May 9, 2018


Co-designing think tanks – the employee experience

On Think Tanks – University of Bath London
start date: June 28, 2018 9:00 AM end date: June 29, 2018

How do you view employee engagement? As a satisfaction survey or a strategy to inform your success and growth of your think tank? By viewing employee engagement and their experiences as a long term strategy, you can take a proactive approach to behaviour change, improve organisational activities and culture that may not only enhance employee satisfaction but the overall outcomes of your organisation.

Can you articulate your organisation’s culture, it’s values, beliefs? Do you know how your governance structures, ways of working, tools and resources translate to moments that matter for your employees? What does ‘good’ employee experience look like to a new researcher, a volunteer or an experienced hire? Can you build one if you can’t define it?

‘Experiences happen whether we design for them or not’. 

Whether think tanks are seen as a stepping stone into politics, business or government roles or a long-term commitment, talent attraction and retention in think tanks is an issue that can affect the harmony and morale of teams and introduce capability deficits that can have lasting effect.

In their pursuit of quality, relevance, impact and financial sustainability think tanks often, unintentionally, trade-off the wellbeing of their staff, particularly early career researchers, women and others whose own particular circumstances to not adhere to the organisation’s business model.

Individual members of staff can experience the organisation, its components and processes, differently. What does the following mean for you? Supported onboarding processes, workload planning, paths to promotion, formal and informal recognition, communication channels, staff wellness, social capital, environment, digital tools, diversity and inclusion.

Understanding these differences is crucial to taking a proactive approach to develop a well rounded employee experiences.

Join us in a two day workshop hosted by On Think Tanks, to understand a human-centred design approach to redesigning 360o workplace experiences for think tanks.

We will introduce some of the principles and concepts related to workplace culture, team dynamics, and apply practical design tools to understand people’s needs and to design workplace experiences that consider people, processes and technology.

Outcomes of the workshop

After the completion of the workshop:

  • An awareness of what is a human-centred design approach and how to utilise this way of thinking in your own working environment.
  • A basic working understanding of design tools that can be applied to improving employee experience; and
  • An awareness of factors influencing the think tank organisational context and potential approaches to these area.

These will enable you to undertake positive changes and proactive employee experience design in your think tank, specifically, to increase talent attraction and retention and to embed new ways of working that enhance trust, engagement, empowerment and inclusion.

Workshop outline

Day 1: Introductions and foundations

  • Challenge framing – In a participatory approach we will start out with an exploration of the components of employee experiences, the unique challenges faced within the think tank context and gather and synthesise the views of the attendees themselves for greater insights.This exercise will allow us to specifically consider the factors affecting talent retention and the think tank role in cultivating research talent.
  • Principles –  This session will provide an introductory overview of components of workplace culture, environment, diversity, and ways of working to inform conscious organisational design.
  • ‘Designing experiences’ – In this third session we will cover the basics of design-led organisations, and introduce the idea of ‘service and experience’ design through a variety of short exercises.

Day 2: Practical challenge

  • Employee experience design challenges
    In day two, attendees will be presented with two general challenge cases addressing staff retention and participation and then asked to develop them further based on their own experiences. These new cases will provide an opportunity to explore and apply an design approach and a number of practical tools, to include:

    • User research to uncover values and needs of different employees; asking what does ‘good’ look like?
    • Creative problem framing methods to understand the specific challenges your organisation faces and how you might reframe these.
    • Employee experiences mapping to understand pain point/opportunities and the use of data to inform decision making.
    • Considering the alignment of employee experiences to organisational mission and strategic objectives.
    • Co-design as a methodology for designing with people.
    • Agile implementation plans.


The workshop will be held at the University of Bath London conference facilities.

University of Bath London
Level 6
83 Pall Mall, St James’s
London, Greater London SW1Y 5ES


The workshop starts at 9:00 and ends at 17:00, with an 1 hour lunch break and coffee breaks in the morning and afternoon.


The workshop costs GBP 500.00 and includes lunch and refreshments.

We will have to wait for a minimum of 10 participants to join. If you wish to participate in the workshop, please register below. We will invoice you as soon as we meet the minimum number of participants

If you have any questions, please contact us at [email protected]

Before signing-up review our Terms and Conditions.

The trainers

Melanie Rayment
Melanie is a Design Strategist and Social Designer with 15 years’ experience in both the private and public sector. Her commercial experience includes working with global brands and agencies and during her time with the ‘big four’ management consultants, across Sydney, Tokyo, and London, Melanie applied design to large-scale organisational, customer and industry challenges. She has spent time as a teacher in Design for Social Impact and her experience working with the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) as a researcher allowed Melanie to work in a design-led transdisciplinary approach with citizens, governments, and NGOs to co-develop policy, interventions, public services and organisational change to approach a range of complex social issues. 

Ajoy Datta
Ajoy is a Research Associate at On Think Tanks and Research Associate at the Overseas Development Institute. He has worked for 15 years in international development with a focus on improving policy influencing and decision making practices. Ajoy’s research work has most recently been in Nepal, Indonesia, India, South Africa and Vietnam.