help people understand how it works. - Narrow down the theme step by step. - Organise everything in chronological order.

Graze! Home delivery of tasty, healthy and customised foods selection Platform: Website

Cost: 3.99 for each box

Who developed it: Graze

Features include: over 100 recipes, good swaps system, home delivery (size fit to mailbox)

Purpose:! “Here at graze we select the wholesome and delicious foods that actually taste good and handpick your very own snack box, delivered wherever you like.”

How does it work:! Select the type of boxes, then choose the snacks online and it would be send to home or work.

Positive! - easy to understand how does it work! - easy to choose based on step by step narrowing down! - many choices to meet different needs

Negative! - too expensive! - similar flavoured snacks could be bought in supermarket! - cannot get it whenever people want


DIY Toolkit (Nesta, 2014)! Practical tools to trigger & support social innovation Platform: Website

Cost: Free

Who developed it: Nesta

Features include: 30 templates with guidance

Purpose:! “The DIY Toolkit has been especially designed for development practitioners to invent, adopt or adapt ideas that can deliver better results.”

How does it work:! a navigation tool to guide users through the website

Positive! - chronological order of thinking! - open to different situations! - a navigation tool with simple and understandable instructions! - an explanation and guidance for each template! - learning by doing! - understandable! - coding system

Negative! - too many choices! - quite general when facing specific problem! - not easy to find download all button

Insight from DIY Toolkit could be summarised in four parts. - Keep it open and let users to customise their journey based on different needs. - Set the layout into logical and chronological way to create a better user journey. - Explain the value of the product and provide instructions for output. - Support self-innovation while using the template.


3.3 Iterative Process Process 1

Process 2

Based on the idea of the guide in worksheet style, 27 worksheets were designed which covered most of the common procedures in workshop planning in detail with understandable questions. For better understanding, these 27 worksheets were divided in to five chronological stages. Also, each worksheet was allocated to one of six categories which were designed in six colours so that they could be identifiable.

To solve the problem of time costing, more important questions needed to be pulled out. Business Model Canvas was an excellent example for development of a time saving idea. It can be used in almost any sector and benefits users for describing, analysing and designing business models (Stickdorn and Schneider, 2011). To make the idea applicable for different sector and situation, most general questions were synthesised from 27 worksheets into 1 A3 sheet.

Comparing to the Plan Book, testers would spend time to read and give helpful suggestions based on their experience. Two coding systems were provided on the corners in non-fixed way for offering customised choices. Separating worksheets instead of binding them could offer the user the worksheets they need for a given situation. Although these worksheets could be understood and cover details for each stage, the complexity made it not easy to be used in short time. Self testing of the 27 worksheets showed that it took 3 hours to finish all the templates, which was too long for the users to spend. In the feedback gathering stage, testers would add more information to the worksheet but they wished to spend less time and effort to finish it.


The idea of Workshop Planning Canvas was for users who lack of time to go through the main points. These main questions could be answered on the Workshop Planning Canvas. If they need additional support, any worksheet from 27 could be chosen for detailed planning from a contents list, which was developed to quickly introduce each worksheet with a one-sentence description. The lack of impact mapping showed up. The sequence of questions cannot be arranged in Why? Who? How? What? order. This showed that impact mapping could be used in simple procedure and early sense making stage for research. Catering to the thinking of beginners, a more simple and direct way was needed.

Good feedback was received for Workshop Planning Canvas. It offered the choices of different time scale for users. Main questions were selected so that it helped users to understand the importance of these questions. The content of 27 worksheets improved the efficiency of template searching and provided better understanding of each worksheet. However, it was not convenient to jump between Workshop Planning Canvas and 27 worksheets. Workshop Planning Canvas was designed based on categories which caused a loss of chronological structure. It was hard for beginners to follow the guide without flow. More choice questions, examples and suggestions were needed to support beginners instead of offering all the open questions. 27 worksheets were still too many for users to choose. In the next design process, simple to use, chronologically structured, semi-open questions were the main needs to achieve.


Process 3 The idea of the All-in-one Super Kit provided better user experience. One A3 sheet would be the main sheet with chronological structure to guide beginners step by step. Seven A4 pages instead of 27 worksheets shortened the time of selection and reduced the paperwork. More semi-open questions were offered for beginners as a tip and left space for customised answers. Two user tests with non-designers and one with a designer were conducted to generate user experience from different perspectives. User Test 1

User Test 2

The first user tester has no experience in workshop planning and without design background. Observation and guiding for the tester were needed during the test. Through using 1+7 worksheets, it built a clear understanding of the workshop context for the tester. A concept of thinking sequence showed a overview to tester. This was buried in test’s mind which offered confidence to facilitate the workshop and enlightened him with the ability to structure future workshops by himself. It was easy to use the 1+7 mode to narrowing down the focus points. Good feedback of the choices offered was helpful to provide hints for less experienced users.

