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Product Tips & Tricks

How to Run Your First Design Thinking Workshop Using Marvel

A handy guide to kicking off your first design thinking session
How to Run Your First Design Thinking Workshop Using Marvel

Did you know that hundreds of workshops take place around the world every month using Marvel?

From schools to enterprises, Marvel has powered workshops of all shapes and sizes. Whether that's meeting rooms with 5 people working on a feature, to halls with over 50 kids learning about Design Thinking.

The great thing about our workshops is that anyone can run one - whether you're in design, research, marketing or management. We've seen all roles and departments get stuck into running and participating sessions.

Through working with customers and partners over the years, we've taken many of the learnings and included it our very own Design Thinking workshop kit, with everything you need to run your first session, including digital and print materials.

This blog post will take you through the basics. download the free kit for further reading, templates and decks.

Marvel Design Thinking Workshop Kit

So what is Design Thinking?

Design Thinking is a design methodology that helps solve problems using a human-centered approach. It's nothing revolutionary mind you, the stages of the process are things you probably already know and do.

However, when pieced together as a framework, it can be incredibly effective in discovering solutions whilst always putting the end-user first. It’s simple enough for everyone to use and will take you from idea generation, right the way through to sketching, creating and testing interactive prototypes using Marvel.

Let’s break down the stages:

  1. Empathise: Know the people you're designing for, so you understand their needs better.
  2. Define: The big, meaty problem you want to solve for your business, customer or end-user
  3. Ideate: Come up with different solutions that might be useful to people
  4. Prototype: Turn ideas into realistic mockups that you can test (and where you use Marvel!)
  5. Test: Share your prototype and gain invaluable feedback from the people that matter

Another major benefit (which I love), is that it brings non-designers into the mix. It’s all about the process of putting users and experiences first to unlock the potential of any idea, product or business. Then once every team has the hang of it, they can simply rinse and repeat the same process for new problems that need solving.

Once you’ve defined the problem you’re solving and brainstormed ideas, you’ll need to move onto the prototype stage where you’ll rapidly create a mockup to test your idea with users.

So you want to run a workshop? The role of the facilitator.

Every workshop needs a facilitator to run it (you!) so we've put together a short guide on how to get everything prepped and ready for a successful session.

Workshop facilitator

You'll be responsible for setting up the workshop, sending invites to attendees, printing our workshop kit and keeping everyone engaged and on time as they work through the stages of Empathise, Define, Ideate, Prototype and Testing.

One facilitator is needed for up to four teams of 3-5 people, if your session is bigger than that, grab someone to give you a hand!

Don’t worry, we’ve made a list of basics to help you run your session:

During the workshop

Once things have kicked off, here’s a few tips to make sure it all goes smoothly:

What is Marvel and why is it used in Design Thinking?

Marvel is a design and prototyping platform that enables you to create realistic, interactive mockups of apps, websites and digital products. It’s super simple to use, you can go from idea to clickable prototype in a matter of seconds, and you don’t need to know any code.

Once your session reaches the ‘Prototype’ stage of Design Thinking, that’s where Marvel comes in. It’s free to sign up and use, all your attendees need to have is an iPhone, Android or laptop device.

Rapid prototyping with Marvel is the best way to test ideas with users and start a conversation is to show them how the solution works. This can range from hand-drawn sketches (low-fidelity) to interactive mockups (high-fidelity) that look and feel like the finished product.

Prototyping on Paper

Photo by Amélie Mourichon

The purpose of rapid prototyping is to demonstrate possibilities quickly by building a series of inexpensive mock-ups so that you’re able to get early feedback and adjust designs accordingly.

Tips for getting started:

“They slow us down to speed us up. By taking the time to prototype our ideas, we avoid costly mistakes such as becoming too complex too early and sticking with a weak idea for too long.” – Tim Brown, Change by Design

But first! Map out your user journey

Before you start prototyping in your session, ask your participants to sketch out the journey you want your user to go through in your product on paper. This doesn't have to be very detailed or technical, it's just to go through the process of create a rough blueprint for how the user will move between screens.

Creating prototypes with Marvel

How to create mobile prototypes using sketches

Our iPhone and Android apps are perfect for creating prototypes of mobile apps or features in your Design Thinking session. They allow anyone to turn sketches on paper into interactive prototypes in a few minutes.


  1. Download the free Marvel app here
  2. Create a project by tapping the green add button in the bottom right of the screen
  3. Write your project name and select your device type
  4. Click the green add button to add images from your camera roll or capture images of your sketches
  5. Select your image and tap ‘Add Link’ to create a hotspot. Drag and resize your hotspots as necessary
  6. Select ‘Link to image’ and select where a user would go when they click that hotspot
  7. Customise with transitions between screens
  8. When you’re ready, hit the play button or ‘Share’ in the top right to share via message, email or URL

How to create desktop prototypes

If your idea or product requires prototypes for desktop screen sizes, the Marvel web platform allows you to wireframe, design and prototype directly in the browser without any additional software. All you need is a laptop or computer. If you use Sketch or other design software, we support that too!


  1. Click the 'Create Project' button in the top right of your screen
  2. Select 'Prototype' and enter your Project Name and type of prototype that you'd like to create
  3. Select ‘Add Images’ and choose to upload from your computer or design in Marvel
  4. Hover over the first screen in your project and click ‘Prototype’
  5. Click and drag over the area you would like to link to another screen and select your hotspot destination
  6. Select a screen transition and action at the bottom of the hotspot panel
  7. When you’re ready, click 'Play' in the top right of your screen to see your prototype in action or 'Share or invite' to send to your test user

Now that you have your prototype, you’re able to test with end-users or others in the session, and gain valuable feedback that will help validate your ideas!

Grab our free workshop kit with templates and more!

If you’d like more information on the full Design Thinking process and how to run your own sessions, then download our free Workshop Kit.

The kit includes a workbook, facilitator guide, workshop slides and a presentation template that will support you in applying the five Design Thinking stages in an interactive and fun session!

Get started today and create your first prototype and share your updates with us on Twitter.

Further reading:

Product Marketer at Marvel. Part-time true crime connoisseur. @ch_hall

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