Successful teams need to create a safe space which allows for active listening, honesty, and constructive feedback. TalkPop is a digital toolkit that helps trainees develop communication techniques, making their teamwork more meaningful and collaborative. This project is a partnership with the Digital Society School, which is part of the Hogeschool van Amsterdam.

Guided by Goal 10 from the UN Sustainable Development Goals (‘Reduce Inequalities’) our team focused on addressing the inequality that can arise amongst cognitively diverse trainee teams at the DSS, especially when an atmosphere of team trust has not been established.

The 20-week traineeship attracts a broad range of trainees with a diverse cultural and educational background to work together in teams in collaboration with different partners to solve real-world, societal, design challenges. At the same time, team communication in this new digital era has made particular design activities more difficult. Activities such as reading non-verbal emotional cues from teammates, group participation, and delivering feedback might be challenging for some teams in an online environment. These activities are necessary for meaningful and constructive team discussions and for project outcomes.

The following questions are meant to be addressed with this project:

  • How might we design tools that help trainees work toward team psychological safety by practicing active listening, honest and constructive feedback, and collaboration?
  • How can we do this by harnessing the playful affordances of the online working environment?

Using DSS’s SCREAM methodology combined with design-thinking methodology, we developed and designed a high fidelity prototype with content on workgroup communication. The platform has potential to be further expanded with additional team communication features for a well-rounded user experience.

Our team has developed an online toolkit to support trainees with content on non-violent communication using a “peer to peer” structure, group activities, and a section for self-development.

TalkPop, is an online platform with a playful approach where users can practice their communication technique in order to become more mindful of the way in which they deliver feedback to others. An intuitive platform full of content on non-violent communication with multiple activities can be completed individually or alongside multiple team members. Lastly, the product also includes a self-development feature offering individual spaces for trainees to reflect by using gratitude journals, and etc.

Working in teams is a really challenging process most of us go through at the workplace. Establishing team trust is necessary to move forward, and we built the platform to do it!

Watch our video above and check out our booklet to know more about TalkPop or connect with us at

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