A learn-by-doing community for creative professionals.


June, 2014

What Is a Studio Project?

A place to practice, A safe environment, A real case study, One-on-one coaching, and accelerated insights.

Research, Synthesis, Insights, Strategy and Great Ideas. It’s something we’re all asked to do nearly every day at our jobs. At The Design Gym, we’ve been teaching the design thinking process to companies and individuals for more than 2 years…and we’ve found that 2-hour workshops and one-day bootcamps are fun, inspirational and transformative…but that people still can struggle with taking this way of working back to their daily job. We’ve been experimenting for the last year and a half with various formats and ways of engaging people with this empathic and dynamic way of innovating. The Studio project is our best way of getting people to work through the design thinking process in real time with a real challenge. Over the course of 5-8 sessions, we take a cohort of professionals from research to insights and from insights to solutions.

The next Studio Project is coming up in July…sign up here!

We are committed to enrolling unique and fascinating companies for these projects. We’ve had the pleasure of working with some pretty diverse challenges – from rethinking lunch with Applegate to rethinking social networks with Mozilla! The results, both from the company perspective and the student perspective, have been really exciting!


Student Perspectives: Real world practice and experience


jessica“I’m excited about applying the [design thinking] process to a real project. It’s tough to get that sort of practice when you’re not doing it in your daily job”

Jessica Martin, Innovation associate






“I was always really craving to do it, as opposed to just learn about it… a 2-hour class where we just have some fun with sticky notes!

I love that we’re really working with a client and we get to try to really solve a real-world problem”

Sally Hall, Development Officer



Client Perspectives: Real Time Open Innovation

From the perspective of our clients, The Studio Project looks and feels like real-time, open innovation.


Applegate is constantly looking for ways to connect with consumers, to both learn and to educate. The opportunity to access a diverse, unbiased group of motivated thinkers was irresistible.  The result of our partnership with The Design Gym was clear and unexpected insights from real people that were thoughtfully distilled into concise ideas and actions.

As our consumers continue to inspire us, innovation will remain a primary goal at Applegate and we look forward to collaborating with The Design Gym again.

Tiffany Gale, Digital and Social Media Manager

Applegate, Studio Project Client, Winter 2014

Download the Applegate Studio Project Case Study Here

The Design Gym process allowed us to better understand our problem and users, while leading us to many awesome ideas and solutions. Besides being a fun and extremely valuable workshop, I met a wonderful group of enthusiastic and smart people. I definitely recommend a collaboration with The Design Gym and their team of “solvers” on your next project!

Holly Habstritt, UX Lead

Mozilla, Studio Project Client, Winter 2012

Download the Mozilla Studio Project Case Study Here


If you spend more time with your staff than you do with your customers, if you enjoy feeling naked (Watch at minute 2!) in front of people…you’ll enjoy being the company challenge at the center of The Studio Project.

The next Studio Project is coming up in July…sign up here!


What’s going on in Chile? 

One thing we’re really proud of here at The Design Gym is that we’re a community driven organization. Looking back, it’s pretty clear that everything we’ve built has been done with input and participation of a core community that believes in what we’re doing and is willing to pitch in to make it happen.

Two years ago, someone said that the Weekend Workouts would go more smoothly if we addressed group dynamics more directly and had a facilitator for each team. So we invited people from the previous weekend workouts to come back and help fill that space. It changed the dynamics of the workshop…for the better!

About a year ago, a former client and community volunteer Gabrielle Santa-Donato came to us and pitched Startup Chile to us. Would we be interested to see if there is a global need for project-based design thinking education? Would we help her apply to the six-month accelerator in our name?

A few months later, Gabrielle and Daniel Stillman (one of the co-founders of The Design Gym) were headed to Santiago, Chile. Gabrielle for six months, Daniel for one. Now, this July, Andy Hagerman, another founder, and community facilitators  Nidhi Chaudhary and Justine Lai are heading down to Santiago for a month to help kick-start a multi-week training program to build local community facilitators to keep The Design Gym going after the StartUp Chile program ends.

We’re lucky…we’re a small organization and we can move fast and make small bets. Design Thinking isn’t just theoretical for us…we’re practicing what we’re preaching and so excited to see what comes out of this awesome experiment.