September 2020: Wellbeing Design Workshop

Assessing Wellbeing

The Coronacrisis is a major disruption to normal university life. Many staff and students face unusual challenges that can feel especially frustrating when socially isolated.  To learn more about these challenges, we sent out a “Wellness Check” to all staff and students to assess wellbeing and allow them to share their own situation.

After collecting thousands of responses, the typical next step would be to conduct some statistical analyses and write a report. But that didn’t seem sufficient. It wasn’t just that we wanted to assess needs — we wanted to do something about it. But how?

Wellbeing Design Workshop

As a first step, we decided to take a page from the Human-Centered Design playbook and conduct a Wellbeing Design Workshop.  So, with support from across the university,  we assembled a diverse and engaged group of staff that included department heads, PhDs, Tenure trackers and other scientific staff. Each member of this group manually read over ALL of the responses submitted by scientific staff, taking note of individual needs and documenting suggestions. 

Then, we all got together on September 10, 2020 to discuss and build out ideas. After a brief presentation on the statistical findings, we broke into small groups to share and synthesize our individual reviews. Then, as a full group, we used an online whiteboard and post-it tool ( to share our favorite ideas and place them on an axis of “Doability” and “Urgency”. We put together several dozen ideas, grouped them together, and considered which groups in the university would be positioned to actually take action. In the end, everyone had a chance to make advocacy for their own opinions — and were encouraged  to stay involved and recruit more participants. 

oh, look, if we zoom out, the Miro ideas started looking like a heart, that was unexpected 🙂


So, if that was our method, what did we actually produce with it? We found ideas in some 16 different categories, from social-life to work culture to physical fitness. We considered ideas for how to let people more easily socialize online and offline, how to facilitate peer coaching, improved supervision, home ergonomics and more. We put our synthesized list of ideas into this document. 

What’s Next?

We still need to build upon these ideas, validate them and consider how well they can meet the main needs that people expressed. Separately, we will be preparing for the next wellbeing assessment. We want to make sure that Delft is listening to what people have to say and responding to the needs in our community. If you know others who are interested in helping contribute to our continuing wellbeing design work, for students and staff, please ask them to email 

Take care and thank you for your contributions!



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