Having recently registered for the ‘Open Government & Innovations’ conference, I decided to finally read “Change by Design: How Design Thinking Transforms Organizations and Inspires Innovation”, a book I purchased after an exciting introductory meeting with the firm IDEO last year. Written by Tim Brown, CEO & President of IDEO, a global design and innovation consulting firm that helps design products, services, environments and digital experiences, Change by Design is an entertaining and inspirational read about the methodology of “design thinking”.
So what is design thinking? Design thinking utilizes fundamentals of design such as field observations, prototyping and visual storytelling to address a range of issues. Brown states that design thinking is “an approach to innovation that is powerful, effective, and broadly accessible, that can be integrated into every level of an organization and that individuals and teams can use to generate breakthrough ideas that are implemented and that therefore have an impact.”
Innovation is considered to be a system of overlapping spaces versus a sequence of step. These spaces are what I call the three Is (1) inspiration – problem or opportunity that motivates the search for a solution; (2) ideation – the process of generating, developing and testing ideas; and (3) implementation – the course from the project room to the marketplace.
Brown stresses that innovation requires creativity but creativity is not solely owned by “creative types” who work in cool spaces. All it takes is an environment where people can experiment, take risks, and explore the full range of one’s faculties.
So, how does one get started with design thinking? Brown suggests the following:
· Don’t ask what? Ask why? – instead of accepting a given constraint, ask whether this is even the right problem to be solving.
· Open your eyes – at least once a day, stop and think about an ordinary situation.
· Make it visual – record observations and ideas visually with a rough sketch or a camera phone.
· Build on the ideas of others – if an idea becomes a piece of private property it’s likely to grow stagnant, however if it’s migrated throughout an organization undergoing permutation and mutations it’s likely to flourish.
· Demand options – don’t settle for the first good idea that comes into your head but explore lots of ideas and options.
· Balance your portfolio – document the process as it unfolds and assemble as a portfolio, this material can be useful for performance reviews or job interviews.
· Design a life – think of life as a prototype where experiments are conducted, discoveries are made, perspectives changed and opportunities abound to turn processes into projects that have tangible outcomes.
We all can be “design thinkers”! Agree?