Join Turi McKinley for an in-depth discussion in this video Tangibility: Making space to create, part of Learning Design Thinking: Lead Change in Your Organization.
- Design thinking is most often used to tackle hard problems with undefined outcomes where there isn't an obvious linear solution. Exploring these undefined problems and finding solutions requires the ability to stand back from the immediate details and explore what might be. And I mean literally stand back from the details, and to do it as a group. Stephen Kosslyn, a Psychology Professor at Harvard, found that just as a mechanical calculator can extend our mental capabilities, other people help us extend our intelligence, both in a cognitive sense and an emotional sense.
And if you speak with designers and look at the research, you'll find that this effect is most true when you're working face to face. A recent Harvard Business Review article found that these direct interactions between knowledge workers, or in our context, people trying to address large undefined problems, dramatically increase productivity and innovation. In design thinking, much of the knowledge the team is generating is in their heads. It's invisible. And when it stays there, or it gets put in a spreadsheet, the team doesn't extend its intelligence.
Having a physical space with changeable surfaces, whiteboards and other tools to illustrate the in process thinking, makes the thinking accessible to the team and helps focus everybody. And having that physical space hold prototypes of the product, service, or service being created enables the team to further expand their intelligence by applying this thinking into a tangible reality. While this collaboration is the primary reason for shared space, and why you see lots of post-it notes, whiteboards, moveable walls and the like, in images of how we work, not all shared spaces are created equal.
A good shared space supports both collaboration and heads down time. It captures the long view of the program so that even during times of detailed and focused work, team members can look up and frame their thinking in a broader context. It's also carefully gardened to communicate that broader context and the current state of the team's thinking. This is good for the team, but it also enables you to bring potential users, or your stakeholders into the space and immerse them in the thinking and problem-solving with you.
Your space should be a flexible open canvas for the team to shape as needed as they're trying to solve the problems they encounter. Organizationally, finding space can be a challenge. If you can't get shared space designated for your team, finding a way to work together even if it's something you carve out of a common area can be really helpful. If you'd like a little bit of ammunition in making the argument for space, the course files have a well-researched study from Herman Miller, and a link to the HBR article I mentioned earlier.
A great deal of the best design thinking happens when your team is working face-to-face. If you try to communicate those emerging ideas and knowledge just via screens or in verbal exchanges, you'll find it hampers decision making and the ability of the team to work efficiently. Making ideas tangible and revealing the framework of knowledge on the walls enables the team to make these creative and intuitive leaps that aren't purely linear and reductive, and extend their intelligence.
It doesn't have to be a lot of space, but it does need to be shared.
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