Directing a Human-centered Design Studio

Client

Me, as Founder, of Darte Design Studio & Consultancy

2018-present

Tags

Organizational Design; Capability Mapping; Team Leadership; Mentorship; Learning and Development Programs; Brand Value Proposition Canvas; Website Re-design

Inside the Studio

Discovery & Alignment Workshops

TDC

I trained facilitators on how to get the most out of their discussions and we used my custom-built whiteboard easels to capture thoughtful discussion. I organized breakout rooms for topic-centric conversations that attracted natural interest from the stakeholders present.

TDC

I guided a 174-year old organization through expressing their dreams and gripes, their moments of strength, and their wishes for the future.

TDC

I facilitated a space for participants to sort their findings into key themes and new insights on the current and future state of their organization.

Candid, Curated Conversations: Thoughts over Tea

Thoughts over Tea

A snapshot of very alive conversations over tea. Participants were encouraged to take notes on the very table they sat at, seamlessly integrating thoughtful and light conversations into one.

Thoughts over Tea

Modeling clay was encouraged as a prototyping material for expressing what 2 dimensions could not.

Thoughts over Tea

Custom invitations with hand-written messages helped participants know this would be a unique experience and that their presence was not merely interchangeable.

Thoughts over Tea

The linoleum block I used to hand carve a custom invitation template made it personalized and approachable.

Thoughts over Tea

The aftermath of a vivid discussion over tea, with insights and further questions captured and at the ready.

Concept Sketches

I challenged myself to visualize these abstract concepts for clarity of implementation.

Pugh Chart

Using Miro to make a Pugh Chart comparing ideas across value and relevance.

Physical Dimensions

I create physical models to illustrate abstract concepts, like the multi-dimensional hierarchies we often transit, using a ROYGBIV structure for differentiation.

Pitch Deck

I prototyped a pitch deck/product strategy roadmap of the company's capabilities, most relevant features, and key assets.

Map of your Internal Landscape

I sketched and my interns illustrated this prototype map that served as a tool for navigating one's inner world during coaching engagements. The tool was a success— many fruitful discussions were had!

Organizational Design

Prototype canvas of the organizational design of Darte, its capabilities, its key markets, and the love it had to give.

Discovery Mindmaps

Hosting coaching clients during open studio hours we dove into a breakdown of the life we love across 4 key areas: emotional, physical, spiritual, and intellectual.

Process Sketch

Using visual sketching wherever possible, I illustrate the processes we take during our coaching, achieving greater alignment and synchronicity.

Business Model Canvas

A prototype of the business model canvas for Darte, the consultancy and coaching business.

TDC Re-design

Sketching key connecting points for executives to understand the interfaces of the re-design project.

Curriculum Map

I created a strategy map for the curriculum that would support the transformation of novice designers in the studio.

World Building

I facilitated a remote design sprint and guided participants to create physical manifestations of the worlds they were trying to create for their customers.

Feed your soil

I modeled the feedback systems in place when you feed your soil, and your soul, with design tools and processes as we did in our journey together in the studio.

Card Deck

I mentored my intern through her rendering of these card deck options.

Edgerton

A Doc Edgerton inspired remake of the design process.

The Challenge

Darte Design was a new studio and consultancy using the latest in design-based experimental methods to establish connection, community, and culture in a new space of collaboration and creation. As part of the challenges of growing from 0 to 1, we had to define Darte’s business objectives and evaluate how business outcomes could be met through a combination of consulting services, studio office hours, coaching cohorts, new market analysis, social media engagement strategies, and more. We constantly audited Darte’s business capabilities to ensure alignment with our strategic goals.

The Process

I led and mentored a team of 6 interns through a studio-based exploration of business creation, design sprints, value discovery for proposed new market directions, and steadfast dedication to radical thinking in the studio. 

As soon as COVID broke out, I created a new online offering of a design thinking bootcamp for leaders struggling to pivot and turn chaos into opportunity. 

I facilitated discovery workshops around value proposition, cultural environment, and future aspirations with key stakeholders of a 174-year old organization. 

I hosted candid, curated conversations in a safe environment over tea to move the needle on alignment and discovery around users’ most pressing issues. 

I piloted custom Staycations and 7-day challenges that assisted in discovery that begins on the inside, and we prototyped various card decks as new tools for collaboration and ideation. 

I created countless opportunities for team bonding, creativity exercises, and mindset activations that brought design principles to life. 

I created physical tools from humble materials for hands-on thinking that brought models and frameworks to life for our clients. 

Results

I grew the design capacity of every colleague that came to work in the studio and they emerged more competent in design capabilities and mindsets. I discovered new ways of tapping into clients’ inner strengths and weaknesses through work with the inner child and new tools like Mapping the Inner Landscape ™. We incorporated somatic intelligence and other energetic body activation methods to provide a holistic approach to root cause identification. We co-produced a pitch deck with the company strategy representing its current state, future vision, and steps for how to get there. We held roundtables with experts in industry to gather feedback on our visions for the future of cannabis lounges. I secured two key clients, Amnesty International and MIT, in ground breaking engagements. 

TESTIMONIAL

“Jess was a very thoughtful leader and would lead meetings with an energized spirit that resonated with the rest of us. She would even pause in the middle to reinvigorate us through meditation or dance so that we were working at our very best.”

— Salma Islam, Intern

"I have been privileged with the opportunity of being coached and mentored by Jessica in numerous experiential forms that has changed how I execute and approach my work. Jessica’s process has been nothing short of spectacular. 

Jessica has a powerful ability to listen deeply to her coachees and recognize where they are in relation to their concerns that her reflections and questions in return are not only groundbreaking, but thoughtful and cohesive to what her coachees are looking to build. Spending time in the Darte Studio has been extremely rewarding for my abilities to zoom out of issues and explore endless possibilities  subsequently building courage to explore possibilities and ask questions like, "What if?", "What next?".  Jessica not only knows how to create a safe space for fears to dissolve, but also knows how to build a brave space for courageous steps to be taken. "

—Zaineb Al-Kalby, Coachee