PMI® Switzerland Chapter

Event Report - "Are you curious about Design Thinking?"

Event Report - "Are you curious about Design Thinking?"

Carlos Martinez Arteaga 100x100

Author: Carlos Martinez, PMP

Are you curious about Design Thinking?

Dear Readers,

On Thursday 18th of May, PMI Switzerland brought to Basel, in Building 67 of Roche, a great event, facilitated by three speakers from Roche that really knew what they were talking about. I was truly impressed by the event and the subject, and I think all of the attendants were as well.

I must say that the event was sold out, given the interest in the subject,  and once again PMI Switzerland managed to impress the audience with a subject that many were not familiar with.

As said, all speakers work for Roche. These were Larisa Aragon Castro who works as Organizational Change Management Lead, Cihan Gedik, who is a Customer Experience Expert with a Chemical Engineering background, and Alain Bindels, who is Patient Centric Design Expert.

The subject of the event was related to Design Thinking, a proven problem-solving protocol that can be easily used by any business and profession to discover new opportunities. Design Thinking is often referred to as ‘outside the box thinking’, as designers are attempting to develop new ways of thinking that do not abide by the dominant or more common problem-solving methods.

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Many companies from different industries make use of this tool to develop new products; even most probably many of the products we use on a daily basis were “born” thanks to design thinking.

The process essentially consists of 5 looping steps, Empathize, Define, Ideate, Prototype and Test.

Once completed the team decides if the idea is mature enough to present it – Storytelling – to those involved in the company’s decision-making, so called upper management.

Essential these 5 steps are:

  • Empathize with your users
  • Define the users’ needs, their problem and what you know
  • Ideate by challenging assumptions and creating ideas for innovative solutions
  • Prototype and start creating possible solutions
  • Test the solutions



Also in this link there is a short introduction to design thinking, what is it.


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The event was addressed as a 5 act workshop, where each attendant tried and experienced the process, once they were presented with the actual process to be carried out in groups.

The workshop was very very fast paced, as the facilitators wanted the invitees to feel and understand the complete protocol.

For this each group was presented with a posters with pictures of the Project Manager they were going to work with by identifying her/his needs and therefore come up with a solution to these.

Act 1. Empathize with the Project Manager. Teams were asked to complete information regarding the Project Manager they were given, although some of the information may seem irrelevant, in Design Thinking all the available data can be used at some point of time.

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Act 2. Define the Project Manager needs. Each group had to identify the 3 biggest challenges the Project Manager faced at work, this would be the focus of the actual exercise, as we would later have to find a solution to this.

Act 3. Ideate how to solve the challenges just identified. At this stage Larisa, Cihan and Alain indicated that at this point, when thinking of solutions it was important to understand that all solutions should be thought of, no matter how expensive they may seem, or how unrealistic ,as ideas can later be polished and optimized.

That is when the attendants really became creative :) and started to brainstorm ideas that could possibly solve the Project Manager’s challenges.

Act 4. Prototype the solutions, each group member was asked for a couple of ways to carry out the solutions recently identified. The ideas suddenly had to become more tangible, realistic and logical as later during the act they were going to be presented and defended within each group.

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Act 5. Test the solutions. In this final stage of the protocol, groups were asked to decide which of the prototypes would be taken a step forward and proposed as the solution to the problem. Once chosen, the solution was optimized and improved within the team.

The last part of the workshop was the Storytelling, here a representative of each group was asked to present the group’s solution to another group, and this could be considered as selling the idea.

Obviously depending on how mature the idea is, there will be more or less questions that can trigger the loop to start again, or maybe to go onto development of the idea as it is...

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At the end, as it was a nice day, the event was taken to the terrace of the building, were Cihan wrapped up the workshop and gave start to the traditional Apero that follows every PMI Switzerland Event.

Here is the link to the presentation of the event.

See you at the next PMI Switezerland evet.