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Last edited 22 Jan 2021
A design workshop is a meeting of two or more individuals who collaborate to either start or finalise a design or to make progress on overcoming an obstacle on an existing design. The outcome should be progress made and decisions taken. Alternatively, it may be a structured session that aims to impart knowledge regarding some specific aspect of design to the participants.
Design workshops are usually based on the concept that finding the best possible creative solutions can result from bringing people together. Involving various parties in a workshop can be a useful tool to further collaboration within the design team and increase stakeholder participation.
On a building project, the participants may be from a single team e.g an architectural practice or may be from a diverse range of professions such as architect, engineer, surveyor, cladding manufacturer, and other construction disciplines.
The design workshop may either be formally structured and involve the participants working through a set of pre-determined exercises, or it may be unstructured and allowed to develop in the manner of a free-flowing brainstorming session. Whichever is selected, the flow of creative ideas should be encouraged, with the outcome being some advance in the design being discussed to the satisfaction of most of the participants.
When setting a design workshop, the following may be considered:
- What is the theme or title of the workshop? Define the problem?
- What outcomes are desired? Ensure invitees know the aim of the workshop.
- Establish a meeting plan, which may mean dividing the time into distinct parts.
- How long is the workshop intended to last?
- Who and how many people are to be invited?
- Who will be leading the workshop?
- Who will be recording what happens?
- How to ensure all attendees contribute, rather than just the most confident / loudest.
- How to develop a consensus.
- Ensure the necessary tools are available – e.g laptops, projection devices, flip-charts, post-it notes, paper, pens etc. Make slides of the main themes/activities to be discussed.
- Invite participants, communicating the above points, sending the agenda and informing them of the time, place and expected duration of the workshop, plus any arrangements for refreshments, lunch etc.
- What are the next steps.
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
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- Design management.
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- Design responsibility matrix.
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- Design team.
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- Lead designer.
- Specialist contractors start-up meeting.
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