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Build a greater understanding of your problem and the people it impacts.

Design studio


An illustration-based way to facilitate communication (and brainstorming) between a project team and stakeholders.


To create a shared understanding and appreciation of design problems confronting the project team.

Time required

3–4 hours

How to do it

  1. Invite between six and 12 participants: stakeholders, users, and team members who need to build a shared understanding. Before the meeting, share applicable research, user personas (unless users will be present), and the design prompt for the exercise.
  2. Bring drawing materials. At the start of the meeting, review the design prompt and research you shared.
  3. Distribute drawing materials. Ask participants to individually sketch concepts that address the prompt. Remind them that anyone can draw and artistic accuracy is not the goal of the exercise. 15–20 minutes.
  4. Have participants present their ideas to one another in groups of three and solicit critiques.
  5. Ask the groups to create a design that combines the best aspects of members’ individual contributions.
  6. Regroup as a whole. Have each group of three present their ideas to everyone. Discuss.
  7. After the meeting, note areas of consistent agreement or disagreement. Incorporate areas of consensus into design recommendations and areas of contention into a research plan.

Example from 18F

Considerations for use in government

No PRA implications. If conducted with nine or fewer members of the public, the PRA does not apply, 5 CFR 1320.5(c)4. If participants are employees, the PRA does not apply.


18F Methods

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