Design Thinking Workshop Resources

This design thinking workshop guide contains a list of links to my recommended resources for design thinking I’ve researched over the years that influence my design thinking training workshops. Many are pdf guides you can use to help with the design thinking process and projects. These are the resources I recommend in conjunction with my design thinking workshops that train people on the design thinking process and mindset through working on a real challenge. You can also see our list of 11 of the top design thinking books to use.

Design Thinking Workshop Agenda

An agenda for a design thinking workshop could be created and organized based on the stages or steps of the design thinking process for whatever model or framework you choose to use. If you are using the Stanford D School framework you could organize your agenda in the sequence listed below. Each stage would have design thinking activities that could be done by participants.

  1. Empathize
  2. Define
  3. Ideate
  4. Prototype
  5. Test

    In this guide we will share toolkits and resources for activities you could use to facilitate people through the design thinking workshop agenda based on the respective framework you utilize. 

Design Thinking Toolkits and Guides

Design Thinking Mindsets for Human-Centered Design

Learn the 5 or 6 specific design thinking mindsets from sources like the Stanford and IDEO. We love to help people try these mindsets on during our innovation workshops as they begin with empathy to use the design thinking framework on a real challenge.

Stanford D School Bootcamp Bootleg

This Stanford program, which works off of the belief that giving people creative confidence changes how they think about themselves and their ability to have impact in the world, draws on various methods from across the field of design to create learning experiences to unlock creative potential and apply it to the world.

“Design can be applied to all kinds of problems. But, just like humans, problems are often messy and complex—and need to be tackled with some serious creative thinking. That’s where our approach comes in.”

Radical collaboration. Real-world projects. Unbounded problems. 100% opt-in culture.

Ideo’s Human Centered Design Kit

Ideo is “a global design company committed to creating positive impact” and its Design Kit includes 57 design methods, key mindsets and a full slate of worksheets on design’s potential to change lives.

According to Ideo, designing solutions for people first is a key tenet of design thinking.

“Design thinking is a human-centered approach to innovation that draws from the designer’s toolkit to integrate the needs of people, the possibilities of technology, and the requirements for business success.” —Tim Brown, President and CEO of IDEO

Google Design Sprint Kit

Created in 2010, Google’s design sprint is a five-phase framework used to “answer critical business questions through rapid prototyping and user testing.” A combination of both divergent and convergent thinking, the design sprint framework process helps spark innovation, encourage user-centered thinking, align team member vision, and achieve product launch faster.

“The value of a sprint comes from bringing together a cross-functional team of people, product managers, ux designers, engineers and researchers, those who will be the primary owners of the ideas generated in the sprint and working on the product moving forward.”

Circular Design Guide

Many of today’s companies are “rooted in a linear approach to growth – make, use, dispose,” but this is a guide to a growing mindset among businesses that strives to design solutions for the circular economy. Patagonia, which has grown their business out of a repair and refurbish service in conjunction with authentic and compelling storytelling, serves as the most prominent and successful example of the circular design approach.

“The design thinking approach that underpins this guide allows you to explore new ways to create sustainable, resilient, long-lasting value in the circular economy – giving you the creative confidence to redesign the world around you.”

Design Thinking Workshop Resources

The design thinking process made popular by the Stanford Design School and Ideo.

Stanford D School Design Thinking Resource Collection

Stanford D School Design Thinking Crash Course Workshop Video

Stanford Design School shares their “crash course in design thinking” to be used by those seeking to learn the design thinking process. It’s a compact and fast-paced 90 minute workshop with an overview of how the design thinking process is facilitated with activities. I use and recommend this workshop which also comes with worksheets for participants to use and they design an experience for a partner step-by-step.

This is a great series of activities in a workshop to lead with groups to engage them in learning the design thinking process by doing it for and with a partner to design for. You can also read about the steps to design thinking in practice based on the Stanford d.School model.

10 Design Thinking Activities from the book Creative Confidence

This is collection of classic design thinking workshop activities from IDEO partners and authors Tom and David Kelley. There are some favorites in here for experience or even new facilitators to run such as the Wallet Exercise, Customer Journey Map, Empathy Maps, and the Dream/Gripe Session. They also have good general activities here for getting into the design thinking frame of mind or starting out on the best foot forward in your session with activities such as speed dating, nicknaming and mindmapping.

How to Run a Successful Design Thinking Workshop from SalesForce

Rule number one: skip the Powerpoint presentations.

“In a world dominated by email and one-hour meetings, in-person workshops can seem like a significant commitment of time. But workshops, with their social energy, engaging dynamic and intense focus, can ignite a team’s progress on their project.”

Because collaboration is integral to design thinking. this guide walks you through how to design and run a workshop that is not only engaging, but can help accelerate any project.

Design Thinking Resources Collection from IBM

This collection on design thinking recommends observing work in your users’ natural context, reflecting on ideas and projects as a team and facilitating collaborative activities and ensuring everyone has a chance to be heard

“Conditions in the real world can be unpredictable. Have a plan, but be ready to improvise as conditions change and opportunities arise. Whatever you do, take in what you observe without judgement…team activities help align your team on a common understanding of who you are, what you know, and where you want to go.”

A collection of Design Thinking Videos (Speeches, TedTalks, University Lectures, Webinars, etc.)

Our Design Thinking Training Workshops for Organizations

Get started with design thinking! Learn the basics in our design thinking training workshop, and start on your own innovation project step-by-step. Create and validate an innovation for and with your clients, customers or users. Use some of the most effective tools and techniques to design your concepts.

How to use Design Thinking to Design an Innovation Lab

In a broad sense, an innovation lab is a physical space dedicated to the creation, development, and execution of ideas. It’s a space to cultivate, share, and grow not only potential earning opportunities, but also relationships within an organization.

Exploring the Impact of Design Thinking in Action

(Download/view PDF at this link – Academic research from Jeanne Liedtka at the University of Virginia)

Design Thinking Software

Now there are software tools and applications that will guide you through a design thinking project. These tools are also helpful for running a project remotely or virtually with a team. Miro and Sprintbase are examples of tools that do this.

What are some of your favorite resources, books, activities, tools, or techniques for design thinking or human-centered design training?


Are you interested in running a design thinking workshop? We offer workshops, training, and even a train-the-trainer certificate program for design thinking facilitators. Contact us at [email protected]


  • Thank you for providing this very useful resource

  • Branding Workshop

    Reply Reply November 28, 2019

    These ideas are very helpful. Having design thinking workshops resources is a good thing to manage this. Thank you for your insights!

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