ExperiencePoint is a global training company teaching organizations how to leverage the power of human-centered design and drive innovation. Since facilitators are stationed across the world, we set out to learn how workshop delivery practices change throughout regions with this new series of interviews. We’ll bring you unique insights, tips and tricks from communities far and near, including facilitators in Hong Kong, India, Japan, America, the UK, Canada and more.
Each Quarter, we’ll release an interview focusing on a facilitator’s story. You’ll learn about the way culture affects workshop delivery, how customs have changed over the pandemic, and what some of our top performers do to navigate cultural and linguistic differences.
This quarter, we’re sharing Jack Huang’s delivery experiences in the Asian-Pacific region. Jack facilitates in China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and India for some of the top Fortune 500 companies in the region, including Dell, Helen of Troy, Verscend and more. Originally from Singapore, he’s trained to deliver innovation workshops in both English and Mandarin.
What is your favorite part/what have you enjoyed about delivering innovation workshops in Asia?I generally love the commitment and intensity of the participants. There is a special energy that comes from the competitiveness between groups, sometimes between participants, and on occasion between participants and myself as we drill down into fundamental concepts and their real-life applications. The last aspect ensures that everyone gains from the learning experience (including myself as a trainer), and it really keeps me on my toes throughout the session!
Have you ever had unresponsive participants? Have you altered your teaching approach because of the experience?
I would make these individuals step up by either nudging their group members to nominate them as the group presenters or asking them questions directly.
In a virtual setting, the latter approach worked really well. During break times, I’d also initiate some chitchats with relatively quiet individuals and check in with them for any issues following the courses, ask for suggestions and feedback for the course and delivery.
How do you get energized to drive the facilitation experience for the type of people in your country?
I don’t do anything special because I’m naturally psyched for each delivery! I feed off the good vibes from my fellow ExperiencePoint co-facilitators and support team (shout out to Alison, Ailsa, Simon, Mathias)! For in-person sessions, I arrive at least 1-2 hours early and prepare my mood. I'll adjust the ambiance to suit the occasion by raising natural light levels, playing soothing music, switching up seating arrangements, showing off beautiful material textures, running sound and visual checks, and so on.
How do you find the experience of facilitating in a language that isn’t your first? How do you overcome it?Mandarin was my second language so I prepared bilingual (English and Mandarin) cue cards for my first Mandarin delivery. The delivery turned out to be more stilted and had less engagement as I kept referring to the script. Things changed when I started explaining my challenge of speaking Mandarin as a second language. This created understanding and helped moderate expectations of my delivery, and encouraged participants to ask for clarifications for definitions and any other questions.
It was also really helpful that ExperiencePoint had already translated the facilitator script into Mandarin (so professional!) which allowed me to further customize my lines with ease.
On top of that, the ExperiencePoint team was really supportive for my delivery, they were fairly techy as well.
Do you need to explain concepts differently from what is in the slides based on the region you facilitate in?In my experience, East Asian participants tend to struggle with storyboarding as they were less familiar with 4-panel comics or frame-by-frame storytelling. To move things along, I used to add the following guidance:
Illustrate essential elements, product components, users
Frames 2 and 3:
Illustrate how users interact with the product
Illustrate the final desired outcome achieved/what user satisfaction looks like
How has virtual, digital facilitation changed up the borders of your practice?Virtual delivery in China is challenging due to the Great Firewall and participants' unfamiliarity with Zoom. That being said, the ExperiencePoint team has been great in helping to navigate these challenges as their training is highly compatible with different technology requirements. The content strategists and designers have also done a great job helping with transitioning to virtual delivery.
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In ExperiencePoint’s eBook, Diversity in Design, we explore how human-centered design is uniquely poised to help your company create inclusive products that can appeal to the greatest number of users, while honoring a new era of understanding and acceptance.