It 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.