Join Turi McKinley for an in-depth discussion in this video Design thinking approach, part of Design Thinking: Lead Change in Your Organization.
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- Design thinking is how designers work. We make to solve problems. And businesses, from big ones like GE and McKinsey, to small, fast movers, are seeking to take on this way of work. Because it's particularly good at enabling teams to grasp and address really complex problems. Most of the challenges businesses and organizations face today are complex. We live in a global marketplace where business is conducted across platforms and across continents where the customer relationship is no longer tied to a single channel, and where developing a product or service means changing an organizational culture as much as changing the user interface.
Because we need to deliver meaningful experiences at every touchpoint, our teams now include many skillsets, from business to technology, to engineering, to what's classically called design. What stood out over the past decade is that the way designers approach problems is uniquely good at getting all the voices in the room to collaborate on solutions. It stood out so well that the Design Management Institute found that design driven companies outperform the S&P 500 by 219%, and notes that the skills designers bring to the team are a critical factor in cracking new markets.
The key here is neither the hard skills of design, Photoshop, CAD, or database engineering, nor the intangibles, like a sense of taste, or a grasp of space, or beautiful code. Nor is it even a specific deliverable, like a user interface or the consumer messaging. It is the integrative thinking and empathy-based skills of designers which companies are seeking to strengthen internally in order to drive their success in differentiation.
When they describe why they want this change many companies will focus on the bottom line. Outperforming the S&P 500, or examples of great products that respond elegantly to human needs. Like Disney's MagicBand, that's bringing magic back into the parks. But the best leaders understand that design thinking is a mindset. It's how the best designers tend to arrive at the best of their solutions. The first question I'm often asked about design thinking is, what's the process we should follow? It makes sense.
In our business culture we're trained to seek a repeatable process to control risk and ensure we're moving in the right direction. The answer isn't that simple. Design thinking is not a process with rigid steps, it's truly an approach, a mindset towards problem solving. And you'll need to define for yourself and your team, what are the elements that keep you and your team in that mindset? When you look at how others have visualized this approach, for example, you could do a Google image search for design thinking process.
You'll see there's lots of ways people are thinking about how you do it. There's not one process, but you will notice common themes. Development of human empathy, from the earliest discovery to final delivery. A continual reframing and questioning the problem you're trying to solve. And prototyping and making throughout the process. And, as you read between the lines and arrows, you'll see a great tolerance for risk and ambiguity.
As you look through those visualizations of design thinking, I recommend you try your hand at making your own visualization of how you think design thinking could be laid out for your team. Design thinking is recognized as delivering value to teams and businesses around the world. Yet it's a mindset around problem solving with human empathy at its core, and a bias towards making, rather than a single, repeatable process. Unlike a process, which can introduced wholesale and topdown, a mindset is part of an organizational culture, and changing culture takes time.
Growing a design thinking culture in particular can stress an organization to become more flexible, more tolerant of ambiguity and risk, and more responsive to human needs. Your ability to bring design thinking to life in your team and your organization will be supported by how you define design thinking, and the benefits it can deliver within the context of your particular type of work. If you want to bring design thinking into your team or your way of work, I'd like to recommend you find an article about design thinking relevant to your line of work, then head to the course community to share the link, and your thoughts with the community.
The course opens with a definition of design thinking, including the roles and spaces required for success. You will then learn how to be a good design thinking leader, with specific advice on topics from setting goals to engaging the different skill sets and personalities in the room (introverts and extroverts alike). Next, Turi dives into creative collaboration: the heart of design thinking. She covers planning, research, and concept creation, and explains how to create a "service blueprint" that will help make the design a reality. Chapter 4 introduces prototyping techniques to advance the design.
Design thinking is all about collaboration so we've integrated a LinkedIn Group called "Design Thinking: frog + Lynda.com course." Throughout the course, the author will suggest opportunities for you to share what you're learning. You'll be able to participate in course-related discussions through your web browser at https://linkedin.com/groups/7022790 or via the LinkedIn Groups app, which is available for most smartphones. This is a great way to expand your learning and get additional insights from other members taking the course.
- Defining design thinking
- Implementing a design thinking mindset and approach
- Leading design thinking
- Aligning the design team
- Managing creative flow
- Guiding collaboration
- Generating hypothesis
- Prototyping fast and often
- Making a culture change