Running a successful design team off-site.
The Practice Fusion design team spent a day working, hiking, and sharing ideas to kick off a 2016 Design Vision initiative. A great location, a beautiful day, and a group of creative minds — the perfect recipe for a great offsite. Here’s how it went down.
8:45–9:15: Set-up & Breakfast
The team arrived fired up and ready to go. Coffee and bagels courtesy of Kenji.
9:30–9:40: Warm-up activity
We ran through 3 Improv warm-ups to prime the group for collaboration and brainstorming: Invisible ball, Numbers, and ‘Yes, and.’
Laurel shared some inspiring words about our focus for the day, the schedule, and guidelines for having fun and ideating.
9:45–10:20: ‘Design something terrible’ game
Our design principles are Simple, Focused, Trusted. Killian led an exercise to design a medical office check-in system that is the exact opposite of our principles. The results were interesting, to say the least.
10:20–11:50: Inspiration share Part 1
In this exercise, led by Patrick and Grace, the designers were asked to select and present examples of successful product design. We looked at a wide range of concepts, from Japanese design systems, to QuickBooks’ navigation, to animations.
12–12:30: Inspiration share Part 2
In Part 2 of this exercise, we continued looking at inspirational design examples. The designers first explained why their examples were successful, and then we opened it up to general discussion.
Rewarded with clear, blue skies, the team ventured down a trail to take in the California Coast after lunch.
1:30–2:15: Company engagement brainstorm Part 1
In Part 1 of this activity, led by Laurel and Kenji, the group shared impactful group experiences, and identified themes that made these communities successful.
2:25–3:25: Company engagement brainstorm Part 2
For Part 2, we brought the discussion back to our goals for growing Design Thinking at Practice Fusion. Utilizing these successful themes, each small group created a company-wide activity that incorporated one theme. Then ideas were swapped and we had to build on another team’s activity with our theme.
3:35–4: ‘Pimp your ride’ design exercise
Next up Jenni gave us a magic wand (a blank piece of paper) and asked us to design the ideal vehicle for own needs. It’s clear, self-flying, masseuse-carrying, infinitely-resizable transportation is the future.
4–4:20: Mind map review and wrap-up
Throughout the day we logged our thoughts and observations on large sheets of paper. These ‘mind maps’ served as a free-form journal, and at the end of the day we put them all up on a wall to review what we had accomplished.
One more walk to the beach to end a productive, fun offsite. We got a lot done during the day, enjoyed some of our beautiful coastal scenery, and came closer together as a team.