Ontario Cabinet - Design thinking lab

Learning to apply design thinking principles is like learning to ride a bike. You can read about it all you like - but you have to experience it to be able to succeed.

That's why the Ontario Cabinet Office asked me to run a hands-on design thinking lab for 300 senior government leaders, to help them discover and apply new concepts related to design thinking.

With the support of half a dozen animators, I guided them through a fun, 90-minute experience where they worked in teams through a full design process, trying out the most popular methods and developing their own unique approach for future use. There were multiple a-ha's across the room, as participants saw how their traditional approaches and hidden biases can hold them back from innovative work and limit their long-term impact.

After this session, I also ran a smaller lab for those who wanted to go deeper and learn my method and tools for Story Design in the public sector.

In addition to learning the fundamentals of design thinking, lab participants discovered the power of working collaboratively with people outside their departments and disciplines. They also saw how simple rapid prototyping could help them reduce the perceived risk of trying something new, which is a massive barrier to leading change.