The Studio Project

The Studio Project is a place to practice, a safe environment, a real case study, one-on-one coaching, and accelerated insights.

More about The Studio Project

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.


A Studio Project is a chance to work over a longer period of time with a team, under creative direction. Each week will build on the next and the work will be highly collaborative. It’s the closest we can get to simulating working in an innovation lab and will help you bring these techniques into your own work.

Over the course of Five Sessions , you’ll dig into a real challenge alongside a client team, getting a real time, real life opportunity to learn design thinking in practice. You’ll build a research and insights plan collaboratively, and get feedback and insights as you go. At the end of the class, you’ll have your own case study on bringing a concept from research through insights and strategy.

Between classes, you and your team will work together to execute on your research plan, and do real-world customer and stakeholder research. Each week we’ll move through the phases of design – at the end, developing a series of insights, concepts and pitches to your client.


Each session will be held on Wednesday nights from 6:00pm – 9:15pm. These will be a mixture of group learning sessions, private coaching ‘office hour’ sessions, and client check-in sessions (see outline below).


The real work, experience, and fun will be achieved outside of the classroom. You should plan on meeting with your team a few times in between each class. Set aside a weekend afternoon, maybe! These might range in doing a 45 minute interview to spending a half-day doing store visits to spending a full day frameworking and developing insights. It’s up to you and your team to find a schedule that works for you. We find that teams spend an additional 10-12 hours a week meeting and working together.


In this class, participants will get a deeper understanding of how each phase of design works and how to navigate them, in practice.


Meet other participants
Review the project plan
Get background on the client and brief


Different types of design research
Knowing what types of research to use when
Research planning: who to talk to, when to talk, where to talk, how many to talk to, what to talk about.


Coaching on research methods and execution
Outputs, Definition and outcomes


How to turn research into useful strategies and insights
How to collaboratively build alignment on project scope and direction
How to move from insights to Ideas
Ideation tools and techniques
Rapid prototyping


Final Presentation to the Client
Discuss the best ways to apply this experience and learning back to your individual work or job

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

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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

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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.

Register Now

Refund Policy

If you come to the first workshop and feel that this class isn’t right for you, we’ll refund your entire fee. Likewise, if after the first workshop session we don’t think you’re a good match for the sessions, we’ll refund your fee and recommend next steps for you on your learning journey

Daniel Stillman
[email protected]
  • Clarissa
    Posted at 11:46h, 05 November Reply

    How much does it cost?

  • Daniel
    Posted at 13:18h, 13 November Reply

    We’ve generally priced the class at $400…I think we’ll be able to keep it there for 2015!

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