What we're about

Portland Design Thinkers is a community of creative problem solvers advancing human-centered design literacy through high-quality events, lively conversation, and practice-based development.

We're made up of all kinds of people: professional practitioners who use human-centered design methods and mindsets every day, UX designers and researchers, service designers, design strategists, Agile scrum leaders, urban planners, and lots of newbies who've only just discovered it.

Typically, we've scheduled in-person meetups every month. With physical gatherings not possible during the Covid pandemic,, we're leaning into the current moment by moving all of our programming online -- and accelerating it with weekly events instead of monthly.

Since April 2, every Thursday evening we bring our design community together for Dial-In Design Talks: casual weekly happy-hour confabs, webinar-style presentation, and skills-based deep dives into design thinking methods. We all need more social interaction right now. Why not do it with our tribe and maybe pick up a few pro tips while we're sipping?

But we're about more than just meetup events. We also have a private Slack workspace with 340+ members. Please join us there -- it's quickly becoming a thriving online discussion space for all things design thinking. Pop over to this link and sign up: https://bit.ly/2JuQ2V6

For those newer to human-centered design, we regularly host orientations for anyone keen on enrolling in IDEO.org's free multi-week online Intros to Human-Centered Design course (offered several times each year) and help them form teams.

Design Thinking is an iterative process in which we seek to understand the user's latent needs and desires through qualitative, ethnographic field techniques, challenge assumptions, and redefine problems in an attempt to identify alternative strategies and solutions that might not be instantly apparent with our initial level of understanding. It is a way of thinking and working as well as a collection of hands-on methods. One of our favorite explanations of design thinking is one from the Interaction Design Association: "What is Design Thinking and Why is it so Popular? (https://www.interaction-design.org/literature/article/what-is-design-thinking-and-why-is-it-so-popular)"

Popularized by the U.S. consulting firm IDEO and the Hasso-Plattner-Institute of Design at Stanford University in California, design thinking is quickly becoming a foundational approach for creating better user experiences, products, services, environments, facilities, business strategies, and organizational outcomes of all kinds

Upcoming events (1)

Designing a Better Remote Workship Platform with 'Butter'

[**Please note this event's start time is at 10am on Thursday, July 15**].

If you run remote design workshops regularly, you know intimately the many pain points of trying to use an all-purpose tool (Zoom, MS Teams, Webex) for the specialized functions that collaborative online sessions call for. Almost any workshop requires switching between four or five tools simultaneously. Energizing participants, moving into and out of breakout rooms, building artifacts together, playing background music — we all have our hacks to make such things possible, but they are clunky at best, and a trainwreck at worst.

A new startup called Butter.us thinks it can do better. Butter — registered in Denmark but boasting a fully remote and global team — is building a product that’s laser-focused on helping workshop facilitators prep, run and debrief their sessions all from one tool. They want facilitators to be able to energize their sessions with ease and put their focus back on what they do best: hosting inspiring and engaging workshops, as smoothly as possible.

On Thursday, July 15, Portland Design Thinkers will welcome Cheska Teresa, Chief Growth Officer for Butter, who’ll talk to us about their mission to empower facilitators to host even better online workshops than in the physical world, and how the Covid pandemic jump-started their plans. We’ll have a chance to play around with Butter — and even more, provide some feedback on cool new concepts that Butter has in development!

Register at the Zoom link below:

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.


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