Leading an interactive Design Thinking workshop for a large US government contractor

Client Partners
  • Global
  • Empathy
  • Problem Definition
  • Ideation
  • Prototyping
  • Design Thinking in International Development
  • Using Design for Stakeholder Collaboration

DAI is one of the largest international development contractors, with nearly 1,500 employees worldwide and 600 million USD in annual revenue. Its client donors were increasingly emphasizing the importance of incorporating the needs of the “beneficiary” (or end-user) in its program design. DAI hired Digital Disruptions to provide a 1-day training on Design Thinking at its headquarters outside Washington, DC, and invited about 30 participants from multiple regional teams and technical areas to participate.

Approach & Outcome

Digital Disruptions applies a “learning by doing” approach to its training, and thus our participants spend the majority of the time applying and practicing the principles taught. In this case, we used a mock exercise on “rethinking the airline experience” rather than one in the international development sector so that DAI participants could come up with ideas by thinking as regular consumers rather than domain experts.

Eight cross-functional teams were assembled, and they quickly come up with insights, ideas and prototypes for the hands-on exercise as Digital Disruptions facilitated the session.  Towards the end of the training, we connected the core Design Thinking themes back to the international development sector to show how to use the activities and principles to generate alignment among DAI’s diverse group of stakeholders.  The participants thoroughly enjoyed the day-long training, rating it a 4.7 out of 5 for “engagement.”

I would highly recommend Digital Disruptions for any training or capacity-building projects that involve HCD and Design Thinking. Clients are sure to benefit from their deep subject-matter expertise on the topic combined with hands-on experience implementing projects around the world.

John Jepsen
Former Practice Lead,
Financial Services,

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