Skip to content


A workshop by Niels Kijf


  • Does what you are building has meaning & purpose?
  •  Are you using the full potential of your people?
  • Did you find the just cause of your organisation?


The output of this workshop will guide your design direction for years to come.

Happy people, Happy Business

A Guide to Design Principles

Workshop exercises

The warm up

This exercise is meant to connect people. Have a laugh and relax. This is also the time when I clearly communicate that everybody in the room has a say, that all input is valued equally, this is a co-creation workshop after all.

In some companies this warm up exercise is not needed and people want to get to the core immediately. I always push back when this happens, because I know there is important value in this exercise.

Sometimes when I walk into a room I see nervous people. When this happen I smile… because I know their nervousness will fade away in the next couple of minutes.

Having a laugh simply bonds people together, lightens the mood and frankly makes people perform at their best.

Character & Personality traits

The best advice I can give you: “Don’t listen to what people say, be aware of what they do!” This also applies in digital product design. In this exercise we will define the character & personality traits of your product.

It’s my personal mission the make software more human and social. The best way to achieve this is treat your software development as it was build by one person. A person with a clear vision, mission and vocation. Character & Personality play a huge role in how your mission is carried out.

After defining the character & personality traits we can start to imagine how your product would act in certain situations.

Emotion Mapping

Let’s add some feelings into the mix. In this exercise we will map positive and negative emotions linked to your product or service. TU Delft, a renowned research university in The Netherlands indexed the positive and negative emotions humans have while interacting in situations.

In customer journeys we mainly focus on positive, negative or neutral emotions. This gives poor guidance to design decisions.

In this exercise will create a more accurate frame of reference for emotions triggered by your product or service.

Framing your emotional spectrum will guide your future design effort.

Product Ikigai

This exercise we will expose misalignment between stakeholders, if there are any. We will get to the core, the reason why this project is born, what the purpose and meaning is for this project.

We will clearly define the vision, mission, vocation and profession of your product. This is the foundation of this workshop as having a clear definition of your IKIGAI will help everybody to participate with a well defined direction.

This exercise will define your IKIGAI; your products reason of being.

BONUS: This is also a great exercise in finding your personal purpose & meaning.

Product Character Canvas

If there is one exercise that will make this workshop worth your money, it is the product character canvas. You will learn this one trick that will make your production process more human.

Turn away from a feature mindset and choose the human activities path with the product character canvas to guide your design decisions.


We would love to welcome you to our gorgeous resort in the breathtaking beach of Koh pi pi

  • + 81(0) 589 66 258
  • + 81(0) 589 66 566



  1. The best way to extend your brand into the digital space.
  2. The best way to empower and guide design practices for your employees around the globe. 
  3. Design Principles enable you to build digital assistants instead of applications!
  4. People simply forget. It’s human nature to forget and to deviate from the plan, design principles keeps your design effort laser-focused.
  5. Design principles align stakeholders* perspectives in short evocative vision statements.
  6. Design principles create arguments for decision making
  7. They enable scaling your teams with ease.
  8. Design principles make your product distinct and authentic.
  9. They make your brand actionable in the digital space.
  10. Design principles communicate what is important for your business, your customers and your team.
  11. They reclaim productivity as they stop discussions based on opinions, sentiment and bias.
  12.  They offer a frame of reference for your creative process; a compass towards your goal.
  13. They have the power to bond teams and create mutual understanding among team-members.
  14. Design Principles work magic on alignment between all stakeholders involved. 
  15. They enable effective operation; especially when the pressure gets on.
* Lead-consumers are stakeholders too! If you are not building with them, you are not building for them!


  1. Design used circular becomes ethical, aesthetic & strategic. Design used at the end is just veneer. Build a future we want, design with principles.
  2. Design Principles set you apart from the competition and define your moral compass.
  3. Design Principles support you in building a quality product, day in day out.
  4. They are a great excuse to get all important stakeholders involved. A social way of aligning your stakeholders through a design principle workshop. Learn early on what matters to them.
  5. They are the gatekeeper for quality decisions.
  6. They save you time and money because you have created a mutual and shared project vision.
  7. They guide stakeholders in the decision making process. They remove they remove bias, which could be a result of personal taste or personal preference.
  8.  Co-created Design principles set the bar for business ethos, moral & ethics.
  9. They are an amazing tool in value Analysis.
    They gauge the value of existing features and guide creative direction for new products or elements.
  10. They can boost the quality of your products, because they are at the root of every design decision.
  11. Co-created design principles most likely kill
    assumption creep. Because a lot of perspectives were used in forging them.
  12. Skills can be learned, process is hard to master. Design Principles are the guiding tool for your design process.
  13. A product created with the help of design principles will be a reflection of what the stakeholders are aiming to achieve with this project.


  1. They give meaning to your teams design process and efforts.
  2. You can make better decisions, because you can produce new ideas with the guidance of your co-created design principles.
  3. They are inspirational and challenge your team-member in pushing the envelope for amazing and wow experiences.
  4. The creation process in forging Design principles will teach you how your team mates think and help you and your team in making the best decisions possible.
  5. Attracting people to your project becomes a breeze because your design principles radiate passion and purpose.
  6. Design principles align work ethos and product direction with the value’s of your team members; creating a feel of purpose.
  7. They speed up the design process, because they are the input for your design rationale.
  8. They help choose the gems from the ideas your team is having.
  9. Design principles scale over multiple teams, help during growth and ease new team member on-boarding.
  10. Through your design principles it becomes much easier for new team members to understand those things that are so unique and important to your product vision.
  11. They can steam-line production and creative direction for remote team members.


  1. As a potential customer you can decide if you care. Public design principles are a good indicator for quality and trust. Shouldn’t every president state their principles before they take office?
  2. They make a  project feel clean and concise;
    professional in short.
  3. They can give a product a Authenticity and character, making your efforts mesmerizing.
  4. They can create a feel of respect & trust.
  5. They expose a feel of ambition and passion.
  6. They can surprise and amuse or evoke a user.
  7. They create clarity and manage expectations.
  8. The support a feel of coherance and balance.
  9. They communicate value’s you relate too, or not.
  10. They can make you feel safe and heard.


Outcome of this workshop?

  1. Your project definition in a small e-book.
  2. Actionable Design Principles for your team.
  3. Aligned stakeholders.

Want to forge your Design principles?

I support teams in achieving their best work by using Design Principles in their daily building routines.

Happy to facilitate your workshop and define your Design Principles.
Any questions use the form on the right.

Because we all know, happy people means happy business.

Kind regards,

I support teams in achieving their best work by using Design Principles in their daily building routines.

Happy to facilitate your workshop and define your Design Principles.
Any questions use the form below.

Kind regards,

Request your workshop