Workshops for Your Organization

Indi conducts half-day and full-day workshops, both on-site and remote. There are several topics to choose from.

  • Introduction workshop – learn how to use listening sessions, mental model diagrams, and behavioral audience segments as the tools to achieve clarity about the problem space your solution supports
  • Advanced workshop – dive into formal scoping and analysis of qualitative, problem-facing studies, as well as creating summaries, grouping patterns, and leveraging the data
  • Refresher – brush up your skills before you embark on another study; custom content
  • Empathy Among Team Members – focus on improving how you understand and work with your peers, direct reports, and managers
  • Seminar – short lecture that fits into your day
  • Bundle – leverage a full-day workshop + a day with Indi to scope & begin your study

Investment range: USD$450-$15,000 Full-day workshop available in-person anywhere. Half-day or excerpt available within 2 hours travel time from SF. All versions also available via remote connection. Conference appearances can be arranged.

“Indi Young is an engaging speaker who encourages others to think deeply about innovative UX concepts. Her workshop on empathy in UX gave me a new perspective on user research. I was able to take what I learned and apply it to my daily UX work. She is truly inspiring.” Dawn Burngasser, User Experience Designer, Rosetta

Introduction to Problem Space Research

Organizations are starting to realize they’ve not invested enough in understanding the problem space. They’ve been spending budget studying their solution, its design, and its use through quantitative and qualitative methods. But they haven’t balanced that by understanding the problems people are trying to solve in the first place–the bigger problems. Understanding the problem space takes different skills than traditional user research. This workshop introduces your team to these skills and the vocabulary needed to speak with confidence about what needs to be explored.

The workshop begins with discussion about when problem-facing exploration is needed, and when it is not. We talk about coming at this exploration from a place where you don’t care about solutions, but instead care only (for the time being) about what each person is trying to accomplish in the larger sense. The discussion then turns to the kinds of assumptions we make in business. We cover the topic of developing cognitive empathy, as opposed to applying it, and dive deep into the skills required to conduct good listening sessions. In the last part of the workshop, we touch upon the mechanics of formal analysis of the transcripts collected, comparing this formal approach to an equally useful quick approach that relies on memory instead of transcripts. We close the day by reviewing some actual data together, in the form of a mental model diagram, to find insights and discuss how to put the knowledge to use in decision-making, design, and future product strategy.


Participants during listening session exercise at the workshop in Lausanne, Switzerland


  1. Warning signs
  2. Demographic assumptions
  3. Scoping a study
  4. Practical empathy
  5. Listening sessions
  6. Informal analysis
  7. Formal analysis
  8. Mental model diagram example review

The workshop is highly interactive, with recommendations from Indi for individual situations, backgrounds, and personalities. The day is peppered with group exercises as well as solo and paired exercises. Questions are welcome at any point.

Skills you will develop:

  • Understanding of the difference between problem-facing and solution-facing research
  • The ability to begin recognizing assumptions and investigating them
  • A personal method to practice deep listening
  • An approach for enriching your creative ideas
  • Techniques to pave the way for better collaboration at work
Advanced Problem Space Research

The advanced workshop focuses on formal data analysis and mental model diagrams. To get the most out of the content of this workshop, you must already be skilled at listening sessions. We start with a discussion of scoping studies for a person’s purpose, rather than for tasks and goals associated with your solution. We practice coding real transcripts and writing first-person, present-tense summaries using real data collected over time in the Introduction workshops. The third part of the workshop focuses on finding patterns in the summaries based on intent, and building those into the hierarchies that can be depicted as mental model diagrams. We then review these patterns and that of other mental model diagrams as a foundation for discussion about using the data internally. Indi takes into consideration participants’ roles, history, and power within the structure as variables that influence the uptake of the data by others. Finally, we touch upon deriving behavioral audience segments from the same set of transcripts.

collaborating on pattern finding in a workshop


  1. The uses of problem space research
  2. Scoping a study
  3. Coding transcripts and writing summaries
  4. Patterns and synthesis
  5. Review the mental model diagrams
  6. Getting the results embraced at your organization
  7. Deriving behavioral audience segments

The workshop is highly interactive, with recommendations from Indi for individual situations, backgrounds, and personalities. The day is peppered with group exercises as well as solo and paired exercises. Questions are welcome at any point.

Skills you will develop:

  • Problem-facing scoping for perennial studies
  • Writing summaries of concepts
  • Finding patterns based on intent, not noun
  • Building a mental model diagram
  • Applying the data and making concepts stick
  • Finding behavioral audience segments in the data

Mental models represent the alignment between your organization’s efforts to support people (lower half of the diagram), and the reasoning and reactions of real people as they achieve a purpose (top half of the diagram). This alignment, or lack, can help your team prioritize, refine, and clarify services, audience segments, and branches.


The refresher course is for teams who have done problem-facing research before, using techniques such as listening sessions and mental model diagrams. If it has been a while since your last problem-facing study (these studies can happen infrequently, as needed), Indi can get you back up to speed. Before the refresher, we will chat about your team members and about your past studies. Indi will create the contents and recommend a length for the refresher based on your team needs.

team working to find affinities of cards in workshop

Empathy Among Team Members & Across Divisions

Empathy is about not trying to solve the problem, but trying to understand the person. In your work, there are always problems, often in communication, decision-making, and vying for organizational attention and power. In this non-research two- to three-hour workshop, Indi will focus on development of empathy with peers, direct reports, and your managers. She will define several kinds of empathy and how to apply them with people in your work. Indi will lay out the skills required to develop empathy via listening sessions. The seminar will include spontaneous discussion as participants consider how the ideas might be applicable within their own work.


In this one- or two-hour lecture, Indi focuses on development of empathy across the kinds of people that your organization aims to support. This seminar will define empathy and explore the difference between several kinds of empathy. Indi will talk about patterns of thinking across a group of people. She will cover the skills required to develop empathy: listening sessions and pattern-finding to create mental model diagrams and audience segments grouped by thinking style. Indi will outline how product ideation becomes richer after deeper understanding of different perspectives. The seminar will include a short exercise.


Indi will spend two full days with your team so that your study gets off to a great start. The first day is a workshop, focusing on the areas your team wants to prioritize. The second day, we work together to scrope the study and set up the two-step recruiting process. This bundle works great for distributed teams who want to get started together in person. It also works great in conjunction with individual coaching going forward or with team mentoring through the whole study.