How to prepare a high level plan for a 1 week Design Engagement



Hi everyone,

Good evening and happy lunar new year to all those who are celebrating!

I am trying to prepare a high-level plan and approach for leading a 1-week Design Engagement for a Healthcare company, with a use case focused on improving the experience and outcomes of patients who need physical therapy rehabilitation.

Following is the draft plan:

Goal: Understand users


  • Introduction, Ice breaker
  • Activity 01 (30 minutes): Stakholder Map. Work out the relationships of the stakeholders to each other and to the project.
  • Activity 02 (30 minutes): Stakeholder Hopes and Fears. Expectations and expected challenges.
  • Summary (60 minutes)


  • Activity 02 (half a day): Lunch and onsite visit to facility. Observe, talk and understand patients.
  • Summary (60 minutes)

DAY 02: Ideation
Goal: come up with ideas


  • Activity 01 (60 minutes): Empathy Map. Work out complete portrait of users.
  • Activity 02 (60 minutes): User Stories
  • Summary (60 minutes)


  • Activity 03 (60 minutes): Big Idea Vignettes. Idea-brainstorming session.
  • Activity 04: (60 minutes): Prioritize Grid. Finalize key ideas
  • Summary (60 minutes)

DAY 03: Wireframe/Prototype
Goal: Build simple and refined models


  • Early morning onsite visit (30–60 minute)
  • Activity 01: Sketching/Low-fidelity wireframe (60 minutes). Come up with simple models for key ideas
  • Activity 02: Presenting ideas and feedback (60 minutes)


  • Activity 03: Medium-fidelity wireframe (60 minutes). Refine built models.
  • Activity 04: Presenting ideas and feedback (60 minutes)
  • Summary (60 minutes)

DAY 04: Wireframe/Prototype
Goal: Build simple and refined models


  • Testing with patients (120 minutes)
  • Summary (60 minutes)


  • Activity 01: High-fidelity wireframe/Prototype (60 minutes)
  • Activity 02: Presenting ideas and feedback (60 minutes)
  • Summary (60 minutes)

DAY 05: Testing/Feedback

  • Testing with patients (120 minutes)
  • Summary (60 minutes)


  • Summary and Program feedback (120 minutes)


  • This is a week draft plan of Design Engagement activity excluding logistic pre/post-program preparation.
  • The activities should be reviewed and re-planned everyday if needed. There are extra matarials for activities like storyboard, need statement,etc. when required.
  • The program will be held at a real-life physical-therapy facility. Participants should try to live and see things from the patients’ angle to have more insights and provide better solutions to improve thier lives.


  • Kindly give me some comments over the draft plan above. Especially about the type of activities, the order, the amount of allocated time for each activity.
  • What could be potential challenges I might face organizing program like this? Especially with the target audience as physical therapy patients.
  • How to make the activities more lively and fun? Fun and productivity do go along really well; especially when it comes to creative tasks such as these.
  • The activities are planned based on IBM’s design thinking guideline. What other guideline could be used? Any book recommendations?
  • How to make this plan more “high level”? Does a “high level” plan include logistic pre/post-program and contingency plan?

Thanks a million!


Hi Renol,
I haven’t run a workshop so I don’t feel equipped to answer, but I’ve invited a few people to this topic who are very experienced in that area and should be able to assist.


Looks like a great design engagement :slight_smile:

Who will the participants be? Are they all stakeholders in the project?

I’ve run a lot of workshops and collaborations over the last 10 years along the same lines you’ve described. A couple of quick points of feedback:

  • Given you’re relying on contextual enquiry and interviews for day 2, some variation or structure for the research on day 1 may help deepen things - providing participants with some tips on using the time well and how to surface problems/frustrations/insights.
  • Potentially including some other inputs may help them make sense of the problems too, ie introducing some relevant quantitative data.
  • When talking with people about how to combine user needs with business needs, I find Thomson’s version of the value proposition canvas really useful.
  • To keep things lively and fun, I find it helps if I do lots of visual explaining by hand on a whiteboard or butchers paper (rather than perhaps showing pre-prepared slides). This involves developing drawing skills and doing LOTS of practice for how to efficiently explain things, but this all pays off.
  • There is a pedagogical approach called Enquiry-based learning that is hard to do well, but ultimately excellent for triggering curiosity, embracing empathy, reasoning with evidence, intuiting connections, and capturing explanations and conclusions. It works very neatly with case studies, field work and research-based projects which is perfect for UX group work.
  • Harvard has some brilliant visible thinking resources as part of their Project Zero, as does Dave Gray over at Xplaner
  • In terms of books - ‘Gamestorming’ is excellent and one I constantly use and rely on for facilitation and group work.
  • For more details on Enquiry-based learning, see Kath Murdoch’s The Power of Inquiry

I hope that helps!


Dear everyone,

Good afternoon and many thanks for your replies. This is so heartwarming. A few weeks ago I was desperately stuck with this task so just took a lift of faith and ask on UXMastery, other forums and also to strangers I met through meetup events and through Linkedin. The responses have been amazing; much more than I expected.

In the end, I decided to modify my plan based on Google Venture Design Sprint; for the activities, I follow Gamestorming book(This is wondrous! )/ IBM design thinking as well as various other suggestions that I had.

Especially thanks to @Lukcha for introducing me to Enquiry-based learning/Project Zero and Gamestorming. These are lifesaving information. I got a lot of tips reading through the materials and was able develop a fun program as well as get my shy participants to involve more.

I pitched the idea late of Feb and the program just ended well a couple of hours ago!

Much appreciate @HAWK @Lukcha many thanks!


You’re very welcome. I’m so glad your program turned out well. Congratulations!