One of PDD’s objectives has been to build on the success of its Innovation Training programme and expand it into Asia. Last year, PDD organised several taster HCD workshops during IXDC and delivered a private customised workshop to one of its clients in Asia. PDD’s first Asia specific public ‘Accelerating Innovation through Human-Centred Design (HCD)’ workshop took place in Shanghai on 19th and 20th July, and thankfully it occurred just before the heatwave hit 40℃!
Together with a London based colleague, I had the pleasure of facilitating our popular Human-Centred Design (HCD) workshop in Shanghai. It brought back a lot of happy memories to when I first participated in a London HCD workshop way back in 2013.
I remember coming away truly believing that innovation is not just about designers and that the benefit of using HCD methods allows everyone to feel empowered regardless of their professional background.
Here are some highlights from our first Asia specific HCD workshop:
Innovation arises from a collaborative team effort
One of the advantages of a public HCD workshop is that you get a chance to work with participants from very different industries and job roles. In this Shanghai workshop, we had participants from FMCG, telecommunication and medical sectors. The participants were very open and happy to share the innovation challenges they faced in their daily work. It also provided a great opportunity to get fresh inspiration from each other’s industries. The participants found this type of cross pollination of knowledge, ideas and experiences extremely valuable.
For example, one of the challenges mentioned by a participant was how to deal with the variety of perspectives and mind sets from different disciplines from within the workplace. Although it was noted that it is healthy to hear these differing opinions, it was also said that in some cases it can create barriers in collaboration. By using our HCD methodologies, we taught our participants the tools needed to help guide meaningful collaboration that allows for better absorption of different streams of knowledge, opinions and experience.
Day one of the workshop, we dived into the section of idea generation. The participants were keen to share their challenges in organizing a productive brainstorming session, as it’s a tool everyone uses at work but few can achieve great results in the best scenario. Studies have also shown that bad brainstorming produces fewer good ideas than when people think on their own.
So one of the tools for idea generation we introduced to the workshop was ‘Creative Mash-Up’. This tool breaks down the challenges systematically into different intersections and provides a solid framework for ideation. Our participants loved this tool because it highlighted the need to balance individual seed ideas against group creativity, the latter builds on and develops seed ideas.
A fully engaged workshop
The two-day workshop is very hands-on. In the past I’ve attended many workshops and conferences and seen people constantly checking their phones for messages or emails. Thankfully, our participants were fully engaged and as a result took a lot away from the workshop.
The workshop is exhausting, physically and mentally, to both the facilitators and participants. So we offered a healthy, nutritious and energy rich breakfast and lunch. The food and snacks were carefully selected with the purpose of sustaining energy levels for the 2 day period.
A big thank you to Prof. Hua Dong, the Dean of Art and Communication and Professor of Design and Innovation, for allowing us to facilitate the workshop at Tongji University. We, including the participants, loved the beautiful environment and it reminded us all of the excitement and creativity of being a fearless student.
PDD’s first Shanghai public HCD workshop was a big success and we received lots of positive feedback from our participants.
We are looking forward to extending our Innovation Training programme in Asia, which will include, but not limited to, Shanghai, Hong Kong and Singapore.
Posted by Vicky Hong
Principal - Research
Chinese and English.
The last thing that inspired me: My recent visit to The Shanghai Exhibition Centre (previously known as Sino-Soviet Friendship Building). It had amazing Russian and Empire style neoclassical architecture with Stalinist neoclassical innovations.
My dream project: Running a hostel with a garden café.
My obsession: My naughty son.
Image credit All images © 2016 PDD Group Ltd.