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Co-creating digital products in Hong Kong

In this article I’m going to take you through the exact process we used to create 6 digital product ideas in 3 hours — in Hong Kong — in a group of around 50 people.

Russell Clark

Russell Clark

Co-creating digital products in Hong Kong

Last week we took all our staff from Humblebee to Hong Kong (and Shenzhen) for — what turned out to be — an unforgettable trip. If you follow us on Instagram then you’ve likely been unable to avoid our journey!

China is an incredible economic case for so many reasons. Too many for this article to cover. The pace and the disruptive effects created by the aggressive speed & nature of technology plus attitude to business resonates the world over, and will continue to do so.

Humblebee went to China to learn. We visited (amongst others) Tencent — often referred to as the Google of China, various business incubators, and managed to meet local experts from the Hong Kong business community relevant to our trade — digital product creation.


We’re big fans of learning by doing at Humblebee, that’s why the stand-out event for me was a co-creation workshop together with guests from the Hong Kong business region. This event took place at the stunning Cyberport offices.

I’ll put my humility to one side for a second and claim that Humblebee are the best design thinking team in Sweden. Probably the world. ;) Despite this, this particular co-creation event made me nervous…

So many unknowns. 25 Humblebees. 25 Hong Kong residents. That’s a large group of people to undertake a design sprint together. Would they all bond and work happily together? Would our tools and methods be appreciate with our guests? Our challenge for the day concerned Smart Cities: Hong Kong has 7.4 million residents and an incredibly dense population, making these big, important issues to address in just a 3 hour window. Our native guests were a mixed bunch of business designers, entrepreneurs, start-up owners and more. In other words high-performing digital-savvy individuals, who happened to not have English as a mother tongue, ditto most of Humblebee.

Yes, this event made me nervous.

Nevertheless we found ourselves on stage, promising that my colleagues (together with their new friends from China) would successfully prototype digital products/services to address Hong Kong city problems… in 3 hours. *gulp.

What’s a design thinking sprint?

In case you’ve been on the moon for the last couple of years, a sprint using design thinking techniques is like a ‘greatest hits’ of business design exercises, service design exercises and cognitive psychology. You mix it all together, time box the individual exercises and rapidly move forward towards your end goal — which in our case was a digital product/service prototype.

“How can we use Innovation & Technology to make people in Hong Kong happier, healthier, smarter and more prosperous”

Here’s the exact agenda of our event:

Split the 50-ish participants into 6 groups (including 1 Humblebee Facilitator in each group) the teams then set about their task.

Breakdown of our workshop / methods:

15 mins: Getting started

  • Introduction. Who we are; why we are here. Introduction to using design sprints to solve big problems.
  • Agenda for the day.
  • Present the challenge for the teams to tackle.

10 Mins: Team bonding

  • Find your team
  • Warm up energizer exercise!

5 mins: Understanding the challenge:

  • Analyse the sprint goal / challenge
  • Learn from the native Hong Kong dwellers in your teams the pains / desired gains of Hong Kong living.

25 mins: Define and choose

  • Present the insights from the previous exercise.
  • Cluster / affinity map the insights
  • Create “how might we” sentences for every cluster
  • Dot-vote our favourite How Might We

Coffee / Piss break!

25 mins: Ideation

  • 10 mins: Crazy 8 ideation exercise.
  • 7 mins: Choose your favourite Crazy 8 idea, develop and refine ideas together with a partner.
  • 5 mins: Present ideas — pitch it in 1–2 sentences!
  • 2 mins: Dot vote the winning idea.

45 mins: Prototype — the winning idea from above will be prototyped

  • 2 mins: Quick intro to prototyping.
  • 15 mins: Define the idea / sketch the 5 most important key moments of the idea/service.
  • 25 mins: Prepare final prototype sketches; presentation; value proposition.



So what were the six digital service ideas the teams created I hear you cry? They were awesome. I could tell you the details, but I’d have to kill you. Come and meet me for a fika here in Gothenburg and I’ll reveal all. If you fancy running a workshop like this for you and your staff, feel free to reach out — I can’t emphasise the value you and your corporation will get from it.

// Russell Clark is a Product Manager and partner at Humblebee — a digital product agency in Gothenburg, Sweden. //

Russell Clark
Written by

Russell Clark

Business Director

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