Our Capetown Lounge as people begin to settle in for our December Design Bites session.

Our Capetown Lounge as people begin to settle in for our December Design Bites session.

The last Design Bites of 2018 was a session in which our design leaders Dan, Julian, and Rana covered the overall design process. It was unique, as they normally explore one specific design skill. I was excited to get a bird’s eye view of #Designthinking. With my Blue Bottle coffee cappuccino and cinnamon scone in hand, I entered the Capetown Lounges unsure of what to expect. I was advised to sit with one of three groups. The groups consisted of 6-8 people each (I’m sure you can do that math). It was an intimate and encouraging setting with a diverse group of faces. To my right, a young “UI” designer prepping for his next job, to my left a seasoned design manager who moved to Palo Alto to direct her own team for a local startup, she hopes to meet new people in the area. In front of me sat two students from the University of Washington, who don’t yet know their career aspirations. It’s inspiring to see how diverse these talks can be.

The workshop leader for today, Dan, rose and welcomed us to HanaHaus to inform us of the day’s structure. We were presented with a challenge, to be approached from a designer’s perspective with the help of a facilitator. The task for the day was Event Planning. We were told to plan an event of our choosing from the perspective of its guests. My group of six chose a “corporate party” as our mock event. Rana led us through the process:

“What are your struggles when going to parties? Are there certain reasons you personally might not attend? What questions do you have beforehand, doubts when you are there, uncertainties?”. Some sticky notes began to litter the board: “What is the dress code” “How much do I drink” “Should I dance” “How much do I eat” “Can I approach strangers for conversation, if so how” “Will there be activities.” After placing sticky notes up on the board with snippets of our ideas, we stepped back. We looked for themes that might link several concerns together. Rana devised a new point of attack, he advised we put questions on the board beginning with “why can’t you”… such as why can’t you make the dress code clear? Major themes began to present themselves. The two largest were the anxieties in regards to etiquette, and concern regarding what activities would be available. In addressing these themes Rana led us to the question, why can’t you make me feel comfortable?

We were then asked to think of all the situations or places where we felt MOST comfortable,  and what those activities might look like. Perhaps this would help in addressing discomfort at the event. The group rattled off ideas:

Attendees at the December Design Bites.

Attendees at the December Design Bites.

The boardwalk, a bonfire, a cozy cabin, baking classes, family parties, playing video games with friends… the board was populated with plenty of ideas, none right or wrong, simply thoughts to be bounced off one another.

            As we neared the end of our time Dan thanked everyone for their participation, he asked that each group present their ideas to the room. We went around one by one to the groups and allowed a brave soul per team to inform the room of their findings. In closing we gave a thank you to our leaders. To experience the day from a designer’s point of view was enlightening. It requires a good deal of empathy and foresight. To put yourself in someone else’s shoes is a skill in itself, and I’m grateful to have gone through that process with a team in a controlled environment. Being led through this experiment by professionals is unique to HanaHaus, and I hope to see all of our attendees again the first Monday of next month, and every month then on. If you can make it, please don’t hesitate to look for Scott, in his dress shirt taking pictures and learning more about #DesignThinking! Visit the Design Bites Facebook page here to learn more about the events.

And here to register for January’s session!


Scott Scheuerle is a recent hire at HanaHaus and will be handling Digital and Event Marketing. He joined our team at the end of November and attended his first Design Bites session in early December.

Scott looks to provide a “point of view” account to this particular post as he brings a guest’s perspective to the Design Bites experience. Having recently onboarded, he approached the event as a “new face”, feeling what a HanaHaus guest might feel in attending their first Design Bites or HanaHaus event.

Feel free to reach out to Scott with any questions, concerns, or feedback regarding our Design Bites sessions. His goal is to make you feel most comfortable at OUR company’s events.