The second user tester had a design background and experience in workshop planning. Reflective feedback was given when she tested the worksheets. Five key pieces of reflective feedback were discovered. First, value and reason why beginners need to use these worksheets needed to be made clear to the users. Second, her first impression was that the colourful boxes were a bit confusing. Third, the four steps were not obvious to figure out. Fourth, the layout of the questions was not clear which caused sequence chaos. Fifth, some questions were not open enough for people have more choices.

There were four main problems discovered during the test. First, the layout of the questions was not clear which caused sequence chaos. Second, clear explanation of questions needed to be improved for better understanding. Third, more examples needed to be offered to prompt beginners due to their lack of experience. Fourth, the linking system could be improved for a better experience with the 7 additional worksheets.


User Test 3 Based on the feedback from Test 1 and Test 2, some part of the worksheets were improved. First, the questions were rearranged on the 7 additional worksheets to a chronological structure - the same as the main sheet. Second, the colour code was changed into colourful triangle instead of using different frame colour which caused confusion before. Third, more space and freedom were left in the answering section to allow the user to explore more ideas. The third user tester also had no prior experience in workshop planning and was not from a design background. Different from the first test, a workshop planning session without support was arranged before testing, which could be compared and contrasted with the 1+7 worksheets.

with time and activity and venue by himself. Not only was all the information he pointed out on his own covered in the 1+7 worksheets, more detailed questions which he, as a beginner, didn’t think about were there to prompt more ideas in the workshop planning phase. He found out that the 1+7 worksheets established a good preparation for beginners that was much better than what he had achieved alone. There were, however, several points that needed to be improved. First, clear explanation of questions needed to be improved for better understanding for users who were not from English speaking countries. Clear and simple language should be provided. Second, adding a reminder to use the 7 additional worksheets could be added below each step to promote their use.

When completing a plan without support, the tester could cover basic information of the client, client’s objectives, workshop organiser, participants, participants amount, time, agenda


Process 4 According to idea of checklist, the main needs of users were prompts for thinking and as reminder. An AEIOU framework was suggested to be the backbone of the checklist category. AEIOU represented Activity, Environment, Interaction, Object, and User. AEIOU is a heuristic method to help interpret observations gathered by ethnographic practice in industry. Its two primary functions are to code data, and to develop building blocks of models that will ultimately address the objectives and issues of a client (EthnoHub, 2013).This could prompt users to think based on different situation they would face to in a comprehensive view. To better consider user need, AEIOU Checklist Suggestion was created based on the information from both primary and secondary research. This created a reference for users, however, it wouldn’t fit every possible workshop scenario and so a semiopen structure was adopted to balance knowledge learning and self-development.


3.4 Rethinking To put the designer self in the user’s shoes, two interviews were arranged with a designer and a non-designer, neither of whom knew about Workshop Whitebox. These two interviews were used to introduce Workshop Whitebox and gather the needs from the users’ first impression. Convenience to users and examples for prompt were the most important for user experience design for the worksheets. Second, Personas were used to capture the archetypes of Workshop Whitebox users. Persona Rose was created by the designer at the early stage, which was not representative in an objective way. So a Persona making brainstorming session was carried out by the design team. Based on the brainstorming of Context of the workshop, Function of the workshop and People who run the workshop, each team member chose one character to build a Persona.

5 Personas were developed and bullet points were pulled out for each Persona with needs, type of workshop and visual charts. Three common types of workshop were education, ideation and problem solving. In visual charts, time spent , knowledge quantity of theme and interest shows the difference among 5 Personas. The result indicated that people have different time length spent on workshop planning which was important to change. Time saving and convenience measures could help to solve this problem. The ideal Persona was Persona George, who had sufficient theme knowledge and high interest. To achieve this target for every user, people with less knowledge and less interest needed to be informed of the benefits of using the worksheets and encouraged to use them. This indicated that support for knowledge learning and a better user experience were essential.


