The unexpected benefits of taking design thinking online

How virtual design thinking workshops helped this business generate new ideas when face-to-face meetings were off the table

The challenge

When US-based strategic branding agency Jade Kite’s client wanted to develop a new drinks offer, the team decided to use design thinking to come up with the most creative solution together.

The client – a global food and drinks business – wanted to do more than just develop a new flavour, it wanted to create a whole new proposition – one that would work for its distributors, and appeal to customers, too.

Jade Kite brought together 20 people, including senior leaders from the food and drinks business, its distributors, and specialists from the agency, for two half-day workshops.

How they did it

Ordinarily these sessions would have been face-to-face but, in light of the global health crisis, they brought everybody together remotely using Sprintbase instead. 

It was crucial that the process still felt familiar to the group. By having an expert facilitator leading the session, and using Sprintbase as a central, shared platform which everybody could see and update in real-time put everyone at ease, and showed them just how much they were achieving in a short period.

The team at Jade Kite came prepared with a detailed breakdown of its client’s target profiles, opportunities to innovate, and production capability. During the workshop, they presented their findings and then small teams worked in virtual breakout rooms to develop ideas.

When they’d developed their concepts, the group found prototyping particularly beneficial – a process which was new to this group. Being able to scribble rapid prototypes and get feedback on them at speed through Sprintbase helped accelerate the group’s thinking and provided a useful sense check for their ideas.

“It felt like we had a strengthening of our concepts built right into the process, which helped take us so much further in a short period.” Sidi Lemine, Founder, Jade Kite

The results

The food and drinks business walked away from the session with three concepts to take forward, and that work for all parties – so just the outcome it was looking for.

Benefits of this process

The team identified a number of unexpected benefits of taking its design thinking activities online.

  • Easier to bring everyone together

Bringing senior stakeholders together in one room can be difficult. It’s much easier to arrange a virtual meeting, as no matter where people are, they can join in.

  • Logistically simpler

Anyone working for a big company knows that finding one meeting room is hard, but finding several to use as breakout rooms is pretty much impossible. When you go virtual, this isn’t a problem. Being able to break into eight small groups so easily was great.

  • More efficient use of time

Though we lose out on the chance to chat informally when we meet virtually, sessions are much more efficient. We waste less time as people stay focused. People are more disciplined and get on with the task at hand, rather than getting distracted by the social side of meeting.

  • Simpler process for capturing what’s discussed

Some people work better with a pen and paper, but physical notes have to be written up. Having everybody just typing was much easier. Having one shared workspace, which updated live was much more efficient than using multiple bits of paper.

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