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Hold Design Process & Hard Skills Workshops with Mentors


Workshops with mentors help your members learn design techniques and keep mentors engaged with members while sharing new skills with your studio! Plan workshops with your mentors to cover anything from interviewing tips to cardboard prototyping to giving an elevator pitch.

Output: 1-2 tangible skills that the teams can use from a workshop.

Effective ways to do hold workshops with mentors:

  1. Review your timeline to find good workshop topics.
    • If you do not have a studio timeline yet, check out the “Studio timeline” page!
    • You can also survey what skills your studio is interested in learning about.
      • Leadership Studio slides are included in this page as well!
  2. Define clear goals of the workshop together.
    • Use your mentor’s past expertise and work with them to finalize the most helpful skills and activities for your studio.
  3. Go over logistics (time, space, resources, etc.).
    • Materials: prototyping materials for the workshop, printouts if needed for the workshop, etc.
    • Space: Secure appropriate space, check AV and audio, get a clicker etc.
    • Set up and clean up: who will do what, how does the room need to be put together, do we need to ask for extra cleaning services etc.
    • Food or snacks to draw the crowd: ordering food, saving receipts, etc. 
  4. Review agenda with a mentor to get ready.
    • Think about what would have been helpful when you were a team member so you can give feedback about parts of the workshop before it is held.
    • Check out these workshop facilitation tips to make sure you have everything you need for a great workshop.
  5. Advertise!
    • Make sure teams know about & attend the workshop.
    • Use social media (twitter, facebook events, instagram etc.), flyers, listservs, etc.
    • Having good turnout at workshops is one of the best ways to show that the mentor's time is being valued by your studio.
  6. Confirm and finalize everything a few days before the workshop.
  7. Run workshop, take pictures, and share takeaways!
    • Debrief with the studio at the end to get main takeaways and feedback on the workshop. Share your takeaways on social media quickly to help build buzz for future events.
  8. Thank your mentor(s) for their support.

Network Best Practices

Use design process workshops from Leadership Studio through the semester to help pace teams and push them forward

Leadership studio workshops are a great supplement to running workshops with professionals and a way to bring back the lessons your studio learned over the summer to your project teams. The workshops can be run for any topic, even if not all teams are working on the same topic. Ask teams to invite experts or users to help them during the workshop, especially for Ideate or Test. Download the Leadership Studio 2016 workshop slides below:

Run design process workshops facilitated by experts like DFA WashU

Liz Kramer, a DFA WashU mentor who runs the Socially Engaged Practice initiatives for the Sam Fox School, supports the studio in many important ways. Besides providing administrative and project support, she utilized her expertise in human-centered design research by facilitating a user research workshop for the DFA studio that included an overall of common techniques and presented the advantages and disadvantages of each. Then the teams went out and conducted their own user research and collectively shared their findings. Liz is a champion for evidence-based solutions and helped the studio understand and practice the activities that are engrained in the DFA process! DFA WashU often engages mentors throughout the year. Rob Morgan, also a studio mentor, ran a prototyping workshop later in the term.