Design Thinking Workshops + Market Research

Singapore Tourism board logo


Singapore Tourism Board
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4 min read

Create and lead five design sprints workshops (online & on-site) for travel agencies in Singapore to re-think their business in collaboration with the Singapore Tourism Board.
Conduct user & market research for the Travel and Tourism industry to provide concrete guidance for Singapore professionals.
Manage a team of four designers and researchers.


Pen, Papers, Sticky notes, Google survey, Miro, Keynote, Design Sprint


Design Thinking Workshops, User Research, Strategic Consultancy, Team Management

Current situation

COVID-19 caught the world by surprise in 2020 and still provokes devastating consequences up until today. The impact on the Travel and Tourism industry is prominent.

As stated by the World Travel Tourism Council: “People’s desire to travel remains strong and was further strengthened by the various lockdowns and inability to see loved ones, with the pandemic ultimately highlighting the value the Travel & Tourism sector to the global economy. As the sector recovers, it is important to learn from this crisis so it can be more resilient in the future.”

Problem statement

Travel agents worldwide are still suffering from the impact of the pandemic. During this time, the industry had to make decisions. Some had to shut down their business activity for a while or definitely. But others have operated new strategies like pivoting their business activity, investing in digitalisation and automation or empowering current staff members to diversify their skills.

While travels are slowly starting again, travel agents in Singapore need to adopt new business strategies to adapt to this new reality.

Travel Agent Persona

The first part of the market & user research aimed to understand the different travel agent types. The goal was to discover their needs, goals and challenges.
Then, we built user personas based on the different travel agents profile:
- Inbound
- Outbound
- Travel Management Company
- Tour Operators
- Religious Travel

Below are examples of travel agents personas:

User personaUser Persona
Empathy Map

Once we had a better understanding of the travel agents profile, we conducted twenty user interviews with actual customers.
By doing so, we created empathy maps for each travel agents personas. This tool is particularly convenient to showcase the customer relationship with a given product/service.

Empathy mapEmpathy map

At this stage, we had a complete perception of the current environment with both travel agents and end customers profiles. 

NB: The full user & market research showing additional insights is confidential, hence it cannot be shared or published openly.

Design Thinking Workshops

In total, five workshops were facilitated. Every workshop lasted two days. 
I organised the sessions using the design sprint methodology. This process helps to rapidly solve big challenges, create new products, or improve existing ones.

On Day 1, the participants had to tackle challenges that their travel agent type can face today. 
We conducted design sprint activities that helped them to sharpen their vision as a company and define the challenge.

Outcome: Discover new problem-definition exercises to define a relevant and clear challenge to test

Examples of design sprint activities that have been conducted:

HMW - How Might We
HMW questions are about capturing and understanding all the different perspectives and all different part of the challenge and about aligning the team on understand that challenge.

HMW activity - STB Workshop October 2021

The Map
Method that maps out a user’s experience step by step as they encounter your problem space or interact with your product.

The map

Sprint Questions
The sprint questions are about specially defining the most important obstacles that we need to find answers to, when we do our user tests. 

Sprint questionsSprint questions

On Day 2,
each company worked on its own to generate solutions for its current challenges. 
We did ideation activities to explore different ways of finding solutions for those challenges. 

Outcome: Create a solution mockup for current business needs

Lightning Demos
This is an exercise to inspire the team with products or services that they think they can use as inspiration for their concepts in the next phases of their design sprints.

Lightning demo activity - STB Workshop October 2021

Sketching (crazy 8's, doodling, 3 steps concept)
Let the creativity juice kick in! These are a series of sketching exercises that push the participants to produce content based on the defined challenge using various ideation activities (rapid iteration with a time limit, note-taking, sketching, etc.).

Sketching activity - STB Workshop October 2021

Thank you for having taking the time to consult my work.

What went well

Participants built new business strategy - Feedback were positive as the workshop and the research helped the travel agents to innovate in their current business.

What could be better

Technical limitations - For the online session, some participants were struggling to get used to the Miro digital work board.

Design thinking

Inspiration needed?
Let me facilitate your next design thinking workshop!