An Introduction to Design Thinking

by Kirsten Eldridge, Jolkona Volunteer


The program participants received an exciting and hands-on introduction to Design Thinking this week with Zachary Smith.  This quick-paced workshop helped the entrepreneurs approach their ventures with a fresh mindset and also gave them an opportunity to get to know their peers better.

Zachary Smith workshopA technology leader with more than 18 years of product development and client services experience, Zachary has worked with a wide range of industries and organizations including startups, Wall Street banks, automotive manufacturers, enterprise software platform providers, and large consulting agencies.  Zachary is co-founder of the Seattle Design Thinking & Innovation Collective, an organization with over 1200 active members focused on creating a network of innovators in the Seattle area and teaching Design Thinking through immersive and experiential activities.

Zachary Smith workshopA highlight of the workshop was the first activity.  The entrepreneurs were paired up and instructed to stand back-to-back as they listened to a song.  Next, the participants described what the song made them feel to their partners.  After listening, the partners shared the experiences with the group as if they were their own.

In the next activity, the participants were tasked with interviewing their partner about their morning commute and then redesigning the commute based on their research.  Zachary encouraged the Catalysts to “dig deep” and listen carefully in their interviews.  Perhaps it is not the commute that is the problem, but an uncomfortable car seat or other factor.

Zachary Smith workshopBoth of these activities got the Catalysts ready to approach problems in their ventures and their communities in new ways.  They prepared the entrepreneurs to learn about Design Thinking and how it is applicable to the challenge of innovation.  We’re excited to see how they use what they learned with Zachary to prepare for their final Showcase!  Don’t forget to register for our Jolkona Catalyst Showcase on November 11th in historic Pioneer Square. Click here to RSVP!

Project Catalyst brings high potential social entrepreneurs from emerging countries to Seattle for an intensive 3-week mentor-driven accelerator. These entrepreneurs are solving some of the most challenging societal issues in their communities. Our mentors include some of Seattle’s best startup talent who prepare these founders to scale and engage with investors at home and abroad.

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