Home > Design tasks > Workshops: Designing and planning workshops

Workshops: Designing and planning workshops

Before you make too detailed a design of the workshop you should have a general picture of the timeframe you can use for the workshop, an idea of how many people you expect to be participating in the workshop and the design of the whole process.

After this task you will have:

  • A timeline for the workshop
  • A series of activities you need to plan
  • A series of exercises based on the logical steps in the process
  • An idea on when to put in breaks in the workshop
  • A estimate of what is possible to do in the workshop with the chosen timeframe
  • A sketch for an agenda for the workshop and an invitation to the possible participants
  • A sketch of a script for everyone participating in the planning and conducting of the workshop. A script is an expanded to-do-list.



You often need a registration of who is attending and where you pass out materials and name badges. If people need to be able to contact each other after the workshop you can ask them to share contact information with each other. It is possible to take picture and make a space on the wall where people can see each other and the names. With electronic tools you can collect all the information you think is useful. Keep it to a minimum at the registration.


Introductions usually include a formal greeting by the host of the workshop and the facilitators. If it is possible and useful you should give all the participants a name plate to put on the table, so they all can see who is speaking and you can address them by name in the process.

You can make a name game where everyone gets the possibility to present them self to the group. Just be precise in which information they have to present and how long they have to present it. Some people can talk for a long time about themselves.   

Looking back and forwards

If the workshop is part of a series of workshops and projects it is a good idea to look back to see why we are here and what has been done before. If some projects were expected to be finished and presented in the workshop it is important to inform about the status of the projects especially if they have been delayed and the workshop has to be changed because of the delays. It could also be important to inform about important things that have happened.

It is also important to look forwards and tell how the workshop is going to produce outcomes for projects and other workshops. In general you should describe the expected outcomes and how they are going to be used in the follow up.


I DO ART is an abbreviation of Intention, Desired Outcomes, Agenda, Rules and Roles and Time. You should inform the participants about these things.

To build the agenda you need to include planned breaks for coffee, meals and natural shifts in the process. You can include specific times in the agenda. I would put an approximate in front. In a process the outcomes are more important than keeping a deadline. People need to know so they can plan private activities or socializing.

It is very important for some participants to know when the workshop finishes and that you keep this time. It is usually a good idea to have a debriefing and evaluation before people start to leave. If people has to leave ask them to tell you, so you don’t get confused about what happened.


At this moment you can create an overview of the logical steps in the workshop based on the overall design of the whole process. It is really hard to estimate how long an exercise will take. So you have to apply the principle of being over prepared and under decided here. Bring too many exercises and make sure you know which parts of an exercise you have to keep and which parts you can cut if you need to prioritize which exercises and parts of exercises to cut or put in as extras.

You can include exercises that are not part of the logical steps. See the Post: Icebreakers and energizers


Debriefing is simply a conversation where everyone has the opportunity to share their experience of the whole workshop. It can be done in many different ways. See the Post: Beginnings and endings


Evaluations are mostly a feedback to the host, the designers and facilitators and the practical teams. The evaluation is connected to the debriefing.

Categories: Design tasks
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