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Coming in Late Summer 2021

Cultivating a Design Mind

An innovative workshop to take your design skills to the next level

A 2-day event set in the beautiful Colorado Rockies
Attendance is strictly limited to ensure an intimate collaborative experience

Not Just Design Thinking; How to Think Through a Design

The design mind distills a design problem down to the essential few questions that, if asked in the right sequence and answered in a thoughtful way, are almost guaranteed to produce an elegant and genuinely human-centered design. The design mind’s thought process is, above all else, simple and effortless. Simple because it is just a series of questions, requiring no complex theories, concepts, or methodologies to understand. Effortless because if you ask a better question, the answers reveal themselves almost automatically.

At this workshop, we will shift our focus away from methodologies, workflows, and artifacts, and instead focus our efforts on finding a simpler way of thinking. 

Our starting question is this:

How might we design...This is the thought process you will use on the project. This is the also the essence of design that we are trying to discover (the design mind thought process).

…a better way...This is the final deliverable of the project, the experience we want to provide to our customers in service of the outcomes.

…for a person...Who are we designing for? We must answer this before we can design the way.

…to get the outcomes and results…What outcomes do these persons want? What does success look like? And what are the variations on the outcomes and the prerequisite results?

…that they care about...What makes them care about it? What events happen in their lives to trigger their need or desire to achieve this outcome and these results?

and convince my stakeholders and collaborators it’s the right thing to do? What is the business case for the better way? What resistance might I confront? How do I engage my partners to support the way?

From this starting point, we will follow a cascade of prerequisite questions and answers - focusing  on only those concepts and activities that are essential to answering each one - until we arrive and the final answer, the final design. 

What Will I Learn?

​Some of the topics we will discuss include:

  • The Mythical User

  • The Components of Design

  • The Governing Dynamics of Human-Product Systems

  • Engineering the Human Component

  • The Principles of Results-Driven Design

  • Research Methods for Discovering Results

  • The Metrics of Successful Design: Relevance, Findability, and Effectiveness

  • Eliminating Irrelevance

  • Solving for Findability

  • UX Writing for Effectiveness

  • Signal-to-Noice Ratios in Human-Product Communication

  • Designing in an Agile Shop

  • Mastering the Politics of UX

  • Envisioning Experience Roadmaps

  • Discovering What's Next

Who Should Attend?

Cultivating a Design Mind is for UX/Product Designers, Product Owners, Product Managers, Scrum Masters, and Developers. Design is a shared responsibility. Great design ideas can come from anyone in the product team. All can benefit from cultivating a design mind.


Socratic questioning over lengthy lectures. Active participation over passive listening. Collaborative problem solving over genius design.

In addition to leaving the workshop with a solution to one of your hardest design problems, the workshop includes:

  • Optional evening talks and activities

  • The Design Mind book signed by the author

  • Monthly post-workshop virtual meetings to check in on how it’s going and answer questions

  • A Slack community to continue collaboration and exchange of ideas

Why Colorado?

In a word: inspiration. To create inspired ideas, you need to work with other passionate people in an inspiring place. You won't be sequestered in a widowless conference room, but in an airy rooms with views of the mountains and forests, and outdoor spaces for breakout sessions to gather, discuss, and collaborate with your fellow participants. Last year, Colorado Design Labs put all workshops on hold until the pandemic lifts, believing that you cannot generate the same level design energy in a Zoom meeting that  you can working face-to-face in an inspirational place.

About Your Discussion Leader

John Bowie has led product design teams in Fortune 10 multinational corporations, leading professional services organizations, and boutique private companies. Over the course of his career, he's had the opportunity to learn from some of the most talented designers in the world, to work with preeminent thought leaders in the field, and to develop pragmatic approaches to design that conform to the time-and-resource constrained business environment of the 21st Century. In 2020, he founded Colorado Design Labs, an idea laboratory for discovering and sharing innovative ways to design products and services that “just work.”

Want to Know More?

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