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My experience with Experience Design Institute

Design Thinkin Master XDi

I was in Barcelona days ago in a Design Thinking Master provided by the Experience Design Institute (XDI). It was a very nice experience, and I want to tell what I have learned.

I decided to take this course because I needed to improve and enter in the Design Thinking area. In my case, I learned a lot of advanced UX features from Nielsen Norman Group (NNGroup) in the past, so I needed a different approach. I saw DT as a good way to complement my knowledge, and I took advantage of this course here in Spain (Barcelona) to start my Design Thinking experience.

At the beginning I though that we were going to be many people, but to my surprise, we were only 7. My first impression was strange, but I discovered, at the end, that to being few people was the best for a personalised course. I loved meeting people from different countries, with lot of experience in different fields, for me it was very nice.

I passed five days learning Design Thinking from the best. This is what I have learned:

Day 1: Design Thinking basics and Agile User Research

In the first day, we have introduced ourselves to the other students. And learn Design Thinking basics.

The first thing we did was interview another student to meet his or her expectations, and why he or she was in Barcelona. It was good to know different reasons of trying Design Thinking: To apply in the organization, to manage people, to improve some UX skills (my case). By this way, I meet my collagues in the course.

Our final project was "Redefine the experience of the Ciutadella Park". We divided in two groups, and we defined three roles (based in what we learned): Research, immersion and observation. My UX Research background helped me to choose "Research", and my job was to interview random people in the Park tomorrow. At the beginning I was stressed because I tend to organice my work, I finished the first day organizing a meeting tomorrow at 8:45 in the park.

Day 2: From researching to experimenting

As I said, I interviewed, with the help of the teacher and colleagues, three people. We discovered lot of insights about needs in the park: A place to work, the pickpockets, the "relax" zone. It was so good because I thought that interview random people would be a difficult job (like a commercial interview), causing bias. However, people were kindly answering our questions.

At the end, we came back to the office and put in posits what we found, and start categorizing (like an affinity diagram). We discover lot of insights, and choose one solution: creating a bank to work.

Day 3: Prototyping and testing

We prototyped the bank, using materials provided by the course (very good materials). I recognize that I am not a designer, so my prototype are not good enough, but I was funny and rewarding to do that.

Finally, we present the prototypes, and design our MVP, using a chair in the lab. For me, testing is not easy when I do not have a plan, and it was difficult (my English was not as good as my colleagues), but live this situation helped me to understand the importance of improvisation in some contexts, and this lesson was the most important for me.

Of course we learned a lot of things about prototyping and testing (in slides, it has no sense to talk about that).

Day 4: Presenting solutions and preparing implementation

We learned how to apply design thinking in an Agile environment. I did not like too much because, with my knowledge in Agile/Scrum, I am waiting for a masterclass in Agile Design Thinking. However, to my surprise, it was just putting posits in a canvas, and try to organize our sprint by this way. This is not Scrum, I did not like this canvas.

Fortunately, a colleague, who is an Scrum Master / Future Agile Coach, explained to us how to implement Scrum, and the roles, events and artifacts.
It was funny to estimate using Planning Poker Cards, but only funny.

Unfortunately, I had lot of calls and I was not in the presentation, and some events this day.

Day 5: Integrating Design Thinking into my practice

One of my best challenges is to implement Design Thinking in every organization I am working. This day was dedicated in our challenges and real practice in our jobs.
We have different approaches and different challenges, and Design Thinking would help us to improve our skills, but how can we apply in a real environment?

The teacher said "Start easy", implementing some Design Thinking basics (Personas, User Journey). For me is easy to implement this things in a Digital context, but some clients needs quick results, and Design Thinking is about think, fail, iterate, improve, and come to back steps. Some clients do not accept that, but I am working in a plan to convince to implement DT.

It was good to hear different challenges, and learn even more about their concerns.

Conclusions

I recognise that it is not easy for people like me, introvert and "thinker" to change my mindset and start using posits and put all my thinkings in a board. I tend to think a lot and then start doing things, and stay quiet. Design thinking change your attitude to be more communicative, better teammate and creative.

I though that I am the worst drawer in the world. However, at the end of the course, I write in posits with graphics like a boss!

In my case, I knew about DT process and Agile, but I changed a lot my mindset, and this is the real value of this kind of courses: meet people from other countries, learn from theirs, different points of view and doing things together.

I started the course very worried about how to adapt my personality to DT, and I finished very happy because I realized that I can be more creative that I think.

I recommend the course, especially because you can change your mindset, DT is all about that.