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Workshop Instructions

How to rUN A Workshop to Build Personas:

1) Choose team roles.

Everyone is a Designer, but you’ll want to assign a Design Lead, who will keep the group on track, and a Note Taker, who will record group conversations.

Decide on these roles now. Ensure that young people who are participating are given the chance to take these roles, if they want.

2) Pass out materials.

Each person gets a Persona Mat and a marker.

3) Build the personas. 

  • Each designer draws three cards from the Needs Deck and places them on their Persona Mat.
  • Next, each designer draws one card from the Context Deck and places it on their Persona Mat. 
  • Each designer reviews the persona they’ve created and, using the marker, gives them a name, age and location.
  • Lastly, each designer draws a picture in the space provided on the Persona Mat to represent the persona they've created.

Remember: There’s a chance that elements of your personas feel contradictory. When you draw cards that seem like they don’t work together, remember that they often can—highlighting the complexity of people. If you feel some cards can’t be reconciled, shuffle and draw again.

   This is an example of a completed Persona Mat.

This is an example of a completed Persona Mat.

4) Choose a scenario.

Each designer draws a card from the Scenario Deck, reads it aloud to the group, and places it on their Persona Mat.

5) Pass out additional materials.

Each designer gets a pen and an Empathy Map.

6) Complete an empathy map for your persona. 

   This the what an empathy map looks like before you get started.

This the what an empathy map looks like before you get started.

Individually, each designer fills out the Empathy Map sheet from the perspective of their persona. Put yourself into the shoes of your persona and think about the impact of the scenario knowing the needs and context of your persona. 

Design Lead: Gently remind the team that this is meant to be time to work solo—the space should be quiet for this step.

7) Complete your personas.

Each designer flips through the remaining cards in the Needs Deck and chooses 1 – 3 additional cards that resonate after completing the Empathy Map. Place these additional need cards on your Persona Mat.

8) Capture what you’ve created.

Have each designer take a picture of their completed Persona Mat—you’ll use this later.

9) Reflect.

Note Taker: Jot down the responses of the team—reflections are often where some of the best learnings come to light.

Design Lead: Read these questions out loud to the group one at a time, and encourage people to share their answers aloud:

a. What do you notice about the persona you’ve created?

b. What words stand out to you?

c.  Which needs seem like the easiest to meet?

d. Which needs would have the most impact if solved?

e. Looking at your persona in its entirety, what insights will you carry forward?


Congratulations—you’ve created a persona!

Up next, you'll use the personas you've created to explore problems and reframe those problems in the form of opportunities.