Divergent Design Workshop

Divergent Design Workshop is a method to generate a broad range of ideas to solve a problem by including all disciplines. Instead of typical brainstorming, each individual team member are given time and space to generate solutions on there own - preventing the HiPPO.

When to Use

  1. To learn what problems people are trying to solve.
  2. To learn how they’re solving their problems.
  3. To learn why they want to solve their problems / why they have the problems.
  4. To learn what points of friction they’re encountering.

Workshop Details

Attendees Ideal Size Suggested Time
1 representative per squad discipline, 1 representative from Support, Marketing, Sales, and BI. 5 to 8 people 2 to 3 hours

Prep Work

Workshops are most successful when focused - don’t try to tackle a complex problem in a single session. Make sure the problem space is clearly defined and artifacts from the Define Phase have already been created. Lastly, expect all activities to take a bit longer when its the first time for many team members.


Review UX Artifacts (15 minutes)

Ground workshop in the problem space we’re trying to solve, what’s the user’s perspective, and what’s the context.

  1. Have at least an empathy map, preferably a journey map.
  2. Focus on the specific piece of the journey map.
  3. Review the jobs to be done for that phase of the journey and current challenges that get in the way.

Competitive Experience Review Critique (20 minutes)

A technique to get your team warmed up by having them look at how competitors are solving comparable problems.


  1. Print out a competitive analysis screenshots and give everyone their own color of sticky notes.
  2. Write your name on a sticky note and stick on the wall as reference of who’s which color.
  3. Spend 5-10 minutes noting what you like (smiley face) and dislike (sad face) what competitors are doing.
  4. Have a group review for 5-10 minutes to discuss everyone’s likes and dislikes.

Crazy Eights Exercise (15 minutes)

A fast sketching exercise that challenges people to sketch 8 distinct ideas in 8 minutes. Exercise works best with a clear and focused prompt. A recommended prompt is either a previously identified sub-task that a user must complete (job to be done) or a specific pain point.


  1. Gather 11” x 17” pieces of paper and pens for each participant.
  2. Hand out paper and pens.
  3. Take your paper and fold it in half 3 times (into 8 sections) then unfold.
  4. Set a timer for 8 minutes.
  5. When the timer goes off, put your pens down.

Present Sketches (15 - 20 minutes)

After everyone has finished the Crazy 8’s exercise, it’s time for each team member to share the ideas they have generated and discuss with the group. In order to not get bogged down, give each person roughly 3 minutes to present. If they risk running long, let them know. Keep it moving.

Silent Critique (15 minutes)

A collaborative critique that allows everyone to have their voices heard and collectively provide focus on what are the most valuable ideas. Everyone gets dots to place on ideas that interest them, essentially create a heat map.


  1. Pin up all the sketches on a wall or whiteboard one at a time so everyone can see them clearly.
  2. Give everyone dot stickers to be used as votes.
  3. The team will have 10 minutes to indicate the most compelling ideas by voting on the specific sketches (not the entire paper).
  4. It is ok to vote for your own, it is also ok to put many dots on one idea if you think that idea is truly the most valuable to pursue.

Storyboarding (20 minutes)

A sketching exercise that allows people to develop the previous ideas further by giving them more time to dive into details of the interaction.


  1. Distribute blank sheets of paper with 3 sticky notes going down the side of the page, preferably larger sticky notes.
  2. Review ideas generated previously, specifically ones with the most votes.
  3. Select the idea from your own or others you think is the best. Multiple ideas can be combined into a single solution.
  4. Draw out the idea in a detailed sketch that illustrates how the idea extends over the three states or use cases (the sticky notes).
  5. Include as much detail as possible, including real copy, to help communicate your concept well.


Thank everyone for their time and explain the next steps, which are to gather all ideas generated today and synthesize them into a few testable options.

Remote Considerations


  1. https://www.forbes.com/sites/nataliepeace/2012/04/09/why-most-brainstorming-sessions-are-useless/#f301b0d668e5
  2. https://www.thesprintbook.com/remote
  3. https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1k4Wbbmds0bPOaf6SQutNfiOmb8lYlUWPnj3ggbbO6ac/edit?ts=5e8cd39d#gid=2062450288

Templates (if applicable)

  1. Presentation Template

Created by: Joe Steinkamp | Last updated by: Joe Steinkamp