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The Real Thing: Straight to the 💚Heart

By Karla Schlaepfer
Design Thinking, Inspiration, Virtual Reality

Once upon a time, it was no big deal to be in a room with lots of people. Now it is. Going back to my Design Thinking roots as a coach. Joyful presence. What a creative⛵ blast!

I’ve been in the field of innovation with 💕Design Thinking for about 10 years because I love it.

So, when in-between digital coaching and VR gigs, I get a request, I make it 👍🏽possible.

Getting out the sharpies, collecting egg cartons for rapid prototyping, and packing tons of post-its; there’s always a full suitcase of materials. “Material” that is tangible. Together with an agile agenda, it is easy to adapt, listen to group dynamics and turn people-centric ideas into experiments that create 🤩value.

„I like(d) the clear and detailed communication of the fundamentals of design thinking”

„I like(d) the good balance between input and hands-on work”

Recently I’ve written about the sense of “presence” in virtual reality (VR). The intense feeling of being in a virtual space with others and how this can be leveraged for immersive learning and for collaboration. I compared these VR experiences with my Design Thinking on-site and to that what you get in 2D with Zoom or MS Teams.

And my findings? 🤔

Moderating a live Design Thinking workshop convinced me that:

  • Keeping focus
  • Team and community building
  • “Playing” in the warm-ups and energizers
  • Empathy created by sharing (food 🍎🍐 and stories)

On-site is much better than what I’ve done in 2D digital offerings. Maybe not so surprising?😉

And when on-site is not an option, I’d recommend combining on-site sessions (like a workshop kick-off) with VR meetings. The combi is an excellent way to practice New Work flexibility and boost cross-team collaboration. This translates to using VR not only to include but to amplify the emotive human factor in a digital environment.

This is a good option for global and remote teams. A variety of virtual reality headsets are here to buy or rent (admittedly the setup is still a little wonky) and prices are dropping.

In virtual reality, our perception is open to feeling a strong sense of presence thanks to spatial audio, expressive avatars, and hand tracking. This helps people or users to feel more connected and move and react more naturally 👏🏽than in 2D space.

For me, this is part of New Work(ing) in a digital space. Collaboration that involves upskilling and the willingness to try out new ideas and adopt what works for you and your company culture. Design Thinking is an agile problem-solving and change process that incorporates this stance. It encourages a growth🙂 mindset that dovetails with the so-called New Work or New Normal mentality.

“It was FUN to build prototypes”

And the end of the story day, folks want to establish caring professional relationships, enjoy learning without fear, to (hopefully) perform better together. And this is what we did during a sunny on-site workshop in Düsseldorf with a large 🌎team flown in from across Europe.

“It was a very good workshop with motivated participants and a very good trainer team”

“I like(d) that the tasks were fun and engaging. We can get 🤩 inspiration from what we learned and apply it to everyday work”

Karla Schlaepfer