Design Thinking Weekend Workout with the Brooklyn Brainery

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The Design Gym is a community at the intersection of learning and creative problem solving. We bring together classes of diverse professionals to work on projects of aspirational organizations – learning by doing. This month’s weekend workout focused on the challenges faced by the Brooklyn Brainery as they plan a new offering outside their wonderful four walls.

Below are four videos and summaries of the insights each team delivered after just one day of work, along with feedback from the Brainery Staff.

The right process and amazing people is an irresistible combination! Photos from the day are at the bottom, too…

Thanks to all the amazing people who came out to the workshop and the Brooklyn Brainery for spending your sunday thinking about the future of your business.


Retention Expansion Strategy:


We want to launch a community membership program that allows people to progress from a one time student to a teacher within the community. Each time a new community member takes a class they are given two cards. One is a card that acts as a tracker for progression in the community and as a way to know how the most devoted members are. The other acts as a promotional card that can be given to a friend, and gives them 20% off their first Adventure Club trip.

As people continue to take more classes they work their way through different levels, gaining access to new opportunities and benefits. A new community member would begin as a Novice, progress to an Explorer and finally become a Dundee.


Brooklyn Brainery Feedback:
I like that it takes an informal behavior that’s already happening (people beginning as students and becoming teachers) and begin to formalize it. We have a lot of instructors who both take classes and teach classes, this would give structure and a clear progression to that.


The Real Little Italy Concept:



Experts who love their neighborhood and have a rich knowledge of its history and culture can share what they know with a greater audience. For example many people don’t know that the original Little Italy is actually in the Bronx. Helen has a great deal of knowledge about the people and establishments in the neighborhood that have made it what it is and a desire to share this knowledge with others.


Brooklyn Brainery Feedback:
I love the idea of engaging new people who just happen to know and love sharing a great deal about their neighborhood. Even just sitting down at a bar and hearing their stories could be really interesting.


Creating Comfort in Adventure:



Utilize the already existing brand to create social circles of people who want to connect throughout New York City, based on where they live. During these happy hour’s they will connect with teachers who are local to the area in which they live.

This first meeting is a one time experience to create comfort for people who might be intimidated to go out somewhere with people they’ve never met before and introduce them to this new concept.

Use instructors they already know to keep something familiar and show examples during the Happy Hour of what different excursions might look like.


Brooklyn Brainery Feedback:
I like the idea of a mixture between the known and unknown. Grabbing pictures allows people to know what the experience may be like but also allows us to catalogue all these experiences.


Financial Flexibility: 


People new to the city are going to have different amounts of time freedom and flexibility; we believe that payment options should also be flexible to accommodate different varying schedules. Single event based pricing for those that can only make an event or two per month, with an option for a monthly payment that gives them access to a variety of events each month.

In addition to the financial flexibility, another benefit would be an email sent to each attendee before the event takes place. This email covers who else has already signed up for this event, a quick blurb about them and some points of common interest amongst the group to spark conversation.


Brooklyn Brainery Feedback: 
“My favorite thing about this, is getting the email upfront that says this is who is going to be at the event and that the email comes after you’ve already signed up. It allows you to know who will be there without selecting purely based on that”.


Photos from the weekend:

Daniel Stillman
[email protected]
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