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Jan 26, 2023
Catalytic Factor Analysis: A New Method for Addressing Wicked Problems

Join Portland Design Thinkers for an evening with Tony Salvador discussing: Catalytic Factor Analysis.

Many (most?) of our design-research methods are designed for point-problems that demand point solutions. All good. But not so good when those methods are applied to complex problems.

Catalytic Factor Analysis is a method designed to address complex sociotechnical challenges through a structured conversation with the crowd. This technique specifically creates a means for both characterizing wicked socio-technical problems and identifying the focus areas to transform the system toward a resolution. The result is the ability to focus resources – state, civil, and institutional, political, entrepreneurial, and educational – on those catalytic factors to transform the system. I will use several examples from recent work to illustrate the method.

Jan 30, 2023
PDT & University of Oregon present: Cultivating Collaboration

Join us for a student-led presentation by the University of Oregon’s Senior Product Design Research class. The online event will reveal the results of a collaboration between PDT’s Advisors (Deb Mrazek, John Furukawa, Colin Bay, and Herman D’Hooge) and the UO students.

The students engaged in a research sprint with their PDT Advisors to uncover valuable insights about PDT’s member community and ecosystem. Over five days, students practiced primary and secondary research, including interviews with members. The four student teams will present their findings to the PDT community for feedback.

Each team will present its research findings to the PDT online community via Zoom on Monday, January 30th, from 4 pm-5 pm PST.

Feb 23, 2023
Science of Storytelling: How the Brain Fires on Story

Portland Design Thinkers is happy to announce an evening with Dan Self and the Science of Storytelling: How the Brain Fires on Story.

100,000 years of human reliance on story has rewired the human brain to think in story terms and story structure to make sense and create meaning out of events and others’ actions.

Meaning…Cells that fire together wire together. And, this evolutionary predisposition is reinforced by the dominant use of story throughout childhood.

So what does this mean for all of us? How can we use this knowledge to create memorable stories? And how can we use our predisposition to turn everything that enters through sensory input into story for engagement?

About Dan Self: Story first. Story always. I've spent most of my working life or what is known as "a career" thinking about, studying, and uncovering the importance of story.

And in the pursuit of discovering the importance of story, I've explored many different job paths that have revealed some important aspects of the brain on story.

Bottom line? I'm not a neurologist, but I've played one on TV, and that's my story and I'm sticking with it.

Jun 22, 2023
From Silos to Synergy: An Anthropologist's Journey in Bridging Methodologies for Collaborative Design

Portland Design Thinkers is excited to announce an evening with Todd Harple - From Silos to Synergy: An Anthropologist's Journey in Bridging Methodologies for Collaborative Design

Over the course of two decades, Todd has adapted his toolkit of methods to suit the audiences, challenges, resources, and desired outcomes of specific projects. With experience and time, he moved from rejecting Design Thinking to embracing it, to relegating elements of it to a part of a multi- (or anti-disciplinary) collaborative toolkit. This talk will illustrate with examples from Todd's work in consumer electronics, fashion, fitness, health and sports how his approach to collaborative design has evolved.

Jul 11, 2023
The New Rules For Work Interactive Workshop

Portland Design Thinkers is excited to announce a SPECIAL EVENT with The New Rules For Work!

You’re invited to participate in an experimental meeting designed to test how a meeting’s location and technology impact meeting results.

By participating in this experiment, you can help answer questions about when groups should meet in person and how to have the best possible meeting experience no matter where you might be. You may also experience new meeting techniques and technology that you can use in your work.

If you agree to participate, here’s how it will work.

-Please join the ZOOM call up to 10 minutes early. You will spend the first 15 minutes filling out a consent form and completing a brief survey. -The group will then participate in a 60-minute creative problem-solving meeting. Your goal is to identify two or three quality responses to a complex challenge. -A meeting leader will guide you through a pre-scripted process. -Following the 60-minute meeting, you will complete a post-meeting survey about your experience. -In addition to the surveys, researchers will collect audio-video recordings for further analysis. You must be 18 years or older to participate and consent to the audio-video recording.

Note: because this is an interactive workshop, the event is limited to the first 30 people. If your registration status changes, please update in MeetUp, in case there are others on the waitlist.

