Recently, Thicket Labs brought a group of young working professionals based in New York together to think about the topic of meaningful employment. Together, we mapped opportunities and challenges associated with the search for meaningful work. We then took our greatest opportunity, networking, and created a journey map of phases and steps from the process of being disconnected to being a successful networker.
Designing for Engagement
Since we focus on designing workshops that engage all types of learners, we built our agenda using design thinking activities that offer visual thinking, tactile interactions, and storytelling opportunities to engage our participants as they developed their ideas. Our outputs show the richness of the process, as we developed a prioritized map of opportunities and challenges.
Design thinking creates opportunities for deep collaboration -- which is why it's such a workflow essential for so many teams, in the boardroom or out in the field. But when it comes to actionable outputs and measurable insights, the lo-fi format of the data captured from design thinking activities often falls short. The results can be tough to translate into charts and figures for further analysis and action.
Translating Insights into Data
Thicket extracts data from the design thinking experience for stronger workshop outcomes. We use our collaborative intelligence platform, the Possibility Engine, to transform qualitative workshop insights into quantitative datasets for more robust analysis and action. Our datasets are analyzable in a variety of ways using the Possibility Engine, and can be integrated with datasets from other workshops held on another day or in another location. The Possibility Engine includes tools like network analysis and predictive analysis that help shed light on more dynamic or nuanced contexts, like the job search experience.
What We Learned
So what did we learn about meaningful employment from young professionals living and working in New York?
- Out of the 9 overall opportunities and challenges identified by our group, networking was the number one opportunity for meaningful employment.
- While the number of challenges around meaningful employment outweighed the number of opportunities 5 to 4, the voting process revealed that challenges were deemed less important than opportunities overall.
- The practical and the emotional sides of the networking journey are interrelated and messy.
- For this group, the journey to becoming a champion networker involves 5 steps: identify barriers, research skills to overcome them, practice skills with trusted friends, apply them in the real world, get results.
- Step 2, 3 and 4 are interconnected and show the presence of feedback loops. Some of these feedback loops could be further unraveled in a future workshop.
- The middle of the emotional journey is associated with thinking and learning states of mind, like self-reflection and observation, while the beginning and end of the journey are characterized by highly charged emotions, like fear and confidence.
Taking It Further
Conducting this same workshop with more and varied groups of participants will enrich our dataset and reveal new perspectives on what meaningful employment looks like, both in New York but also potentially around the world. If you're interested in bringing this data-driven workshop to your team, please reach out. And for more on our custom data-driven workshop practice, read our Workshop overview.