Learn How to Apply Design Thinking to Your Meetings

Published by Diego Avedaño on

11 million meetings are held in the U.S. workplace each day on average. Employees attend 62 meetings each month. CEOs spend more than one-third of their time in meetings. 90% of meeting attendees admit to daydreaming, while 75% of them acknowledge doing other work during these meetings.

The biggest culprit behind unproductive meetings is the numerous distractions. Checking email, doing unrelated work, or having irrelevant discussions are the reasons behind ineffective meetings. When meetings are unsuccessful, they lead to frustration. The right kind of meeting could play an integral role in boosting the team’s agenda. This is possible if the meeting coordinators and assistants plan these meetings with the basics of good meeting design so that meetings turn out to be productive.

Design Thinking:

Design thinking is a method used by designers for ideation and development which can also be applied in other places. It is a useful method for tackling problems which are not defined properly or are unknown. This method elaborates a human-centered, iterative design process that consists of 5 steps:

  • Empathize
  • Define
  • Ideate
  • Prototype
  • Test

Design thinking is the process of understanding the problem from a human-experience perspective, and then considering the human experience at each step of the process along the design journey in order to create a product or service that works for  both the business and the customer.

Applying Design Thinking to Meetings:

Applying design thinking to meetings can help you in viewing from a human-experience perspective while looking at the needs of the attendees and the agenda of the meeting. When you take a human-centered approach to the meetings, you step away from the boring traditions and experiment more particularly when it comes to any of your executive participants.

Here are the three major elements of design thinking that you need to focus on while planning a meeting:


The first thing you need to do is think from the perspective of a person who is attending the meeting. When you have done that, analyze what a person’s expectations would be when he is attending an important meeting? You could hold a focus group and ask the executives directly about their needs.

The most important thing to consider is space. You need to go someplace where the environment boosts the process of innovative thinking. New environment and different rhythms happen to have the potential to urge productivity as well as innovative thinking.

While coming up with a space that leads to interest in the meeting, it is also essential that you keep in the mind the needs of the meeting attendees. See that the room is fully stocked with the things attendees might need; such as pens, notepads, and other office supplies to make sure that attendees do not lose their focus and concentration while they are looking for them.


After you have though about the space, you cannot overlook the technology requirements of wherever you are planning to conduct your meeting. See that everything is connected before the meeting attendees show up. It is important that you do all the required legwork ahead of time so that the flow of the meeting and tempo is not broken.

You cannot lose focus connecting your laptop to the projector screen or other gadgets while discussing a very important topic. Nor would your attendees like to leave their seats and look for electrical outlets or cords for connecting to the screens. In order to ensure that your attendees remain attentive and productive throughout the meeting, see to it that everything is prepared and ready ahead of time. You can also develop a partnership with the A/V team at your event venue to make sure that all of the technology-related queries are answered beforehand.


No one can work hungry. It is foolish to expect productivity on an empty stomach. The food and drink choices are much more important than you think. Meeting attendees want constant access to snacks whether they are sweet or savory. Also, beverages are very important as well; both caffeinated and non-caffeinated.

The majority of meeting attendees prefer to have snacks, but it does not really matter whether you serve snacks or a whole meal. What you need to remember is to provide a different kind of food such as vegetarian or vegan to make sure there is something for everyone. It is best you avoid allergens like nuts and shellfish in food.

Also, another thing to keep in mind is that the food should contain high amounts of protein. Protein provides energy and fuel to the attendees so that they remain alert and do not feel drowsy after having the meal.

Benefits of Applying Design Thinking:

There are many benefits of design thinking and applying them to your meetings.

  • You provide a better way of communication and collaboration between your team and client with design thinking. With the help of this approach, you can bring a massive change in the way people collaborate and communicate in the executive meetings. It also means that you allocate more planning for each of the meetings and involve the stakeholders to be clear regarding their goals.
  • Design thinking helps the organizations in changing their cultures so that they become more customer oriented. This is achieved through the various means of problem solving and introduction of methods that help you in finding out what people truly need. Although every company is different, the useful metrics used for assessment of the impact of design thinking include cultural measures such as internal engagement, employee satisfaction, and efficiency. Financial measures like sales and productivity along with product quality measures like customer satisfaction.
  • Design thinking encourages measurement of results and realizing the improvements through incremental success. When you conduct surveys, ask for feedback from the attendees and hold focus groups, this leads to a mindset of constant growth and betterment that goes a long way towards having more productive meetings which are more of an experience and less of a time waste in the attendees’ eyes.
Categories: Productivity


Leave a Reply

Avatar placeholder

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *