How to Apply Design Thinking to Meetings and Events

If you think about your favorite products and services -- your iPhone, for example, the Uber you took home from dinner, or the Warby Parker glasses you purchased from the internet -- they probably have at least one thing in common: They were designed using "design thinking."

"Design thinking … is thinking from the user perspective -- putting yourself in the shoes of the user, empathizing with them, and developing a design from there," explains Roel Frissen, co-founder of the Event Design Collective.

According to Frissen, you can apply design thinking to meetings and events by using the #EventCanvas, a visual tool co-created by Frissen to help meeting professionals document their events' challenges, opportunities, and objectives. To use it, download it from the #EventCanvas website, then host a group session with your team during which you "map" your event from the perspective of the attendee. Doing so will help you approach your event the way companies like Apple, Uber, and Warby Parker approach their products.

"While the #EventCanvas is a trademarked name, the idea and the methodology is available under Creative Commons. We give it out so people can use it however they want. They can download the canvas and play with it, for example, or print it out in the form of a big chart and hang it on the wall. We encourage that," Frissen tells Successful Meetings magazine. "At the end of the day, design isn't a solo sport. Design is a team sport. So what does this do? It aligns the team and allows you to take time together to consciously design in a very structured way."

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