Research Workshop Turns Your Stories into Design Directions

you are here banner_large.jpg

You Sent In Your Stories

Great work, Agents! With your participation, we learned a ton about how people know where they are, get where they’re going, and try to have a great day along the way. In the Designing Chicago research phase, Urban Agents submitted over 300 navigation tools, pro tips, and best and worst transportation moments. (Check them out at Urban Agent HQ!)

These stories came from the real experts- people finding their ways around Chicago and cities across the world.

Urban Icons Assemble

Each of these stories could spark great ideas for our app, but we wanted to distill these experiences and prioritize a few key directions for the design phase. So we invited our most observant, empathetic, and imaginative Agents to join us as Urban Icons at a Research Workshop.

icon working groups.jpg

Fueled by pizza and candy, the Icons worked in small groups to analyze the stories.

How Might We... 

Icons developed How Might We statements (HMWs) based on Agents’ stories. These are open-ended statements of possibility, describing an area for potential change.

Our Urban Icons developed over 150 How Might We statements! In the design phase, we’ll be using some of these HMWs to generate lots of ideas for features for our app, so we needed them to be broad enough to encourage creativity but narrow enough to help refine our focus.

Sorting & Prioritizing Design Directions

As a large group, we put all of the HMWs up on the wall, found connections between ideas, and sorted all of these possibilities into categories. We knew that our Design Phase wouldn’t be able to address all 32 categories, so we asked the Icons to vote for the highest priority areas of opportunity.

These areas will help focus the design phase around the most important problems (and greatest opportunities!) we found in the research phase.

Design Phase Coming Soon

That was the end of the Research Workshop, but there's still more to do with Designing Chicago!


We’ll kick off the Design Phase in February with a series of brainstorm challenges for our app's features. Whether you participated in the Research Phase or are new to the team, we're excited to see your ideas! If you haven't already, sign up to receive the Brainstorms via email.