How to prepare a high level plan for a 1 week Design Engagement

Hi everyone,

I am trying to prepare a high-level plan and approach for leading a 1-week Design Engagement for a Healthcare company, with a use case focused on improving the experience and outcomes of patients who need physical therapy rehabilitation.

Following is the draft plan:

DAY 01: PREPARATION & UX RESEARCH
Goal: Understand users

MORNING

  • Introduction, Ice breaker
  • Activity 01 (30 minutes): Stakholder Map. Work out the relationships of the stakeholders to each other and to the project.
  • Activity 02 (30 minutes): Stakeholder Hopes and Fears. Expectations and expected challenges.
  • Summary (60 minutes)

AFTERNOON

  • Activity 02 (half a day): Lunch and onsite visit to facility. Observe, talk and understand patients.
  • Summary (60 minutes)

DAY 02: Ideation
Goal: come up with ideas

MORNING

  • Activity 01 (60 minutes): Empathy Map. Work out complete portrait of users.
  • Activity 02 (60 minutes): User Stories
  • Summary (60 minutes)

AFTERNOON

  • Activity 03 (60 minutes): Big Idea Vignettes. Idea-brainstorming session.
  • Activity 04: (60 minutes): Prioritize Grid. Finalize key ideas
  • Summary (60 minutes)

DAY 03: Wireframe/Prototype
Goal: Build simple and refined models

MORNING:

  • Early morning onsite visit (30–60 minute)
  • Activity 01: Sketching/Low-fidelity wireframe (60 minutes). Come up with simple models for key ideas
  • Activity 02: Presenting ideas and feedback (60 minutes)

AFTERNOON:

  • Activity 03: Medium-fidelity wireframe (60 minutes). Refine built models.
  • Activity 04: Presenting ideas and feedback (60 minutes)
  • Summary (60 minutes)

DAY 04: Wireframe/Prototype
Goal: Build simple and refined models

MORNING:

  • Testing with patients (120 minutes)
  • Summary (60 minutes)

AFTERNOON:

  • Activity 01: High-fidelity wireframe/Prototype (60 minutes)
  • Activity 02: Presenting ideas and feedback (60 minutes)
  • Summary (60 minutes)

DAY 05: Testing/Feedback
MORNING:

  • Testing with patients (120 minutes)
  • Summary (60 minutes)

AFTERNOON:

  • Summary and Program feedback (120 minutes)

NOTES:

  • This is a week draft plan of Design Engagement activity excluding logistic pre/post-program preparation.
  • The activities should be reviewed and re-planned everyday if needed. There are extra matarials for activities like storyboard, need statement,etc. when required.
  • The program will be held at a real-life physical-therapy facility. Participants should try to live and see things from the patients’ angle to have more insights and provide better solutions to improve thier lives.

QUESTIONS:

  • Kindly give me some comments over the draft plan above. Especially about the type of activities, the order, the amount of allocated time for each activity.
  • What could be potential challenges I might face organizing program like this? Especially with the target audience as physical therapy patients.
  • How to make the activities more lively and fun? Fun and productivity do go along really well; especially when it comes to creative tasks such as these.
  • The activities are planned based on IBM’s design thinking guideline. What other guideline could be used? Any book recommendations?
  • How to make this plan more “high level”? Does a “high level” plan include logistic pre/post-program and contingency plan?

Thanks a million!

I’m not quite clear on this.

Are you developing the program for a group of graphic designers who work for the healthcare company? Is the purpose of this program to better inform the designers about the core business of the company and about the patients the company cares for?

You’ve mentioned brainstorming, grids, prototypes, etc., but I don’t understand what these tasks and exercises are about or what they’re meant to accomplish.

^Right.

Despite being as long as my arm, your post is somewhat vague with respect to underlying context and a foundation for understanding the nature of this event.
What is a “Design Engagement?”
Who attends?
What is to be designed?
What are the reasons for going about designing something this way?

Couldn’t possibly form opinions or suggestions without more information.

Wait.
What?

That sounds like someone asked for a high-level plan and you’re unsure what they mean. In my experience, “high-level” means “Don’t take up my time with all the details. That stuff is on you to figure out without me.”

First of all, thanks for your reply!

Are you developing the program for a group of graphic designers who work for the healthcare company? Is the purpose of this program to better inform the designers about the core business of the company and about the patients the company cares for?

