$995 – $1,295

Insight-driven Innovation

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THNK School of Creative Leadership

510 Beatty Street, Suite 100

Vancouver, BC V6B 1R8


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“If I were given one hour to save the planet, I would spend 59 minutes defining the problem and one minute resolving it.” —Albert Einstein

Why do so many of us hesitate to jump into new challenges, products, processes, and businesses?

Perhaps we've been trained backwards. We race to what feels like the glory—to the highs of big ideas and solutions, with little time for rigorous definition or good listening. In today's increasingly complex and unpredictable landscape, the gratification of a quick fix blows up on itself more often than sticks. It's clear: the typical way of approaching problems is no longer sufficient.

What stands in the way of disruptive innovation? We do.

Even just a decade ago, we had plenty of time to contemplate the impact of new technologies. Now, the exponential pace of development is such that we have months, weeks, or days before new entrants and interplays transform our expectations, values, and lives. Leaders have more responsibility now than ever—not only are we to engage and motivate, but to see around corners.

Sensing: new tools for problem definition

The ability to sense around corners can be learned. In this immersive 1.5-day class from THNK, focus to deeply understand the people you serve, incorporate customer empathy higher up the design chain, and create awareness of personal and organizational biases and blind spots.

  • Examine problems from multiple angles—past and future—to expose predictable, potential-draining assumptions

  • Complement research with ethnographic techniques for deeper, more human insights

  • Practice what it means to walk in ‘someone else’s shoes’, and keep the experiences, frustrations, and delights of real people at the center of your problem-solving

  • Gain self-awareness of your own perspective—how you see others, and how this enables or puts the brakes on your capabilities as an explorer

  • Consider how emerging technologies shape user expectations and behaviour

Sessions within the 1.5-day program include:

The radical listening of powerful questions

As CEO of Starbucks, Howard Schultz visited a random cafe location on a daily basis. How often do you talk to your customers? Are you asking the right questions? User interviews are essential to operationalize a better response to the aspirations and blocks of existing and prospective customers. Set up a repeatable process for the right solution space with THNK’s powerful question framework.

Leading with empathy

The best products and services come from empathetic designers who have the imagination to envision the flip side. We’ll use a shared game to internalize the starting point of human-centered design. Using empathy maps, we’ll deconstruct what users see, say, think, and do. Powerful insights surface when we don't shy away from the messy disconnects that define us. Concrete pains and gains lie beneath.

Emerging technologies

Our collective anxiety that humans may be replaced by machines is a fear-driven narrative. But what if five years from now, an optical surgeon's lasers will not render her obsolete, but will enhance her precision and diagnostic clues? We add emerging tech to long-standing human characteristics to be better-prepared—when it comes to our users, how might the experience we deliver be enhanced beyond our imagination?

Customer + ecosystem journey mapping

In the platform age, the pervasiveness of global interconnectedness goes way beyond a single stakeholder view. An ecosystem of many co-creates value. By looking at key customer interactions through a fresh lens, identify gaps and see opportunities for business model innovation.

Leadership mindsets for sensing

As emotional human translators, it is impossible for us to be purely objective and unbiased. And why turn away from our superpower? These are precisely the same emotions that often feed good instincts. Human-centered design asks us to follow what we see while keeping finely-tuned to multiple perspectives.

What past participants say about THNK:

What surprised me? The tools. Discovering myself as a leader. Addressing my fears. An incredible supportive network. —Nicole Bridger, Creative Director/Founder, Nicole Bridger Design

“THNK is an explosion of mindful attentiveness. After my time in Vancouver, I have an amazing family that supports me fully as a whole human and creative leader.” —Colin Mutchler, Product Manager, Change.org

“This is a real-world Jedi school. It strengthens you, makes you better at what you already thought you were good at. It brings in tools, practices and people that take this stronger version of yourself even further.” —Aaron Brady, Marketing Innovation Manager, Pacific Blue Cross Insurance

Who is the program designed for?

The class is for professionals leading or working in teams with a challenging business agenda:

  • Marketing, advertising and brand leads looking to complement segmentation with real customer needs and desires

  • Startup founders and product management leads looking for more instinctual, repeatable creative confidence

  • Technologists who want to think more holistically about human interaction and needs

  • Intrapreneurs looking for greater customer focus or who want to create ventures targeting new markets

Human-centered design is all about cross-disciplinary collaboration. Consider bringing a partner-in-crime—a collaborator, peer, or someone with an challenging mandate from a different part of your company.

What is the format for the 1.5 days?

We believe in interactive, practice-based learning over theory. In this learning environment, participants practice new skills on real-life topics and challenges coached by facilitation, leadership, and innovation practitioners.

We’ll use individual reflection, pairs discussion, and group exploration to keep energy high, including time for coffee and lunch. Day 1 will run from 8:30 AM—4:30 PM and Day 2 will run from 8:30 AM—12 noon.

Where will this experience take place?

This event will be hosted at The Home, an extraordinary space designed from the ground-up to foster big picture thinking and renew creativity.

Who will facilitate?

Erin Cooper, Agile Teaming Expert, Program Manager and Senior Client Advisor, and Sarah Dickinson, Experience Designer & Design Thinking leader, Co-Founder of THNK Vancouver will guide the experience.

What should we prepare or expect?

Come to the day well-rested, with distractions put aside. This will be an intense day of thinking, doing, discussion and reflection, and will require much energy. This a devices-off workshop—please bring us your full focus and attention. It will be worth it!

The price of your ticket includes a delicious catered lunch on Day 1. Sharing a meal together is our favourite way to connect and reflect on the day’s learning, share stories, and allow time for you to get to know your fellow participants.

Can't make this event? See our other upcoming events.


What are the refund, cancellation, and transfer policies?


We understand that schedules can change and that despite a registrant’s best intentions they may not be able to attend a workshop. If a registrant is unable to attend the workshop an alternate delegate from the registrant’s company is welcome to attend in their place. Please let us know in advance the name of the person who will be attending on your behalf. If this is not done at least 24 hours prior to the program, they may not be guaranteed entry.


If a substitute cannot be found, we will accept cancellations and issue refunds under the following conditions: if we are notified of the cancellation on or before July 5, 2017, we will issue a full refund. If we are notified of the cancellation between July 6 and July 9 (inclusive), we will issue a 50% refund. No refunds will be issued after July 9, 2017.

Other Policies

If THNK School of Creative Leadership Ltd. cancels the workshop for any reason, all registration fees will be fully refunded. Registration fees will be fully refunded if the registrant cancels prior to July 5, 2017. No refunds will be provided if the registrant cancels after the cancellation deadline (July 9, 2017) or is a “no show” at the workshop. If the registrant cancels after July 5 but on or before July 9, half of the registration fees will be refunded. Please email any communication re: transfers or cancellations to vancouver@thnk.org.

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THNK School of Creative Leadership

510 Beatty Street, Suite 100

Vancouver, BC V6B 1R8


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