Wednesday, 26 October 2011
He will present a master class reaching these tools at Creative Innovation 2011 as well as a keynote speech. Ci2011 16-18 November at Sofitel Melbourne. Register at www.ci2011.com.au
Design thinking is a team based creative approach to solving problems. We’re asking our best clients to let us help them solve their toughest challenges through design thinking. We start with a multi-disciplinary team who are collaboration experts. As a starting point, understanding the business and issues surrounding the problem are a must. A design thinking methodology will then move into an inspirational stage. We will spend deep qualitative time with the different stakeholders in the scope of the question. Typically we spend time in users homes understanding the problem in context. The team is hopefully uncovering insights which the competitors have not seen. Those insights are synthesized into a point of view, often the original question is challenged and modified as a better question is identified.
From here the team will move into an ideation stage. We’ll want to diverge and create many possibilities that tackle the question. Many different ideation techniques are used. Think brainstorming 2.0. Next we’ll narrow down to the most promising directions and create prototypes or experiments to test out the concept. The ingredient to successful experiments is to do them fast and at low resolution. Tom Kelley calls this “The ability to squint” What he means is don’t waste time making your prototypes fully resolved and beautiful. What you desire at this stage are the learnings from these experiments so you can improve your concept or discard it and go in a different direction.
A recent example that comes to mind is the work we did with Steelcase around redesigning the age-old classroom chair. The team observed, among other things, that tablet-arm desks had remained unchanged for decades, even though class sizes and densities had grown dramatically. This presented an opportunity for Steelcase to enter the education market with a product that could immediately make an impact on seating arrangements. The final product, dubbed the Node chair, has received praise for promoting student collaboration, allowing educators to reconfigure classrooms to fit different teaching styles, and enabling institutions to save money by making spaces more flexible and accommodating for varied uses.
Other types of challenges that we’ve used design thinking are: helping Singapore’s Ministry of Manpower’s work pass division with their Business Process Redesign to collaborating with Center for Disease Control to fight obesity with a challenge on how to get kids to eat more vegetables. I’m passionate about the diversity of business challenges that design thinking can be used to help solve.
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