4.0 Final Design 4.1 Description All-in-one Super Kit All-in-one Super Kit is a detailed guide for setting up a workshop plan and to prepare for facilitation from beginning to end. The aim is that everyone can set up a successful workshop easily. A Workshop Whitebox website was designed as a platform to learn and download worksheets. Three simple steps show you how to use it. First, choose the worksheets you need from the All-in-one Essential Guide and 8 Detailed Worksheets for workshop planning support. Second, fill in the blanks along with the instructions in the kit. Third, customise the plan based on the workshop situation from users’ side. The value of the All-in-one Super Kit is to create a good experience to reach workshop planning goals. There are five reasons to support it for further development. First, it would clarify understanding of the planning procedure for beginners. Beginners with no experience lacked sense of systematic thinking for the holistic view. All-in-one Super Kit would offer them a clear structure of 5W1H(Who, Why, Where, When, What, How) in


logical sequence. The problem “when to consider what” could be solved by this. Second, All-in-one Super Kit is designed in a semi-opened form to cope with different situations and cases. It benefited beginners to develop their own way of workshop planning freely. Third, it is more efficient and effective to use worksheets instead of reading a guide book. Worksheets were chosen to carry workshop planning knowledge because it is easier for beginners to receive new knowledge as they fill out a workshop plan instead of requiring them to spend extra time reading a book. It is better for beginners to raise their interest of learning in a simple, gradual way rather than “scaring” them with complicated process. Fourth, it established a database for workshop planning that could be used to share and exchange experiences with others. Fifth, it is more user-centred: most workshop guides are focused on detailed suggestions for preparation and facilitation instead of workshop planning. The planning stage is missing or roughly introduced which caused a gap for beginners the Workshop Whitebox was able to address.

All-in-one Essential Guide

8 Detailed Worksheets

All-in-one Essential Guide is the main guide for the beginners which covers all the essential points that need to be considered in workshop planning stage. It consists of 4 steps: General understanding of the context, Deeper research and workshop designing, Workshop implementation and Post-workshop Consolidation. Square colour codes in some questions offer links to further detailed planning for People, Goal, Budget, Location, Time, Activity and Reflection - the seven different categories referred to at each stage. It is suitable for either fast or detailed planning as one worksheet can be used with the option of adding in more to explore in greater detail. The instructions for the linking system are on the Workshop Whitebox website to explain how it works.

8 Detailed Worksheets are the additional support for All-inone Essential Guide. 8 Worksheets are divided into four steps in the same way as the main guide for quick linking between them. A colour code of seven categories was also provided for quick customised selection and links with All-in-one Essential Guide. With more time, the 8 Detailed Worksheets could enrich the specific categories to perfect the workshop planning. It was designed on individual sheets to offers users the choice to increase or reduce the amount of based on their situation. An introduction to each worksheet that explains its purpose, use and value is shown on the Workshop Whitebox website along with suggestions for beginners to reduce the difficulty of completing the worksheets.




AEIOU Checklist AEIOU Checklist is a tool for summarising things involved in a workshop by grouping them into categories: Activity, Environment, Interaction, Object and User. It is a flexible way for users to build their own workshop checklist. AEIOU Checklist provides five aspects of preparation for beginners to consider. Also, AEIOU Checklist Suggestion offers ideas for beginners who lack experience. The value of the checklist is to support efficiency and effectiveness of the workshop by serving as a reminder to ensure everything has been thought of in advance. First, it would offer


suggestions for preparation before workshop and for workshop consolidation. Beginners felt more confident with suggestions than they did acting alone. Second, it would offer the function of a reminder. This could reduce the mistakes which caused by forgetfulness or lack of experience. Third, it would strengthen self-thinking when selecting materials for different situations. The suggestions from the checklist could prompt beginners to think of the different needs of different workshops. Fourth, compared with Workshop Toolbox, the checklist could cover the shortage of types and amount of materials for any workshop: it is an open way to offer customised support.


User Journey Map


To summarise... They think...


Workshop Planning

Workshop Conduction

Post-workshop Consolidation

- Use the All-in-one Essential guide stages 1, 2 & 3 to plan the workshop.

- Use the AEIOU Checklist to prepare the workshop before starting.

- Use the All-in-one Essential guide stage 4 to consolidate the workshop.

- Choose detailed worksheets to support All-in-one Essential guide in stages 1, 2 & 3.

- Use the All-in-one Essential guide with detailed workhseets as workshop guidance for facilitators.

- Use the AEIOU Checklist to list things that will be needed later in the preparation.

- Use the detailed worksheets in stage 4 to gather feedback from different perspectives.

