Takeaways and lessons learned from the Design Thinking Jam

Weren’t able to attend the 2018 Design Thinking jam? We’ve got you covered – in this article, we’ll go over everything you need to know about the first of these events, as well as cover the state of affairs alongside the “L’Itinéraire” project.

Since last summer, Talsom’s innovation experts have been accompanying the community group throughout a comprehensive Design Thinking process in order to help the organization and its vendors come to terms with the reality of digital content consumption in the context of street ‘zine sales.

A human-scale ideation session
September 13th, 2018: The Faubourg Québec space was buzzing. The reality is that it’s uncommon to have a gathering of about 180 people underneath an overpass to host an outdoor Design Thinking workshop. An unusual venue, a sunny afternoon, and a strong desire to make a lasting, positive impact – all ingredients that help stimulate creative thinking. As the participants arrived and spread out across about thirty picnic tables, we got to work.

 design thinking jam takeaways

A space for unorthodox ideas

Following a detailed explanation by the event hosts coupled with a clear understanding of the worker and working environment, each team was assigned a design challenge for which they had to come up with solutions via a brainstorming session.

Identified beforehand by the project teams, these four design challenges are the results of initial research and observation conducted over the first months of the project:

  • How do we increase visibility, awareness and contributions for the L’Itinéraire organization?
  • How do we enable potential buyers to purchase L’Itinéraire products using a payment method other than cash?
  • How do we ensure that the interaction between the vendor and the public is memorable, pleasant and mutually beneficial for both parties involved?
  • How do we highlight the vendor’s best qualities through a more relevant and interesting product or service?

Quantity, broad thinking and an open mind were the keywords of the day – there aren’t any bad ideas. All told, over a thousand ideas were put to paper.

“Ideation is the funnest part of Design Thinking
– that’s when we let our craziest ideas out!” – Adil Mansouri, Tech Strategy & Innovation Consultant.

Once all the ideas are categorized, participants vote for their favourites. Out of this ideation step, every team has to narrow their choice down to one single idea in order to move forward.

Design Thinking Jam 2018 L'Itineraire Montreal

When an idea comes to life
What’s the next step after we’ve identified the right idea? We need to make it real. To accomplish this, the event participants were provided with boxes containing various tools and materials allowing them to craft a version of their idea. Each team then recorded their very own presentation of their prototype.


Following this step, known as the “imagination phase”, over 30 prototypes were developed by our participants.

“One of the interesting quirks of Design Thinking is how much deeper we dive than in what folks think of as traditional brainstorming when we’re facing a challenge. What each participant was able to accomplish within the span of 3 hours involved placing themselves in the skin of the organization’s workers, learning about their on-the-ground reality, helping find ideas and developing them.”
– Dany Jutras, Tech Strategy & Innovation Consultant.

design thinking Tech Strategy & Innovation

Three weeks later – where are we now?
Thanks to all the content coming out of the Design Thinking Jam, the team was able to collect considerable data to move the project forward. The team members learned a great deal about the organization’s workers and their environment. Furthermore, the team participated once again in a new ideation exercise based upon hundreds of ideas stemming from the last event. By adopting an iterative approach, the final proposed answer stands a greater chance of achieving success with the workers and the public.

“Upon review of all the ideas and prototypes, we chose the ones with the greatest feasbility and potential impact to push them even further. We then presented those to the team at L’itinéraire.”
– Valérie Dionne, Innovation & Tech Strategy Consultant.

Ideas are only brought to life when there’s work behind them. That’s why our teams evaluate the selected project for feasibility, impact and viability. Design Thinking considers potential solutions along a financial, social and technological axis.

Testing prototypes in the field
This past week, the team turned their focus on the next phase in Design Thinking: co-creation.

Coinciding with the release of the latest edition of L’Itinéraire magazine, our experts accompanied the vendors at the points of sale to test two carefully chosen payment options with the aid of prototypes and thorough testing, in order to determine various hypotheses for each potential solution.

Over the next two weeks, the team will continue to work with the public and with the vendors to not only validate the initial ideas which sprung out from the Design Thinking Jam, but also to foster additional innovation and potential solutions. Furthermore, L’Itinéraire can already begin envisioning what the ultimate idea will look like, a solution that has already been validated, tested and accepted by both the public and the vendors.

Live – or relive – the 2018 Design Thinking Jam experience?

A new service offer based on Design Thinking

Last week, Talsom unveiled its new “Technology Strategy and Innovation” service offer at Salon Connexion. This new offer based on the Design Thinking approach, is part of the support that Talsom offers companies in all of their digital transformation from strategy to implementation, through business architecture, project leadership and change management. 

A digital transformation powered by Design Thinking (DT / DT)

In an era where digital transformation has become a concrete reality for every business, Talsom wants to support each of its customers in defining their identity and their digital target. Indeed, organizations that fail to identify these two variables will find it difficult to survive in the environment, that is becoming more and more competitive. Supported by our team of experts in Design Thinking, each company will be able to make these key digital decisions that will serve as a guide for all of its initiatives and activities.

We can not measure what we do not define

We embed an innovation-driven culture at the heart of organizations and co-create organizational designs, processes, channels, services, and digital products. Through the approved approach of Design Thinking, we want to make digital transformation a lever of differentiation, competitiveness and growth for each company. The cornerstone of innovation, Design Thinking is more than just an approach, it is a state of mind based on empathy. With a deep understanding of users, their needs, and the ecosystem in which they operate, the iterative approach of Design Thinking creates a collaborative climate from which viable and desired solutions to the marketplace emerge.

We can not improve what we do not measure

Today 56% of CEOs confirm that improvements made through the introduction of digital have already increased their profits [1]. Design Thinking supports companies in aligning their strategic vision with the successful execution of their technology projects.

