Join Turi McKinley for an in-depth discussion in this video Roles for innovation, part of Learning Design Thinking: Lead Change in Your Organization.
- Most business is about problem solving, for your consumers, for the bottom line, towards a vision of your company, or towards a metric like your net promoter score. Design thinking is a mindset that teams take towards problem solving. While it's both a personal skill and a mindset that one individual might take, you'll often hear design thinking described as a collaborative multidisciplinary approach. That's because when you're addressing wicked problems, those problems that don't have a clear solution, or where you're creating something that's entirely without precident, you probably need to completely transform a business model and often even impact the organizational culture of your company.
You need people on your team who can empathize with users' needs, prototype solutions, and drive the changes needed to bring products to market. This often includes researchers and analysts, engineers and developers, creatives and strategists, and business or product owners. We're often tempted to think of these roles as what they output or a title. The developer outputs code, right? For the purposes of design thinking, I encourage you to see these roles as perspectives on problem solving.
The developer may write code, but in team collaboration, they're bringing a perspective on what's possible, and soon to be possible via technology. Just as the researcher will help extract people's unstated needs, they also help maintain and shepherd human empathy within the team. For a product to succeed, the perspective of what will make something work for your business, that the product owner represents, is a necessary balance to the needs of the user, and what will make an experience meaningful and delightful for them.
In addressing a wicked problem, you want to get all of those perspectives working together and inspiring great ideas. That's what you need in the room. So let's think about this. You have your team and they've developed a great idea that they want to bring out to market, to bring to the user. But to make that happen, you need the business to help you deliver it. Without the business, a great idea won't get to the user.
There's a role that I often think about on the team, and it's usually not a formal role. Nobody has this title. But I think of it as the socialization manager. This is somebody who works with understanding the rest of the business and makes outreach to the business units, the stakeholders, and kind of leads the negotiations to help people in the business understand that great idea and why it's going to be so meaningful to your end users.
Once that idea is socialized, you still need to get it out to market, to get it out to the end users. You need everything in the business that's around delivery. I often find that innovation teams focus on generating the big idea and they sometimes want to leave out the messy part of delivery. That might be manufacturing, development, or marketing. But making it real really requires acknowledging the reality of what's going to make something successful for the business.
Because your end goal in design thinking is to make something real for the end user. As leaders, formally or otherwise, for modern product service development, we need the insights and engagement and problem-solving collaboration of many people from many disciplines. I encourage you to work to see these individuals by more than their title, but as the perspective they bring to the problem.
And don't forget to engage in socialization with the wider business, and the messy edges of making it real. This holds true for communities as much as businesses. To see this in practice in a setting which you might not expect, take a look at this case study where we brought together young adults in Myanmar to solve problems in their 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