Design Thinking Blog

Design Thinking Blog

listening in on the conversation

Design Thinking: Are We Making Progress?

progressIt has been a several years now since I launched the Design Thinking Blog. At the time, I felt that Design Thinking was poised to jump onto the business/management/innovation stage in a significant way. As I write this, I must admit that it has not happened with the intensity that I originally envisioned. Don’t misunderstand me, there is a great deal of conversation on the topic of Design Thinking…everything from seminars, videos and books to conferences. What I don’t see happening is Application.

It seems that most organisations are still deeply entrenched in “single disciplinary” approaches to bring innovation and solutions. But why?

In my consulting work with various groups and leaders, I try to bring the Design Thinking concepts to the forefront. I explain the goals, the processes and the quality of results that Design Thinking can bring. I honestly cannot remember any group or leader saying that they disagreed with what I was presenting. In the seminar settings, I see a great deal of excitement and acceptance of the principles. The participants readily join in on the “non-traditional” exercises and are even effective in getting positive results during the role playing and mock projects. However, the long term impact seems to be falling short.

When I have been employed by an organisation to walk with them through an actual project, I have been able to see where the breakdown occurs. Generally, it comes down to people being entrenched in the “ways of the past that worked in the past” (or at least seemed to). Very often, there are a few key stakeholders that will loose validation or position if the “innovation” process changes. At other times, the organisation struggles with leaders who tend to roll out “new ways” every year or so…and they have now become immune and resistant to new approaches.

In some of these cases I have been able to help them achieve enough success with Design Thinking to at least give it a fair chance. But honestly, there are too many that seem to be content to simply go into the conference room and try to brainstorm the “Next Great Thing!”

My hope is that over the next several years, we will see the change that I believe can happen. Design Thinking is more than just a strategy for innovation…it is an approach to viewing challenges and obstacles in a way that brings the best options and solutions to the forefront.

And the way things are going in this world….that is something we desperately need.

Comment9Overview: Tim Parsons gives us a look at some of the implications of the ‘everyone is a designer’ thinking that is becoming more and more popular.

Thoughts: I can see some validity to his position.  He is coming from the perspective of a professional designer. The skill set and training that this group brings to a design project is vital.  However, when it comes to designing things or products – to say that the end user should be ignored is a bit short sighted.  Many product designers have gone through the soul killing process of creating a beautiful work, only to have it changed over and over again until it can be produced for the masses.  Why not talk with those you are designing for from the beginning and bring beauty to a collaborative process.  Very few designers have the luxury of behaving like highly paid artists. Most have to live in the practical world of making a living.

Original Post and Comments HERE at BlueprintMagazine.com

The Myths of User-Centred Design

Tim Parsons

The extent to which members of the public not trained in design should be involved in the design process has become something of a hot topic over the past few years. Before the emergence of user-centred design, except for consulting market research reports or focus groups, designers were largely left alone to channel their predictions of the public’s desires and behaviour into their creations. Today in many areas of design and architecture, seeking the opinions of the public, and even designing with them, is now considered good practice. Global design consultancies such as IDEO expound the virtues of the designer acting as a facilitator, working in teams with non-designer stakeholders. Co-design has become a business model, both for companies selling research insights and as a means of enabling the public to have a more direct impact upon the look of the products they buy. Read more »

Service Design – The End Users Role

Just had a very insightful meeting with Jeneanne Rae.  Jeneanne has been in the Design Thinking field since before it was called Design Thinking.  She was hired by David Kelley at IDEO to help grow the business integration part of that company as an MBA and a significant part of the growth into the company… (read more)

TechCrunch: Innovation Will Take A Different Breed Of Designer

Overview of this Article: This is a post covering the rise of demand and need for Designers – but describes “T’ shaped Designers – often also called “Design Thinkers”. Thoughts on this Article: I like seeing the beginning of this wave – and hope that it continues.  The elements of Design Thinking and the skills… (read more)

Design Thinking: Is it different for services?

Overview of Post: A quick thought (with links) on some of the growing questions regarding  the definitions  and differences in the areas of Design Thinking. Thoughts on Post: I agree that we are in need of some clarification and perhaps differentiation in the various worlds that Design Thinking is being used.  Most of my experience… (read more)

Crash Course in Design Thinking

Overview of Site: This is just as it says.. Thoughts on this Site: Great Idea.  And some really good creative leadership thoughts that are presented. We’ve collected the thoughts of 30 of the world’s most inspired creative professionals. Architects, designers, authors and leaders of iconic brands. We asked them two questions: “What single example of… (read more)