The workshop will introduce the participants to specific knowledge on design thinking and on how to use design thinking to develop and adapt messages to specific audiences and to specific purposes. The workshop supports young people to learn about how and why media messages are constructed and for what purposes; also, by the end of the workshop, the participants will be able to use specific techniques of interviewing the audience (for empathizing), and also for choosing the purpose (defining) and the content (ideating) of a message they want to send out.
Objectives of the workshop:
- To understand how and why media messages are constructed, and for what purposes;
- To learn about design thinking process and how to use it in developing messages with purpose;
- To be able to adapt the how and why of messages to specific audiences and to specific purposes, by using specific techniques for empathizing, defining and ideation, the first three steps of the design thinking process.
Ask participants what experience in organizing communication campaigns they have. If they have some experience, ask them to mention the main steps of planning such a campaign.
Video-projector and laptop, if you choose to use a digital presentation
Introduce the participants the steps of the design thinking and the basic principles. Tell them that during the workshop they will experience the first three steps of the process, by using a simple case of a fairytale: empathize, define and ideate. They will learn how to build and adapt their messages to specific audiences for specific purposes.
Choose one famous fairytale, such as Little Red Riding Hood, Snow White or Cinderella, together with the group. Tell the story from the memory or with the help of participants. While telling the story, write down on a flipchart paper the main conflict, the characters, the main events of the story.
Also, collect from the participants the main assumptions of the story towards the problem/conflict and the main characters, and also collect what participants think about the causes of the problems present in the story.
Based on the notes made, select together with the participants 3 main characters from the story that one communication campaign could target in order to redesign their experience in the story, by educating them on certain issues and solving the problems or needs they have in the story. For instance, if you work with Little Red Riding Hood, you could choose to redesign the wolf’s experience in the story, responding to its needs, but help it, through a raising awareness communication cam- paign, to become less aggressive towards the community it leaves in.
Printed empathy map for each participant
Once you choose the 3 characters, split the group into three teams, with at least 5 participants. In each team, there should be at least 3 participants representing the character chosen. For instance, in “the wolf” team, there should be at least three wolves who have the same problems and needs, like the wolf from the original story. Then, there should be two interviewers, that will play the role of the campaign organizers who interview the target audience - in the example given, the three wolves.
Give to the characters (the interviewees/the audience/the users) and the interviewers the Empathy map annex.
Ask the participants to play the role of the story character, to think about their character and write down on the map how they would describe the story, what they do and say in the story from their perspective, what they think about the problem, what or how they feel about it. The same, the inter- viewers should think to questions trying to find out from the characters information that will help them to understand their audience’s needs and relevant insights that will help them in developing the message and the campaign’s strategy.
The interviews can start. The interviewers interview the characters from their teams. At the end of the interviews, information collected is written down, and summarize in terms of needs of the audi- ence and insights collected during the interviews.
Instruct the teams to go to the next step. They have the needs and the insights from their audience, they should define in teams the Point of View on the problem they identified for the audience. To make it more fun and interesting, ask them to present the problem-point of view in the format of an ad, more specifically following this structure: [USER] needs to [USER’S NEED] because [SURPRISING INSIGHT].
“High-energy teenager (USER) seeks awesome social network (NEED). Interests should include issues of societal importance (e.g. how much parents suck and also why being a vegetarian might be cool) (IN- SIGHT 1). Willingness to IM constantly during the school year is a MUST! (INSIGHT 2)” (source: Institute of Design at Stanford).
Each team presents the PoV for their audience, the point of view they will use to start to ideate - come up with ideas about the message to be used to educate the audience, whom to deliver the message, how to deliver the message, how to develop the campaign, etc.
For trying out the ideation step, in the same teams, the participants answer to the following ques- tions, based on the information collected in the previous steps:
- What the message should definitely NOT be about?
- What the message should be about?
- Who should deliver the message?
- How should we deliver the message?
Each question is answered by the participants on post-its, in the first round. Then, each of them ex- changes post-its with another member of the team, reads, and adds something new to the idea or a new idea. Then, they exchange for the final time, and write their inputs or feedback. The group then put all the answers together and make a summary or select one answer and write it on a flipchart paper.
Use time as a constraint, to help the participants to select an answer and move to the next question. This will also help participants to understand that design thinking is an iterative process. Explain that they can always come back to these ideas and answers. Now, they just need to generate many ideas, select some which will be prototyped, and after prototyping they will come back in the process to the ideation stage, etc.
Each team presents the first ideas generated in regard to the development of the campaign, and then you remind them about the following steps in the process (prototyping and testing), which they should try out on real campaigns. Remind shortly couple of methods they could use for prototyping and testing for communication campaigns.
Debrief the session and ask the participants to reflect on what they learned, on the advantages and disadvantages of using design thinking in communication campaigns, on how they felt in the pro- cess, and on how they could use it in the future.
Please share your comments, feedbacks, suggestions about this workshop here.