A 10 days/2 weeks immersion/hands-on workshop for new immigrant professional women from different backgrounds of 9 to 13 different countries. Participants learn to become ‘innovative thinkers’ through Design Thinking, where they are able to innovate meaningful solution ideas for local companies.

Design & Facilitate 10 Day Design Thinking Workshop

Understand the scope of what I will need to cover and manage:

  • Key goals: job readiness (soft skills), innovative thinking, team work, and exposure to Canadian work culture.
  • Cohort Size: 12-18 participants
  • Number of intakes: 3
  • Number of Companies acting as clients per cohort: 3 – 4 as available
  • Number of Second Languages, different cultures: 9 to 11 countries
  • Age Range: 25 – 40+
  • Professions: IT Engineers, HR, Web Designer and everything in between
  • Length of time in Canada: 2 weeks to 2+ years
  • Unsuccessful with finding work they seek to have
  • Emotional States: frustrated, low confidence, indignant, lonely

The Workshop Content

Participants formed teams and partnered with a local local company who supplied the innovation team with their challenges, and one general problem statement. Participants learned hands-on how to use a design process to frame the challenge and work through the process to provide validated solutions.

  • Day 1 Start off with 101 of design thinking (empathy/human centered design) and service design (business and service alignment)

Then jump into a live learn-as-you-do service design sprint:

  • Day 2 & 3 Discovery to understand (In person & Onsite client/user interviews/shadowing/immersion)
  • Day 4 – Defining insights for further validation with clients/users, re-discovery.
  • Day 5 – 8 ideation, prototyping, validation & iteration,
  • Day 8 & 9 – finalize MVPrototypes and prepare to show findings and proposed solutions to clients.
  • Day 10 – Engage clients and show them insights and solutions recommended and provide context.

Providing An Holistic Experience

After reviewing my previous workshop content and notes I had made, it was clear that a new version was required. So I reiterated it. Since it was important for the participants to learn “innovative thinking” while being prepared for working in a new country, it meant it would be equally important to better help prepare them professionally holistically. The average workplace in the Lower Mainland tends to be multicultural and unique, something that is new to these newcomers. Therefore building experiences in the workshop which allow them opportunities to see first hand what it could be like would be valuable. So I integrated content on collaborative leadership, empathy vs. sympathy, cognitive empathy, assertiveness, and mindfulness into the curriculum. Due these additions, it had resulted in building their sense of empowerment and feeling more confident in their abilities.

In addition to facilitating their learning of the art of Service Design, I also stepped into each team to exhibit collaborative leadership. From interfacing with the client, providing hands-on coaching, to showing them how move towards delivering validated service solutions for their respective clients. 

Maintained an open design or collaborative leadership work style with teams and clients. For this program, i added additional materials for the clients so that they could have more knowledge and involvement in the process, to make the outcomes more impactful, meaningful and useful.

Throughout the course, I would assess and add in impromptu group activities where needed to support emotional and physical well being as well, as the stresses of being a new immigrant and having a family to care for can be tough.

What Worked & Didn’t Work…

3 cohorts totalling 45 women have received certificates for completing the 2 week bootcamp successfully. I receive voluntary updates from participants giving thanks, to let me know of their new jobs. The results have been amazing! All 45 ladies have successfully found jobs they wanted within 1 to 6 months!

By the 3rd cohort, I had redeveloped materials to inform and educate the clients, in this course’s process, as I had discovered there was a lack of information supplied from Mosaic to the client. I facilitated more in-depth and educational communications prior to every phase of the project. It resulted in higher engagement through creating deeper context and transparency of process.

Highlights… Inspired and Empowered!

Clients were delighted by the depth of insight and validation through the observations, insights and solutions presented. Firstly, they commented on how they felt a renewed sense of inspiration. Secondly, they felt engaged by how much was discovered by the teams in such a short period of time. Thirdly, they felt engaged by having been walked through the process, which had allowed them to look at their challenges differently. In conclusion, clients felt excited and motivated to take the what had been provided to further develop with their own staff.

Participants were empowered through the entire two weeks:

  • learn to lead collaboratively
  • receive team and one-on-one mentoring and coaching
  • learn-by-doing to deeply embed the learnings
  • experience the Canadian Workplace and meet with local companies
  • act as consultants empowered with design thinking and service design process
  • innovate meaningful and useful solutions that were valued by the clients

As for myself, I had gained more experience in trusting my gut in addressing holistic needs of participants and their clients (the companies). Every hour, day, week, and each cohort brought on different challenges to address. It provided the opportunity for me to be adaptable and resourceful on the spot. From shifting negative mindset to boosting confidence, addressing fatigue to coaching team work, and wrangling client expectations to coaching healthy mental and emotional wellbeing habits.

Collaborated With

Mosaic BC: Senior Mgr Employment Programs, IWERC Program Coordinator, Program Assistants, Job Placement Specialist
Local Organizations: City of Vancouver Engineering Departments (3x), Telus – Marketing & Innovations, Gate Gourmet, Mosaic BC – Funding and Marketing, Latincouver (2x), and Norteway Consulting.

Services Used

  • Experiential Workshop Design & Facilitation
  • Ongoing Improvement – Each cohort I iterated the content and delivery style to suit the group/team. Live customization of the experience to achieve the best possible outcome within the limitations.
  • Executive Coaching – Provide guidance and support to teams and individuals in developing their soft skills, perspective, and mindset.

    Working as their Senior Consultant within each team:
  • Service Design Sprints – Full Phases
  • Design & Strategy – worked with teams to guide and foster collaborative leadership. Lead them through the process to guide them towards solutions that best answered the needs of the clients and users.
  • New Development – worked with each team to oversee and coach development of ideas, strategies, and prototype solutions.

Tools Used

  • User Research
  • Client/User Interviews
  • Contextual Immersion
  • 5 Whys
  • Service Safaris
  • Analogous Research
  • Framing & Bundling Insights
  • Collaborative Brainstorming
  • How Might We statements
  • Concept Storyboards
  • User Personas
  • Touchpoint mapping
  • Prototyping service solutions – role playing, mockups
  • Testing and Evaluation
  • Service Journey Blueprint
  • Solution Roadmap
  • Show’n Tell Solutions
  • Check’Ins
  • Activities for building engagement and empowerment: Ice Breaker, Team Builders, Guided Meditations & Reflections

Some Snapshots

A 10 days immersion/hands-on workshop where new immigrant professional women from different backgrounds of 9 to 13 different countries are trained and coached to learn and use Design Thinking under our Service Design framework, to help local companies solve real-world challenges they are facing.

Leave a Comment