For more information about The New Rules for Work can be found on their website:

If you have any questions or would like to join the PDT Slack you can do so at this link:

Jul 20, 2023
Sketchnoting 101: Intro to Visual Thinking for Design Thinkers

Portland Design Thinkers is thrilled to announce an evening with April Reissmann; Sketchnoting 101: Intro to Visual Thinking for Design Thinkers.

Sketchnoting isn't art. It's communication.

Accessible, visual communication focused on clarity and transferring of knowledge quickly and efficiently. It’s a skill that can benefit everyone and brings joy to those who see and create sketchnotes. As Design Thinkers, we often have to communicate how and why this seemingly "unorthodox" method of problem-solving is so effective. Visual thinking can help win over your audience and get their buy-in sooner and with more dedication to the process. So grab a paper and pen and join this hands-on session to get started sketchnoting and learn how visual thinking can benefit your communication, work, and overall life (for real!).

Sep 7, 2023
Virtual Improv Shenanigans for Design Thinkers

Ignite your design thinking with a twist of spontaneity in a "Virtual Improv Shenanigans for Design Thinkers" session brought to you by Portland Design Thinkers.

Join us for an electrifying online experience where creativity meets unpredictability. Led by seasoned improviser and consultant, Kat Kojic of Hello Gorgeous, this session blends laughter and innovative challenges to enhance your adaptability, ideation, and collaboration skills. Get ready to break free from the ordinary, improvise with fellow designers, and fuel your imagination in unexpected ways!

5 pm (NOTE, this event will start earlier than many of our events)

Jan 11
AI Joins The Team: Integrating AI Into Research

Portland Design Thinkers is thrilled to announce our next event with Jim Kalbach, AI Joins The Team: Integrating AI Into Research

Explore the dynamic relationship between the Jobs to be Done (JTBD) framework and AI in research with renowned industry expert Jim Kalbach. Investigate the pivotal role of AI tools, including ChatGPT, in refining target jobs, generating comprehensive job maps, and swiftly grasping unfamiliar fields. AI can improve efficiency but also learn from Jim about the importance of understanding its limitations.

Join Jim Kalbach on this insightful journey as he expertly guides you through the powerful synergy between JTBD and AI, empowering researchers to seamlessly transition from a blank page to deeper validation and innovation when AI becomes a part of the team.

About our speaker: Jim Kalbach is a noted author, speaker, and instructor in innovation, design, and the future of work. He is currently Chief Evangelist at Mural, the leading online whiteboard.

Jim is the author of several books: Designing Web Navigation (O’Reilly, 2007), Mapping Experiences, 2nd Ed. (O’Reilly, 2020), and The Jobs To Be Done Playbook (Rosenfeld, 2020). In 2023 he co-authored Collaborative Intelligence (Wiley, 2023) with Mariano Battan. Jim is also the Co-founder and Principal at the JTBD Toolkit, an online resource with learning, trainings, and content.

Jul 11
Regenerative Design: From Vision to Reality

The Portland Design Thinkers are happy to announce our next event with Stacey Murphy, Regenerative Design: From Vision to Reality.

Can your product, service, or corporation actively restore ecosystems and communities on the other side of the globe? Discover how to apply the holistic principles of Regenerative Design for you and your team to achieve the positive impact you desire.

Tap into the regenerative mindset that’s not only helping the planet but also disrupting a $17 trillion market. You’ll enjoy mind-boggling real-world solutions that sound like science fiction.

About our speaker: Stacey Murphy is an award-winning serial entrepreneur, impact investor, architect, engineer, and the Founder of Dreaming Earth, an architectural venture capital studio with the Earthshot of growing buildings by 2030.

Stacey incubates startups focused on Regenerative Materials and systems in architecture and construction innovation. Her experience starting BK Farmyards, a decentralized urban farming network in Brooklyn, led her to deliver keynote talks in Regenerative Design Thinking for groups that want to improve efficiencies and leave a positive impact on the planet.

Stacey has been featured in Fast Company, New York Magazine, New York Times, BBC, Martha Stewart Radio, David Letterman, PBS, and two TEDx talks on the future of food.