Thinking April 22, 2020

How we created a workshop for remote, from remote
+ some tips for remote teamwork

Daniela Duran
Service Designer
Leandro Agrò
Executive Design Director, San Francisco Bay Area
Sara Bellini
Service Design Director
miro board for a remote workshop

From California to the heart of the red zone in Italy to the Swiss countryside, we worked on three countries in two time zones to create a workshop in less than two weeks, with the hopes of contributing to a better future.

When COVID-19 hit, we immediately knew, that we’d need to do something. As designers, there’s an intrinsic desire in us to help and to make things better. And we were on home terrain, in a way: we work with companies amidst change all the time and are familiar and comfortable in a context of uncertainty.

In our projects, the more complex the challenge, the more excited we get. This time, we are faced with a wicked problem. How could we contribute with a design thinking approach? So, we rolled up our sleeves and got to work.

how we did it

Based in California, Italy and Switzerland respectfully, our team set to work, collaborating from remote with the goal of creating a remote workshop that would help turn the current crisis into something positive (scroll down for some tips on how we worked together).

At DGI, we take pride in experience and skills in running exciting, fruitful workshops. We wanted to translate that experience to a remote format. Pushing Miro, an online platform for collaboration, we got to work to create something fresh and accessible, turning the digital format into a welcoming enabler instead of a barrier. After the first test runs, we are happy to see that we have succeeded in bringing our trademark style to connect and collaborate into the remote format.

The result: Learning from Change, a collaborative remote workshop to design a better future

After less than two weeks, we’re seeing the workshop take shape. Through the 3-hour remote session, following the double diamond approach, we will explore how the recent world crisis has impacted our lives, our interactions, and behaviors, in order to identify opportunities to improve our future lives through virtuous workarounds, experiments, and sharing of best practice.

Using custom-developed tools created by our team, we read our context in ways that allow us to recognize opportunities and unmet needs with potential. Together, we move towards making decisions to solidify the new ideas for a better future.

The workshop suits everyone interested in learning from change, and only requires a computer and internet connection. Reach out, if you’re curious to know more.

This ability to surf this uncertainty is in our soul, it is what we are as designers.

Leandro Agro, Executive Digital Design Director, DGI Silicon Valley

Our tips to remote teamwork

Here are some principles we applied when working on the project. We hope they’ll set your team for success, too:

Have a clear common goal.

We all shared a clearly defined common goal that we believed in and were committed to.

Check-in daily.

We did a daily call to align, update and organise and made a point of sharing early and often to be efficient and stay on track.

Share new information fast.

We created a Slack channel for news on technologies, new business models, applications, and procedures. Dozens of people from the greater DGI team contributed, creating a fast, immense gathering of knowledge.

Organize and structure.

We improved our structures, To Do-lists, and organized well to cover for all the little moments when you can confirm things with the person sitting next to you.

Experience helps.

We work on projects all over the world and already had black belts in remote work. Having experience in the team helps.

Ask for help.

Advice that is simple, but often ignored: We reached out for help immediately when needed.