One of the most powerful mechanisms for great design is a well-selected design team.

The design team takes collective responsibility for setting up the engagement to be successful and should bring a representative voice across the range of perspectives involved in the engagement itself. Think of this as the voice of customers, stakeholders, decision-makers or any other key dimension of your target audience, by having this voice in the design process we increase the richness of consideration which will ultimately drive better engagement.

On multiple occasions we’ve found that bringing together the right group for the design has actually negated the requirement to hold the engagement at all – we’ve solved the problem or defined the path through the design process itself.

Design Team Members


Who is the overarching sponsor or sponsors of this engagement and do I need them to participate in the design process or can I simply invite them to set the context for the design team? Sponsors can also influence access to other members for your design team.

Key Players

Stakeholder groups, who have significant domain knowledge and/or interest in the outcomes of this engagement? These could be multiple departments internal to an organisation or a range of external organisations or community groups. A matter to note here is that while we may see a good reason for a group to collaborate toward a shared outcome we may not be fully aware of their respective commercial or political interests which could impact their contribution or openness.

Engagement Expertise

Depending on the scale and complexity of your engagement you may want to consider bringing in professional expertise into the design process.

Responsibilities of the Design Team

To maximise the effectiveness of a Design Team set a clear expectation of responsibilities, these could include:

  1. Finalising the scope and objectives for the engagement.
  2. Identifying and inviting the required participants.
  3. Identifying, and sometimes developing, inputs required for the engagement such as presentations.
  4. Identifying what may be difficult about achieving the objectives, such as complexities in the subject matter or dynamics of the participant group. 
  5. Guiding the participant group toward the objectives in support of the facilitation team

Design Team Meetings

The required timing and number of meetings can vary greatly, often based on the complexity of the topic and the level of alignment and clarity across a Design Team. At a minimum, we suggest booking two (2), sixty (60) minute meetings, approximately one (1) week apart. If possible we recommend kicking off your design process four (4) to six (6) weeks ahead of your target live session date.

Your first meetings should cover:

  1. Context of the engagement. This will involve a key sponsor informing others of the background to this engagement.
  2. Drafting of the Scope, Objectives, Givens 1 for the engagement.
  3. Identification of the participant list.
  4. Identification of any content required as input, whether already existing or in need of creation.
  5. Agree on actions (and owners) to progress the design of the workshop.

Subsequent meetings should:

  1. Discuss any changing context.
  2. Review and refine the Scope, Objectives, Givens.
  3. Update on actions including invite status of participants and preparation of inputs.
  4. Develop the design of the engagement (see ‘how can the experience drive great outcomes’ in Developing Your Approach) to build confidence that it will achieve the desired outcomes.

Scoping Your Engagement

Collaboration Tools

Home –– Field Guide –– Designing Better Engagements –– Design Together