The power of team work in Design Thinking

This fall I started my Service Design studies with intense two-day course of Design Thinking led by Katja Tschimmel and Sanna Marttila.

The course was all about getting to know Design Thinking and working together as a team.

What is Design Thinking?

According to Katja Tschimmel’s article Design Thinking offers toolkits that help to improve and visualise creative processes. It’s about transforming ideas into something real.

One core principle of Design Thinking is it’s human-centred approach. During the course we had the opportunity to create a new service in collaborative way. Working as a team made the process easier because you had your team members’ support. As Tschimmel also points out co-creation increases the effectiveness of creative and innovation processes.

Idris Mootee describes that Design Thinking helps make sense of the complex connections between people, objects, and ideas which lead to new innovations. According to Mootee Design Thinking gives tools to structure team interactions and align participants around specific goals.

How to work as a team?

We started the first day with Mindshake warm-up. During this excercise we needed to fill a paper with signatures of other course participants.


The lesson of this excercise was that only by sharing you can win. And that was a great starting point for team work because when working in teams you need to share your ideas.

After the warm-up we were divided into groups of 5-6 people. And that is when our journey from just a group to a team begun.


First we got to know our group in a short exercise of sharing something about ourselves.


Then we were assigned a task: to create or to improve a service at Laurea. Design process started with identifying a challenge by using a mindmap.


After mindmapping we needed to negotiate in order to decide which segment we wanted to further develop.

In further generating new ideas we used a method called brainwriting. Each member of the team wrote each idea on a Post-it which we stick to the wall (or in our case to the window). We were all involved which made it possible to create so many ideas where to choose from.


The final phase of the design process was to present our service in two minutes. We needed to squeeze all the relevant information of our service into that small time frame. Together we made it!


We presented our service with storytelling and these two guys had an important part in it.


I have only mentioned a few steps along the design process because otherwise my blog post would be too long! We got to use several different Design Thinking tools which helped us communicate with each other, share and clarify our ideas and eventually turn our ideas into a service.

We worked together towards a common goal through the Design Thinking process from identification of the challenge to eventually communicating the new service. During these two days I learned that it is important to have the right mindset in order to be innovative – and working as a team makes the design process so much easier.

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Mootee, Idris. Design Thinking for Strategic Innovation: What They Can’t Teach You at Business or Design School, John Wiley & Sons, Incorporated, 2013. ProQuest Ebook Central.

Tschimmel, Katja 2012. Design Thinking as an effective Toolkit for Innovation. In: Proceedings of the XXIII ISPIM Conference: Action for Innovation: Innovating from Experience. Barcelona.


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