Human Centered Design for Onboarding

Design Thinking for the Workplace


Improving Gender Equity in the Workplace


Building Empathy in the Workplace


Our facilitation builds empathy, surfaces questions, resolves conflict, and engages participants in collective visioning to transform workplace culture.

Businesses need creative frameworks that support people in building empathy. Works Progress Agency designs custom tools, activities, and engagement exercises with a human centered approach.

Our interactive methods include individual and group work, facilitated dialogue exercises, and a variety of creative activities including the use of photography, writing, video, and other types of visual communication.

What we do:

  • Observe and identify patterns of conflict to facilitate better approaches
  • Create alternate platforms to improve internal communication
  • Evaluate businesses and organizations for internal reflection of mission and values alignment
  • Produce visual communication representing various perspectives on work experience
  • Help organizations and businesses aestheticize their mission, vision and values
  • Build infrastructure to support authentic workplace relationships
  • Develop solutions to build more equitable workplaces for women

More about our workshops


Human Centered Design for Onboarding

Together we will build a Company Culture Handbook that your workplace can use as a tool for team building, demonstrating company culture, and onboarding. This book will capture the most valuable elements of your workplace culture for existing staff and new employees moving forward.

We what offer:

1. Facilitation that helps your company come to consensus on your desired culture through evaluating core messaging to reflect a desired culture shift.
2. A beautifully designed book, branded with your company’s visual identity and:

  • Company mission, vision, and values.
  • Company etiquette
  • Company FAQ’s.
  • Storytelling (origin story)
  • Creative photos/images and bios of key stakeholders


Design Thinking for the Workplace

Solve a real need, problem, or question within your company through a 4-week crash course in Design Thinking. We teach on-site, Human-Centered Design classes to help companies evolve their research methods, and build pathways for creative innovation by visualizing problems and solutions.

Course topics include:

  • Interdisciplinary teamwork
  • Design research methods
  • Ideation techniques
  • Low-fidelity prototyping practices
  • Solution development processes

Building Empathy in the Workplace

Develop better relationships through a participatory photographic experience at your workplace. Enliven your office and create company culture in a way that humanizes the people that work there.

How does it work?

  • We set up a temporary photo studio to your workplace
  • Employees can engage with colleagues in photo booth, during certain hours
  • Facilitators/photographers guide an exchange centered around a prompt such as:
    “Get together with a person in your workplace that is very different from you and have a conversation with them.”
  • Photograph portraits of the people as they gather with their counterpart
  • Print images from the photo sessions and install in your office/s

Improving Gender Equity in the Workplace through Storytelling

Storytelling is a powerful tool to reveal conflicts lurking below the surface. Our creative workshop facilitation is designed to engage many learning styles, and help you build a culture of care and respect at work.

What we do:

  • Support employees to share stories through creative, guided techniques
  • Meet your group where you are with accessible curriculum
  • Gather diverse and real perspectives
  • Discover true gender equity dynamics
  • Generate paths toward improved culture of respect
  • Build-in accountability through a scheduled follow-up
  • Optional Add-on: Development of Strategic Gender Equity Plan

Our Story

Works Progress Agency emerged from a single, incredible project. We proposed to create an installation in the lobby of the Portland Building, which houses municipal offices of the city. As socially engaged artists, we are always interested in relationships and in this case we were wondering about people’s personal relationships and how they intersected with their professional relationships.

We decided to ask workers in the office building a provoking question, Who do you consider your "chosen family"? and then invited them to come to the installation with the people they identified to be photographed together. People brought roomates, husbands, wifes, lovers, partners, and interestingly, many people chose to be photographed with their colleagues.

As people posed for their photograph they watched as they loosened up, started laughing and told stories, and even cried. After the photo sessions, participants were given an opportunity to write a short reflection. We installed these photos in lobby of the building giving both workers and passersby the opportunity to see each other in a personal light. This illumination allowed for a more authentic connection, and created a space for people to understand each other in ways that aren’t typical of a workplace environment.

We realized that provoking dialogue, reflection, and visualizing this process in the workspace could help people build empathy and better communication. And these experiences produce richer and more interactive workplace culture.


Contact us for a meeting
or to request a proposal.

Or call (503) 816-1102

811 East Burnside #124  
Portland, OR 97214