4.2 Final Test and Reflection Although testing and feedback on several versions of the Workshop Whitebox system have already been discussed, it was important to gather objective feedback on the final version from an outsider. This tester, who worked as a manager with no design background, was chosen as the final tester. With training session experience, she tested part of the All-in-one Essential Guide (due to time limitation). She pointed out that thinking from user’s point of view would improve the convenience and reduce the complexity. Also, she indicated that there were some differences between her training plan and All-in-one Essential Guide. She felt that the guide was not quite open enough for her to make use of all her previous experience so tools for experienced people could be developed further to solve this issue. She also said that the guide was not specific enough to the type of training workshop she wanted to conduct. One way to resolve this issue would be to

produce a series of different guides that each deal with a specific type of workshop. Although this may be a good avenue for further exploration it would compromise the principle of a universal tool for all types of workshop that was central to the project. To bridge this gap, a series of example scenarios were completed on the website to demonstrate how the All-in-One Super Kit could be employed in this type of circumstance. From all user feedback, an important insight was pulled out that it was important to select the feedback most useful to the project. Feedback from different backgrounds could help designer discovering new chances and problems however, not all of the suggestions were relevant to real users. The importance of choosing the right suggestions to follow in also a key insight of the whole project.


5.0 Next Step The future development should focus on workshop utilisation in different fields for different market. From the result of final test, the Workshop Whitebox could have chance to further develop various beginners’ guides for a variety of topics such as training, ideation and problem solving. Each topic needs different specific support and preparation for planning. Experienced people and expert markets have potential to expand the user market. Workshop Diary for experienced people could be developed into a system with past, present and future workshop data capturing, to promote innovation and sharing in private companies or the public sector. The first idea is to promote collaboration and knowledge sharing to reduce the amount of time wasted loss of useful experience. It could quickly capture the useful key points of past experiences and transfer them into reserve of skills to help others in a medium that could be accessed and modified by the staff in private companies or public sector organisations. Based on this database of knowledge, there are a multiple outcomes of using knowledge in various situations. This could be recorded as a reflection on situations where the knowledge has been used and to show strengths and weaknesses. The second idea of Workshop Diary is to inspire


innovation through a fast and easy way to systematically review knowledge in order to generate new ideas. Innovation is needed to lead a user-centred workshop. It could help to encourage selfdevelopment within or between organisations. The third idea is based on the theory of learning by doing. Being reflective and looking at the problem analytically to diagnose the cause will help to reduce instances of problems reoccurring. For experts, the key point is to bring business and demonstrate the value of workshop related knowledge to potential clients. One of the ideas for expert is to develop a training system for workshop planning based on the success of the All-in-one Super Kit. A workshop planning training business could be have potential to involve experts knowledge and experience in the training process. The second idea is to establish a network of recommended links between experts, beginners and experienced people so that they can learn from one another. On the recommendation links of experts, detailed prices of services provided and contact information could be shown to generate business whilst helping less experienced users. Also, this advertising space could be charged to experts on the list, which would bring revenue to aid the development of the Workshop Whitebox.

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EthnoHub, (2014). AEIOU Framework | EthnoHub Help. [online] Available at: [Accessed 20 Jul. 2014]. IDEO, (2014). Design Thinking for Educators. [online] Available at: [Accessed 3 Jul. 2014]. Kimbell, L. (2009). Insights from Service Design Practice. pp.249--253. Liedtka, J. and Ogilvie, T. (2011). Designing for growth. 1st ed. New York [u.a.]: Columbia Business School. Meinel, C. and Leifer, L. (2011). Design thinking. 1st ed. Berlin: Springer. Namahn, P. (2014). Service Design Toolkit – Improve the quality of your service with this hands-on toolkit. [online] Available at: [Accessed 6 Jul. 2014]. Nesta, (2014). Development Impact and You. [online] Development Impact and You. Available at: [Accessed 27 Jun. 2014]. Sanders, E. (2002). From User-Centered to Participatory Design Approaches. 1st ed. [ebook] Taylor & Francis Books Limited, p.2. Available at: [Accessed 4 Jul. 2014]. Stickdorn, M. and Schneider, J. (2011). This is service design thinking. 1st ed. Hoboken, N.J.: Wiley. Thomas, S. (n.d.). What is Participatory Learning and Action (PLA): An Introduction. 1st ed. [ebook] p.1. Available at: http:// [Accessed 3 Jul. 2014].


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