Rehla Design

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Design Thinking & Creative Leadership Workshop

Design Thinking by definition, is a problem-solving process that necessitates understanding what your end-user needs, how they think, and behave — and incorporating this mindset to develop viable solutions.

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In recent years, there has been a shift in appreciating the value of design. Expanded beyond aesthetics, design-led organisations weave design principles into everything they do — from research and strategy, to creating content. Such companies think beyond transactions and focus on crafting beautiful experiences that build meaningful relationships. 

As a way to increase local awareness about design strategy, we hosted a workshop at Re:Urban Studio, a co-working space located in the Dubai Design District. Our goal was to introduce participants to design thinking and creative leadership, and build awareness that many leading products, services and experiences are the result of a human-centric approach.

During the workshop, we shared about empathy mapping, a useful tool to quickly gain deeper insights to understand customer needs. We provided opportunities for teams to put themselves in the end-users’ shoes and accordingly identify perspectives in a systematic manner.

The second part of the workshop focused on creative leadership. Leading creatively, as we explained, is less about directing people than creating a conducive environment for teams to discover the way forward. We also addressed the importance of collaboration, purpose and working through constraints — as represented by the analogy of a seamless flight experience

We provided a platform for participants to understand the role of leadership in group dynamics, by working together on the marshmallow challenge. By identifying habits that restrict and limit problem solving, the aim of the exercise was for teams to adopt and embrace simple, effective solutions.

As we wrapped up the workshop, we were most humbled by the collective eagerness of our participants to implement lessons learned. Indeed, as one of our participants shared, “design thinkers may be in short supply, but they exist inside every organization. The trick is spotting them, nurturing them and freeing them to do what they do best.”