If there is one term that is used, overused, misused and abused in the past decade then Design Thinking perfectly fits the bill 🙈
Some leaders brush off design thinking as common sense and some use the creative problem solving methodology to exponentially transform their organisations, processes and customer lives 🤷♀️
Here are some observations and reflections from my tenure as a design thinker 👇
- Design thinking is a composite skill. It is an alchemy of mindset + skillset + toolset. It cannot be just an item in a checklist.
- Like all profound things, design thinking also looks and feels simple on the surface. Boy! It is deceptive. Don't fall for it.
- Design thinking is not needed to solve all types of problems. Reap the best ROI by using it on wicked (many interdependent factors makes them seem impossible to solve) problems.
- The entry bar is low for a design thinker but that doesn't mean you will handover your venture or product or customers to someone who is not well trained. It is like giving your heart to someone who went through a three-day cardiology workshop. Choose wisely.
- Design Thinking is an iterative and continuous process. The gerund (ing) subtly implies that.
- Design thinking is depicted in colourful (and confusing) ways. There is a 5 step process, 4I process, Double diamond process and 1000 more. Whatever process you follow, hold you problem space tightly and your solution space loosely. Live and love the problem. The solution emerges by itself.
- Design Thinking as a terminology caused more harm than good because it has two words (thinking and design) in it. Some understood it as making things beautiful and some understood it as having a party with a bunch of people from office using walls and post-its. A better word for design thinking would be thinking (hu)man, machine (system) and market.
- Design thinking when done right pushes you to have bias for action, empathy for human beings involved, focus on context and no fear of failure.
- Design thinking will not be successful if we don't step out of our comfort zone and look at the broader picture. Systems Thinking is a must to understand the problem and solve the problem.
- Design thinking needs a lot of courage to thrash a ton of bad ideas and options. Getting married to ideas and holding on to human biases is a death warrant.
Creative problem solving is very different from logical problem solving. It takes a lot of maturity to shift gears and focus on the nuances. Those who have the maturity reap the benefits and those who don't pay the price.
🥂 to thinking design!