Course Description

Design Thinking for Distributed Teams


This Design Thinking for Distributed Teams course is designed to support teams who, for whatever reason, need to work in distributed teams, assisting with methods to collaborate online, in the cloud and ensure staff engagement while still connecting to customers and other stakeholders.

The participants of the Design Thinking for Distributed Teams course will work on the following competencies that support creative problem solving:

  1. Sensemaking: Making sense of complexity by identifying interrelationships
  2. Empathy: Navigating ambiguity while learning to empathise with stakeholders
  3. User-centred: Making sense of customers diverse needs and pain points to converge on a reframe
  4. Iteration: Iterating while testing newly crafted concepts with customers
  5. Creative confidence: Improving ability to take creative leaps and develop new concepts

This Design Thinking for Distributed Teams course will assist with the following main outcomes:

First, it will benefit anyone who wants to lead an innovative movement within an organisation using creative problem-solving methods.

Second, it will assist in building a radically collaborative approach to innovation and influence the corporate culture towards an empathic and creative culture focused on value generation.

Third, building these competencies will influence a culture of listening and learning, thereby producing innovative concepts that assist in market leadership.

Lastly, it will support people who are working in distributed teams to come up with new ideas and ways of working that enable more customer-centred behaviour when working online or when working remotely.


12 online sessions of 1.5 hours each over 6 weeks

A minimum of 3 hours required between session to research, collaborate and use the tools.

A series of pre-work videos and material to go through in prep for the course.


Over the course of 12 webinars, this online program will generate an understanding of the theory of design thinking. Each session will combine some theory and some practice using online tools that support a Design Thinking approach.

On the first session of the Design Thinking for Distributed Teams training, we will go through a short and interactive introduction to Design Thinking. What is it, where does it come from and why now? What are the challenges? What are the main ‘Schools of Thought’ within Design Thinking? What are the key case studies? We will also cover the key online tools that support a design Thinking environment.


The major part of the Design Thinking for Distributed Teams, however, will be spent on hands-on work on a case using the different online and paper-based tools. It will involve ‘learning by doing’ and include a focus on identifying customer needs through insights. This approach also embraces the customers Job-to-be-done, while empathising with the customer’s needs and emotions.

In between classes you will be required to complete “homework” by doing research, sharing information online with your fellow participants and diving into the use of the tools.

This will support your understanding on how to work remotely in teams.


Stakeholder Mapping provides you with an overview of the ‘eco-system’ that you are exploring. Stakeholders are people, teams or organisations that directly or indirectly exchange ‘value’. The exchange of value is used as the basis to explore the underlying services provided by the stakeholders

Value Network Mapping provides insight in the value (benefits) that is being exchanged between stakeholders. Using this tool, you will get a more detailed insight into the services being provided by the stakeholders

Personas are used as the basis for Customer Journey Mapping. Finding out about the objectives, behaviour, attitudes of people is very important for developing improvements or innovations of the services provided.

Customer Journey Mapping allows us to further step into the customer shoes. It shows us the customer’s perceptions and the larger context in which we play a part at the different stages of their journeys. It lets us be emerged in their world, their reality. Get a deeper insight into customer needs, objectives, experience and desired outcomes. It will answer questions like: What are people really trying to achieve? How are they trying to achieve this? What do they use and in what order? Why do they make a choice? What are they experiencing, feeling, while trying to reach the desired outcome?

A customer journey map is built up layer by layer. We start ‘above water’, with the customer and slowly dive deeper and deeper into the organisational structures and context. The tool can be used with customers or management, employees and other stakeholder.

This qualitative design research tool will provide you with customer insights to improve the customer’s experience. The toolkit will be handed out after the training so you can start applying the tool immediately in your context.

Service Scenarios are used to visualise how a (newly designed) service is being experienced from a customer point of view. Simple visualisation techniques are being introduced.

Prototyping is done to be able to test a service concept in a ‘low tech’ environment with relevant stakeholders. Prototyping can be done by building artefacts from cardboard or paper or by using Lego. Also, role play is a powerful way of prototyping.

We will work using ZOOM (an online conference platform) and other key Design Thinking software like Smaply, Next and Miro.

All tools will be provided electronically during the training for use during and after.


Katherine Train, will be your research and empathy coach. She has researched the application of empathy in organisations through the lens of the emerging South African development as a new democracy, with its cultural and resource diversity and history of social upheaval. Katherine has been facilitating workshops on empathy and related topics since 2005 in corporate, NGO and the public sector.

Jani de Kock is a qualitative market researcher. She has been listening to African consumers talk about their lives since 2003.

Robert Bloom, is a senior facilitator stimulating creative leadership within corporate environments. Robert strives to help organisations find new opportunities, strategies and structures that drive market leadership and sustainable transformation.

Colin Skelton will be your embodied empathy guide. Drawing on practices and techniques from performance and theatre traditions around the world, he will introduce various activated ways of harvesting, exploring and engaging with research data as it relates to empathy. Colin has led and facilitated creative workshops in South Africa and abroad for over 20 years.

Alwin Put, specialises in Business Engineering for Management Information Systems. He works as a creative Strategist and Facilitator in Marketing, Branding and Experience Design.

Pedro Janeiro, a Design Thinker fascinated about how Design, Networking and New technologies are contributing to a major redefinition of services and companies.


About this Event


Language: English


Ticket price: R14999

Prices are intended excluding VAT.

A certificate from DesignThinkers Academy is awarded to participants who successfully complete the course.

Discounts available for teams signing up, Non-Profits and Government Organisations.

Contact southafrica[@]

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