Despite being as long as my arm, your post is somewhat vague with respect to underlying context and a foundation for understanding the nature of this event.
What is a “Design Engagement?”
Who attends?
What is to be designed?
What are the reasons for going about designing something this way?

This program will include people from organizers (a design agency) plus key stakeholders from Healthcare company (company leads) and I also want to get some level of involvements from the patients in testing and validating the ideas.

The purpose of this program is to provide a better experience for Physical Therapy patients. Expected result is not limited to digital solutions like an mobile application but also real-life solutions like a new registration procedure.

Design Engagement is a series of designing activities across a few days to design new solutions for existing problems in an organization.

You’ve mentioned brainstorming, grids, prototypes, etc., but I don’t understand what these tasks and exercises are about or what they’re meant to accomplish.

Sorry, these are UX terms. Allow me try my best to explain:

Normally a designing process would include the following key phases: Research > Ideation > Design > Development > Feedback/Testing

1/ In Research, we go out and talk and observe people at the company; trying to understand them.

2/ In Ideation phase, we would gather information from research regarding to the users (patients), facility, management, etc. and brainstorm for solution.

3/ Design phase is when we would build simple models of the ideas we finalized in Ideation stage. The simpler ones that we sketches on papers for example are called wireframes and the more complicated one (for example we add in colors or build a more comprehensive models using lego blocks) are called prototypes.

4/ Development is when the best solutions are brought into life. Normally, this would be done after the program is finished due to time constraint.

5/ Testing/Feedback. This is when we use various activities to ask for feedback during the program to improve the ideas.

That sounds like someone asked for a high-level plan and you’re unsure what they mean. In my experience, “high-level” means “Don’t take up my time with all the details. That stuff is on you to figure out without me.”

Oh, thanks, this is insightful.

Hope this is a bit clearer. Thanks a lot guys.
Have a great day! :grinning:

You likely won’t agree with me, but you asked, so I’ll give you a truthful answer.

Okay, I have a better understanding of what you’re trying to accomplish now. Thanks for the explanation.

No need to explain, I’ve been doing this stuff for over 30 years. I didn’t initially understand what you were trying to achieve, so what I was mostly asking was how you planned to use these exercises and techniques.

Are you coordinating this on the client’s behalf? Do you have experience in working with agencies and their creative staffs? Why was a design firm selected instead of a full-service agency with broader experience? Is the firm being paid for a sizable staff to attend this week-long exercise? If so, it sounds expensive. Is this a large client with money to spend on an experiment, or is it a smaller or medium-sized client trying to be as efficient as possible?

I don’t expect you to answer all those questions, so I’ll make some assumptions and give you a few thoughts based on those, possibly incorrect, assumptions.

Most designers are not particularly inspired by high-pressure group creative exercises. Some might be, but most need time to mull things over, look at the broader picture, explore multiple ideas, and do so in the privacy of their own heads or in a small group situation where they feel most comfortable and creative.

My personal experience is that group brainstorming sessions coalesce into half-baked, lowest-common-denominator groupthink ideas. The sessions tend to be dominated by extroverts who drown out the often more thoughtful and insightful ideas of the more introverted participants.

Here are a couple of articles that I agree with:

I almost never engage my staff in planned brainstorming sessions unless a client insists on it, which they rarely do. Spontaneous brainstorming is another matter, but that kind of thing doesn’t happen on demand.

I’m not suggesting you cancel what’s already been decided, and I probably couldn’t convince you anyway. I will suggest, however, that you modify the curriculum in ways that consider those things mentioned in the articles I’ve linked to.

Again, though, I don’t know the details, the people involved, the background, the company, the way the design firm works, your background or much of anything else beyond what you’ve mentioned. As a designer and creative director myself, I’m sorry, but I would be dreading the entire thing.

Some agencies specialize in the kind of group exercises you’ve described, and they would certainly argue against my viewpoints. Maybe you’ve hired one of them.

I suspect some of them believe traditional, structured brainstorming sessions actually work, but I also suspect that many are motivated more by the money involved in the niche market of CEOs who buy into it.

Finally, a little more food for thought in addition to the two earlier links:

http://link.brightcove.com/services/player/bcpid2617163850001?bckey=AQ~~,AAAB4mHtenE~,_rixfzbq5sXZV_V1FXfQG4pTbi6618Xt&bctid=3373616535001

Thanks a lot for your reply. Your comments are very insightful.

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