To download the details of the new offer, visit our PAGE.

Put the employee at the center of the organization

Mandate and Challenges

Today more than ever before, businesses are searching for ways to innovate and to ensure that they are industry leaders. To do so, they can now turn to new technologies trending on the market, review their business processes and ultimately take part in the wave of innovation. Several businesses have very wisely taken such highly useful aproaches, thus demonstrating their will to be proactive to avoid being left behind.

In the present case, our client took its reflection a step further by addressing the very needs of its employees before it began the process of implementing changes. It asked itself the following question : “ How can I place my employees at the heart of the organization ? ” The idea behind this inquiry was to ensure that the  members of the company were fully mobilized and had the will to participate in the future growth of the company. The client thus wished to define the employee experience by ensuring it understood the key needs of its employees.
This would indeed make for the very challenge of the project: placing employees at the heart of the approach.

Needs and Objectives

  • Develop an environment in which each employee can develop on a professional and personal level.
  • Define an employee experience that aligns with the company’s values.
  •  Translate the information and comments received into concrete, achievable actions.
  • 22 days of projects.
  • 6 members of the transdisciplinary horizon project team.
  • 60 individual interviews.
  • Generation of 500 new ideas.
  • Creation and validation of 74 ideas.
  • Delivery of a solution that equally concerns both the company’s culture and technology

Potential Solutions

The client successfully achieved two key deliverables. First, it was able to target the answers to important issues that employees had communicated and to respond to them with both technological and support tools. This solution, which resulted in a Team Member Journey, was ultimately validated by employees. Second, the solution consisted of defining the pillars of the company in an effort to mobilize employees. As part of this process, a cultural change was instilled within management in order to fully mobilize employees and thus support the company’s growth. This led
to the development of procedures whereby employees can understand the meaning behind their work, become empowered to realize their potential and be recognized for their efforts.

Design Thinking helping digital transformation

72% of executives think that the next three years will be more crucial for their industry than the last five. Nowadays, every company is looking for something that will differentiate them from the competition and will propel them on the innovation track. Does a magical solution really exist? It’s hard to say. However, placing the human at the center of the business processes and eliminating the work done in silos is a major technique for innovation. It’s the logic behind Design Thinking.

Process of Design Thinking - Talsom

What is digital transformation?

We live in an era punctuated by transformations and changes due to the current technologies such as cloud, the internet of things, Big Data, artificial intelligence and augmented or virtual reality. All these innovations are improving external work with clients and internal processes inside organizations. If the idea of digital transformation was ambiguous for most executives a couple of years ago, as of 2017[1] it was a center part of their strategies. A deeper digital transformation of the firm is only possible if a thorough reflection is done prior to the change. It needs to be well organized and comprised in a continuous process.

For Talsom, digital transformation is about the evolution of the entire business model and value chain while relying on an innovation process and recent technologies. Gain your hedge, by targeting higher than obvious solutions and increase the forward-looking potential of your products and business model.

As you all know, doing e-commerce is not sufficient to enter the era of digital transformation. You must rethink your products, internal functions and the integration of your organization in its ecosystem. To achieve this major transformation, silo work isn’t an option anymore because the impacts of technology are throughout the entire organization. Technology modifies the relations that you foster with your employees, suppliers, distributors and clients.

A few months ago, while I was meeting a business leader, he was wondering how technology could support his strategy and growth. Nowadays, the question you should ask is «which impact will technology have on my ecosystem and how can I prepare myself for it? ». There’s no already made answer for this question but rather a variety of possible scenarios. To identify them, you must see your organization with a new perspective.  This is the role of Design Thinking.

The collective creativity

Design Thinking is mainly the art of understanding people. Clients, suppliers and partners must be acknowledged so the proposed solution is aligned with their expectations. If we want to implement a good digital transformation, every stakeholder must be considered, listen and understood. When we do a complete immersion in the user’s world, we identify its problems with ease. We can then define a solution that suits perfectly their needs. By interrogating its business ecosystem or observing the user in a real situation, we can obtain objective data.

Once your needs are defined, gather people with various expertise and distinct roles around a table, either inside your company with – marketing, finance, human resources, customer service, technology-  or in your business ecosystem with – clients, partners, suppliers, board of directors –.  Merge their vision in collective creative workshops and you’ll explore unexpected technological scenarios.

Prevent stakeholders from working in an isolated way will allow the collection of all their perspectives and promote the construction and deconstruction of ideas.

Furthermore, the solutions are achievable only if they can come to life. That’s why the ideas should be filtered according to viability and feasibility logics so the result is durable and adds an economic value for the user. All of this is facilitated with the help of technologies.

The concepts can be materialized in a variety of ways, with a post-it wall, a game play, a brainstorming, an object, an interface or even a storyboard. Every stakeholder can test a prototype and interact with it, which reinforce the construction of efficient solutions. Once again, the staple approach of human-centered innovation revolves around co-constructing solutions, as each phase broadens comprehension.

 The interconnexion of human and technology

Currently, Design Thinking is used in a lot of sectors and activities such as human resources, marketing and technology. By adopting this approach, you maximize the chances to increase your result rate regarding digital transformation. Not only will you be able to see your business model with a new viewpoint but you will do it in a way that mobilize your teams.

A connection exists between human and technology, but the starting point for your digital transformation is undoubtedly a discussion between coworkers and business partners. Ask the right question, at the right time and you will create value. Thereafter, what will emerge of these exchanges will allow you to identify your target, the rest of your actions and will help your think outside the box.


Article co-written by Charlotte Cagnet

[1] Communiqué de Presse: Gartner Survey Shows 42 Percent of CEOs Have Begun Digital Business Transformation. Avril 2017.
Récupéré de: https://www.gartner.com/newsroom/id/3689017