Co-Design Workshops Design Canvas

I share in this post a tool that I use in the Design Process Facilitation courses to plan the workshop-type sessions of co-design solutions, whether these are business, product/service design, strategy or simply taking requirements.

The Canvas Workshop Design has a twofold purpose: on the one hand, it will serve to guide the conversation with the people responsible for the order, or challenge, (check list of things we need to know), and on the other, it will serve as a canvas to sort out all the information we have about the challenge (puzzle of contents and needs).

The canvas is organized around two different types of content, so it has been reflected even visually: raw material of the challenge, ie the information that allows us to understand the order (circular part, left), and the pattern of what we will do during the workshop, ie the distribution of tasks, dynamics, schedules and materials we will use (linear part, right).

Let’s start with the left side of the canvas.


Purpose of the Workshop: Here’s why the people in charge of the workshop want to do it. Tip: keep in mind that there are explicit and latent objectives, investigate well.


Participants: By this I mean all the people who will be present during the workshop. Apart from the number of participants, it is important to reflect the reasons why the people responsible for the workshop want them to be present. As experts, for our part, we could even propose people we consider to be of interest for the objective of the workshop. Tip: Find out the roles of each participant, and write down any anecdotes or comments they make about them. In a system it is not the parties that are important, but the relationships between them.


Expected results: Unlike the objective of the workshop, the expected results have to do with the deliverables, tangible or intangible, that the commissioners hope to obtain at the end of the workshop. It would be something like the artifacts of the expectations of the people who have commissioned the workshop.


Content: It refers to all that information we need to have during the workshop, and we need to have previously prepared, because one way or another will be used during it. I am referring to information such as statistical/metric reports, strategy reports, research results, etc. That is to say, everything that will help us to put all the participants at the same level of information, or the information that will help us to co-create the solutions. Tip: To take printed, at least, the most important thing, once counted the information has to be visible during the workshop to work with it.


Dynamics: From what we have seen before, what we will do will be an idea about what dynamics, tasks, tools, games, etc., we will use to address the needs we have in the workshop. Tip: Don’t worry, at this stage of filling the canvas, about the quality of the dynamics. The important thing at this moment is to launch many ideas about what we can do during the workshop to achieve our goals. Now we care about quantity, not quality.

We have already filled in all the circles with content related to the challenge, somehow now we understand the order better. If we have any gaps, we can always make a call, or have a coffee, with the people responsible for the assignment for further information.


Now let’s go to the right side of the canvas.


The first thing we see is a table of n columns and four rows. In the columns we will put the title of each one of the parts of the workshop, for that reason only the obvious ones of Welcome and Closing have been left, the rest will depend on the type of order. In the rows we put those concepts that we have to take into account for each part of the workshop, if you see it necessary you can add more rows.


Objective: I am referring to the objective of each of the phases within the workshop. Tip: The best way to fill in these objectives is to ask yourself the following questions: Why do we put this in the workshop, what does it bring us?


Dynamics: Do you remember that we left the Dynamics section on the left side with many dynamics regardless of quality? Well, now is the time to bring judgment and wisdom to choose those dynamics that will best meet the objective we have assigned to each phase.


Time: The workshop will have some time limits, therefore each part of the workshop must be delimited temporarily so that between all of them, give space to treat everything that will lead us to the final objective.


Artefacts: This is so that we don’t leave anything to chance, everything is ruled out and written down. This section is to record the materials that will be used in each part of the workshop (pens, post-its, presentation in digital or printed, materials that we will give to attendees, prints to put on the wall, etc.) Tip: The workshops have a lot of improvisation, but all improvisation is based on previous work and a common thread.


As it is a canvas and it has to remain everything in the same space, it is not superfluous to put the title of the workshop, the place and the date, in this way if we have more workshops it will be easy to return to work to each one.


Finally comment that this Canvas Workshop Design is the result of my personal experience of over 17 years in the world of innovation and strategy design. The visual aspect is an inspiration from Kaospilot’s Vision Backcasting canvas. I share this Canvas Workshop Design and make it available to the community under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License to adapt it to your needs. All I ask is that if you use and mention this canvas be referred to the authorship www.jesuscarreras.com


If you modify it, it would be good to put a link to your version in the comments of this post, so the community can be enriched with all versions.


Link to the PDF file of Canvas Workshop Design ready to print.