What is a DesignShop?

A concentrated, creative 3-5 day intense collaborative design activity to help teams design solutions to strategic, operational or systemic problems, or to explore opportunities for change in depth. The process is particularly well-suited to addressing problems that cannot be solved definitively, are unique in nature, have considerable uncertainty and ambiguity, have political, organizational or economical constraints, and possess consequences difficult to imagine. The DesignShop methodology, developed by Matt and Gail Taylor, was designed to succeed where standard linear problem solving techniques fail. The methodology has been deployed by a network of over 1,200 practitioners in specially designed creativity-focused management centers around the world. DesignShops have been used by more than 55% of Fortune 100 companies to get results from large teams fast and organizations as diverse as the World Economic Forum (WEF), World Health Organization (WHO), The World Bank, INSEAD, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Danish Maritime Forum, World School, Inter-American Development Bank, Lego Foundation, Oxfam, Rockefeller Foundation and thousands more have experienced DesignShops.

The goal of the DesignShop method is to make total environment, physical, mental, informational, workflow within which individuals, teams and groups work with minimal intervention and unintended consequences affecting their result. We call this the Zone of Emergence, or Group Genius.
— Matt Taylor, Co-designer of DesignShop Methodology

Group Genius

Group Genius is the ability of a group working iteratively and collaboratively to seek, model and put into place higher-order solutions. Time compression, systemic work-flow, dynamic feedback, individual creativity and collective creativity are core features of group genius. Group Genius is an expression that has been used to explain the nature of the phenomenon of flow. Group Genius contradicts the myth of the Lone Genius, the superhuman individual who has an innate ability to see what others cannot.

In DesignShops, Group Genius is not a metaphor: it is a real and powerful phenomenon that unfolds when a group is able to create something new and meaningful through collaboration.

DesignShops in Detail

The following books, articles and videos describe the experience from the perspective of participants:

Past DesignShops

If you’d like to dive deeper into our origin story, you can see examples of past projects, including world leaders sharing their experience of the process used at Davos.