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Whiteboard Challenge Training

During my time as a design leader in Walmart, I started “Whiteboard Challenge Fridays”, a 4-week training and hands-on participation in solving whiteboard challenges. 

Why I did this:
  • Intentionally teach my team, and other participants, how to approach challenges with a user-focused framework, regardless of what the challenge area may be

  • Create a purposeful time to exercise our design thinking muscle

  • Invite non-designers from the organization to show that you don’t have to be a designer to learn user-centric skills

  • Practice the art of giving feedback by pairing participants with each other

  • Learn to be comfortable thinking out loud and not having to have “perfect” designs

How it works:

1. Train

I would spend the first 20 minutes going over a different method of thinking through a challenge


4. Go! 

The designer would have 20 minutes to work through the design challenge, while the host would observe. The designer would think out loud 


2. Pair up

Participants would pair up into groups of two. One person would be the “designer” and one person would be the “host”.

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5. Feedback

After 20 minutes, the host would give feedback on the designer’s strengths and opportunities of working through the challenge itself


3. Pick a challenge

The designer select a random challenge from the “challenge bucket” and read it out loud.


6. Switch places

The host and designer switch places and go again. The host becomes the designer, and the designer becomes the host. 


What started out just with designers soon swelled to include developers, business analysts, product owners and employees from completely different domains. Within three weeks, our participant list doubled and attendance increased by 85%.

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