Designing Effective Collaboration

Tired of unproductive meetings, wasted time, and no actionable outcomes? If you’ve been the victim (or cause) of aimless brainstorming activities and unfocused agendas, the path to progress can be found through a well-designed and facilitated group session.

Designing a group exercise or collaborative meeting is an art. To get the best from a group, it takes clear objectives, focused thinking, active participation, and buy-in from everyone involved. A seasoned facilitator,  I help you manage discussions to get the best from participants and bring sessions to successful conclusions that reach objectives. Whether it is one three-hour meeting or a multi-day event, a structured session can help your team solve problems, elevate thinking, or build consensus to set you up for greater success.

Some ares of focus for previous session include:

  • Brand positioning, value proposition, and differentiation
  • Customer experience mapping and company alignment
  • Business, sales, and marketing goals alignment and planning
  • Digital ecosystem exploration and technology integration


Objectives and Approach

Collaboration methods and exercises are as vast and diverse as user research approaches. Deciding what approach to use can be guided by answering two key questions:

  1. What is the problem or challenge that needs to be solved?
  2. What results does the meeting need to produce?

To get started, I ask clients to articulate the goal and what needs to be accomplished by the end of the meeting. The ideal outcome drives the format for sessions I design. Every situation dictates a different approach and may even benefit from combining multiple collaboration methods. I create custom approaches and draw on common methods associated with the following goals:

Audience and Perspectives
  • Context Mapping
  • Empathy Mapping
  • Journey Mapping
Design and Ideation
  • Brainwriting
  • 3-12-3 Brainstorm
  • Post-it Roundtable
  • Design Charette
  • Design Studio
  • Participatory Design 
  • 20-Second Gut Check
Strategy, Decision-Making, and Organization
  • Business Model Canvas
  • KJ Method
  • SWOT Analysis
  • Value/Spectrum Mapping
  • Pains Gains Mapping
  • Priority and Feasibility Plotting
  • Forced Ranking
  • Card Sorting
Problem Solving
  • 5 Whys
  • Post the Path
  • Premortems
  • Postmortems and Retrospectives
  • Stop Start Continue


Processes and Outcomes

Varies by project but may require or include:

  • Discovery: Learning about your situation and objectives.
  • Design: Choosing the right method based on your goals, participants, and constraints.
  • Planning: Developing the detailed and realistic agenda, event execution details, and logistics.
  • Facilitation: Leading the session and bringing out the best from participants.
  • Documentation: Capturing activities, actions, outcomes, and recommendations.


Group collaboration can help push creative ideas and generate more user-focused solutions.  Learn about my UX research and strategy services.