What's Your Problem? Using Design Thinking to Frame Performance Issues

Conference Archive

DevLearn 2019 Conference - October 25, 2019

Kristen Hayden Safdie

Learning Technology Specialist

Everyone has had a manager come to them with a request that just treats a symptom of the real performance issue instead of the actual cause. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to convince managers and stakeholders to spend time and energy analyzing the problem that they're trying to address. When time is limited (and whose time isn't limited?) you need to maximize your conversations and get the whole story. You also need to update your root cause analysis toolkit with new frameworks to help you better identify and solve problems. And the answer for both is design thinking.

Whether you're new to design thinking or have led design sprints, this session will give you a chance to practice applying design thinking techniques to classic instructional design problems. You’ll learn how to guide your stakeholders to the root cause using design thinking tools. You’ll review the basics of design thinking and then dig into the second step, defining the problem. In groups, you’ll practice using design thinking techniques to align diverse teams. This hands-on experience will prepare you to facilitate your own exercises, build consensus, and frame performance problems to solve the root issue.

In this session, you will learn:

  • How problem framing improves performance outcomes
  • Frameworks that align thinking and build consensus
  • When to supplement your current methods with design thinking
  • Tips on how to facilitate problem definition exercises with a diverse group


Designers, managers, senior leaders (directors, VP, CLO, executive, etc.)

Technology discussed:



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