Keys to collaboration

A presentation at UXLx in in Lisbon, Portugal by Austin Govella

When I teach how to run workshops, designers worry most about facilitation. What if participants won’t join the discussions? What if attendees won’t participate? What if you can’t manage the room?

But facilitation skills are rarely the problem. Regardless of the type of workshop you want to run, good workshops depend almost entirely on how you structure the activities.

In this presentation, we’ll look at two strategies that maximize participation and guarantee clear outcomes and decisions. The first strategy explains how to frame and structure workshops to encourage participation and focus on outcomes. The second strategy explains how to structure activities to achieve those outcomes.

Together, these two strategies help you plan and facilitate winning workshops that maximize participation and create concrete outcomes and value.


The following resources were mentioned during the presentation or are useful additional information.

  • Why UX Workshops?

    Workshops aren't the only way to conduct discovery, kickoff projects, or collaborate with stakeholders and users. I think they're the best way. These posts go into some of the rationale for when to choose workshops, as well as when not to choose workshops.

  • Planning Workshops

    Important takeaways and lessons to keep in mind when planning your own UX workshops.

  • Books for UX Workshops

    These seven books will help you shift your design practice to working more collaboratively with both your team and your clients.

  • Digital Walls for Remote Workshops

    Digital walls allows you to capture virtual sticky notes, images, and sketches. You can use these to support and capture during an in-person workshop. You can also screenshare these to support remote participants or to facilitate entire remote workshops.

  • Hacking Product Design - book site

    Practical tools and activities for better product design: Product designers today can piece together several frameworks and have a new website or app up and running in a matter of days—as long as everyone on the project has the same vision. Implementation isn't the problem, but shared vision is. In this book, Austin Govella, introduces structured activities that help teams build better together. Along with soft skills, your team learns how to hack their design process to create better products and experiences.