Illustration mission values vision

Define the company’s mission, vision, and values


How might we figure out the cornerstone of our Business under 4 hours?


  • Start-up in Real Estate
  • Following a period of Hypergrowth
  • Expanding its Market and Product Range
  • Facing a decisive Strategy Shift


  1. Rapid growth made the existing mission, vision and values obsolete
  2. Board expansion led to core values misalignment
  3. Dominant voices overshadowed valuable but less vocal individuals

Expected Outcome

  1. Foster shared a unified vision and mission across the Business
  2. Align directors on cored values and their significance
  3. Craft a chart to be shared among all departments and clients

When Design Thinking comes handy: the core values workshop

1. Houston, we have a problem

illustration of the title

When more is less: communication hazard

Over the last 2 years, my client, a start-up, had been growing from 3 to 100 people, developing on the go (among others) a Marketing and communication department, and a Product and development team, who were supposed to create a unified branding, customer and user experience. They were facing core issues:

  • the core values, mission, and vision had never been formally established by the 2 founders
  • the product and marketing teams’ work reflected their best understanding, not a shared vision
  • the teams were missing guidance and alignment and the overall experience reflected this misalignment

2. The good, the bad and the ugly


Clearing the air 

Such strategic topics often evoke strong emotions and may not only reveal positive feedback.

Some participants may no have seen value in this workshop or not align with the purpose. Those may play the role of the “prophet of doom” and influence others negatively. To address it from the beginning, I opened my workshop with a Stinky Fish.

Other inputs may be very insightful but not that relevant for the current context: this is when a Parking Lot proves very useful. These 2 activities allow everyone to express themselves freely and helps get all participants focused on the purpose of the session.

3. Taming the HiPPO

pic of the ux team
Like in any organisation, some voices, so called Highest Paid Persons Opinion (HiPPO) have a clearly stronger impact as others, resulting in a very biased and often dangerous outcome.
Illustration hippo saying Am I Right or Am I Right?

As a facilitator, I ensured equal speaking time and encouraged diverse viewpoints, particularly addressing HiPPO concerns. This involved:


  • Establishing clear ground rules and objectives from the start.
  • Balancing individual work, voting, and pitching sessions.
  • Vigilant time management.
  • Promoting feedback and encouraging reserved participants to contribute.
  • Managing conflicting opinions and refocusing on agreed-upon points.


As a result, we could identify the main sources of misunderstanding and misalignment.

While the HiPPO in the room felt confident and confirmed in his need to express himself, usually silent voices got a real chance to express themselves, and bring a diverse and meaningful contribution to the conversation.

This dynamic crafted the perfect environment for collaboration and creativity and allowed the visions, missions and values to flow.

4. Keep it actionable

pic of the ux team

Having values is good, embodying them is better

This intense activity exposed the necessity for better, opener communication, and revealed some internal misalignments.

While every core-issue cannot be resolved with a workshop, it was essential to close this session with a clear layout of the shared understanding, and concrete tasks to transform these values into actionable outcomes.

Here are some examples:

  • a chart to be shared with stakeholders, shareholders, and customers
  • an initiative to align the design guidelines with the company’s core values
  • a communication of the C-level to address staff uncertainties

Sneak Peek at more Workshops I facilitated