How to use the Design Thinking methodology to be an active listener?

Design Thinking consists of 5 phases (Empathy, Identify, Ideate, Prototype and Test). This methodology enable you to create solution to a complex challenge.


In each phase, you are required to take a deeper dive, ask questions, listen better and get an understanding of a specific challenge so you can better design an innovative solution.


These practices will enable you to not only learn to design and develop a solution through Design Thinking methodology but also to learn how to be a better active listener.


Here is an example of a workshop that I conducted recently:

Everyone got into teams of 4 ready for a session in Design Thinking and Active Listening.


I gave everyone a question ….

And then 5 minutes for the speaker to talk, the listener to listen and the observer to observe.


It’s a really simple but effective exercise in putting yourself in the shoes of a speaker, observer and active listener. Giving everyone the opportunity to experience each role and reflect in a group afterwards on how they felt, what they experienced and importantly, what they learned from each position.


At the end of the workshop I asked for everyone’s feedback and their personal highlights. Here’s what they said:


Supra: Now I know the values of empathy and active listening. What a great opportunity to practice this with a group of like-minded leaders from all over the world. It was great being around people from diverse background and perspectives.


I learned how to better communicate with everyone through asking better questions, listening carefully, showing interests, appreciating and building new ideas, and lastly I learned how to have meaningful conversation! I am now super excited about applying my learning at day-to-day work and life. Thank you Maryam and Innovation Bazar for such an inspiring learning session.


Raja: I learned that when someone is showing an openness to listen, people feel at ease to talk.


Tima: My biggest learning is about pushing yourself out of your comfort zone!