The Creative Team at Speck products was formed to create an internal agency to support design projects across the organization. This team was a combination of visual designers, packaging engineers, and 3D artists. Their experience, background, and tenure at the company all varied greatly. They also came from different departments and previously reported to different managers.
This diverse team came together quickly and lacked a shared set of goals and values. The executive leadership team tasked each department to identify a set of goals for the next year. For more established teams this was done by the managers, but for our newly created team, this was an opportunity to co-create.
How might we
unite align bond connect create unite
We did the majority of this workshop in an offsite location. This allowed everyone to physically and mentally disconnect from the tasks and projects they had one their plate. This disconnect allowed everyone to focus fully on the workshop.
Many members of the team were new to design thinking methods and historically worked as a “lone wolf” designer. I split the workshop into several sessions to prevent cognitive overload. It also allowed the team members to subconsciously evaluate and brainstorm overnight.
I used music to help facilitate creative thinking during moments of individual ideation. A silent room of people writing ideas brings back memories of standardized testing and being evaluated. To break the silence but also avoid distraction I curated a playlist of instrumental songs to keep people from focusing on lyrics.
The first exercise we did as a group for each goal area was a mind-mapping exercise. Mind Mapping is a great way to let the brain explore unexpected areas of a subject and is also a great framework for people new to design thinking. At this stage, we refrained from evaluating or judging our ideas and allowed ourselves to write anything, even nonsense. The goal was to trigger the brain to make connections and to uncover unexpected topics or ideas.
While Mind Mapping helped set the stage for the brainstorm, the sticky note session is where the bulk of the ideas were generated. Within a certain goal area, we spent time writing onto sticky notes the ideas we had for the team, ourselves, or the larger department.
Diverge, Converge, Repeat.
I guided the team through an affinity mapping exercise to identify common themes and concepts. To give everyone a voice and encourage participation we did this as a group in a round table format. This format also allowed us to discuss the ideas and brainstorm further.
With the wide array of ideas and concepts, we used visual voting to help narrow our field of focus and prioritize. We voted in multiple rounds and continued to narrow until we had a manageable list of goals.