Stephen P. Anderson


The Mighty Minds Club

Stephen P. Anderson

About Stephen P. Anderson

Stephen P. Anderson is a design leader focused on workforce learning and organizational development. And he’s on a mission: To make learning the hard stuff fun, by creating ‘things to think with’ and ‘spaces’ for generative play. Through custom toolkits, on-site training, and The Mighty Minds Club, Stephen helps product teams work through their most difficult situations. As a keynote speaker, Stephen continues to challenge and inspire audiences as he exposes the quirky connections between games, play, learning, interactive visualizations, and other exciting topics.

On the web @stephenanderson


Canvases, Models, & Maps, Oh My!

We need tools to structure difficult team conversations. This workshop is about just such a tool: Canvases. We'll cover what they are. How to use them. And what makes a canvas effective — or not.

In this workshop we’ll do two things:

To start, you’ll get hands on with some really useful tools for visual thinking: Think Business Model Canvas. Polarity Maps. Wardley Mapping. Strategy Canvas. Ways to prioritize features. Methods used in service design. And more. At a minimum, you’ll be walking away with more tools in the toolbox — more design methods and activities you can use on your own or with a team.

But, this is just the opener.

While picking up new tools is always fun, this is really about the visual thinking common to these tools; at the heart of this workshop is an exploration of how we use space to hold meaning. Precedent-Antecedent relationships. Continuums. Overlaps and Adjacency. Containers. Shapes. We’ll re-examine these tools as visual structures that facilitate understanding. And while this focus is primarily on canvases, to do so requires that we explore the boundaries (sometimes fuzzy) between adjacent visual structures such as concept models, matrixes, maps, and charts. You’ll learn how canvases are built out of a domain of knowledge; how they shape, scaffold, and help structure an idea, but never contain the specific body of knowledge. We’ll discuss how and why canvases are great for thinking about and having a conversation around difficult topics. And with a critical eye, we’ll look at what makes a canvas work, how to create tools such as these for yourself, and how to avoid the mistakes that lead to bad visual structures.

Put it all together, and you’ll walk away much more empowered to put difficult ideas into a visual structure, be that one you learn to use here or one of your making later on.

Who is this for?
Anyone who works on a product team — designers, product managers, engineers, and researchers. 

Attendees will:

  • Learn how to be better visual thinkers
  • Be introduced to several useful canvases (curated to address common product team challenges)
  • Be exposed to a broad range of thinking models
  • Develop the ability to think critically about the quality of these different artifacts and activities