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Author's profile photo Alejandro Pifarre

Design Thinking workshop: the Calder way

I have written a couple of weeks ago about the Chaplin, very structured, way of running a Design Thinking workshop. To complete the topic I would like to share now the style inspired by the great sculptor Alexander Calder.

The story goes (as I remember it) that he was arriving to the location of a new exhibition and the curator was disappointed because he came just with his luggage. Then he went to a local store, bought some materials and the pieces were ready just in a few days.

Please, do not take me wrong. This is not a call for improvisation when preparing a session. But about the many possibilities, if you know the trade, for working with what you have at hand.

You have not got a diverse team with a complete skills set, then look for capabilities beyond the professional profile.  Even if all have a deep technical profile background, activities like hobbies or sports may become a treasure of knowledge. An amateur painter could become the designer you desperately needed.

The material is not all there! Before running to the shop just take a walk around the building with your eyes well open. You will be surprised how much good stuff is hanging around. The plastic cups at the coffee machine might be the tool you were looking for that exercise.

And at the end, why ask for a special room?  You don’t need tall tables or colorful walls for the people to be creative. The space is your playground. If the allocated room is not a good fit for the planned game, then change the game.

The only thing mandatory is people willing to try, to make an effort, to collaborate. Your main tools are their minds and their hearts. Their attention is the raw material to work with as a coach.

The Chaplin way and the Calder way are not apposite, but complementary. A good preparation give you the confidence to tackle the unexpected.


Please feel free to make questions or add you opinion.

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      Author's profile photo Pablo Paez
      Pablo Paez

      Improvisation is too good to leave to chance.

      -- Paul Simon

      Nice post!

      Author's profile photo Alejandro Pifarre
      Alejandro Pifarre
      Blog Post Author

      Thanks Pablo.

      Right to the point. A good preparation allows flexibility.