The amazing journey started

A new journey started on 12 September 2013!

It won’t be a lonely journey as we have a great crew with different backgrounds and stories. It was really nice to meet my classmates and start the program together. We come from different countries and work in different industries. I believe that it will be very interesting as we can share different experiences and knowledge in the class. What I can learn won’t only come from books but also from everyone in the classroom.

The first three days were full of surprise. We got to know each other by doing team work and playing games. It was good to hear the stories from graduates. It gave us a basic idea of the possible paths in the program. The practical exercises were my favorite parts as I was able to work with my teammates and create our ideas together.

Personally, the most important thing that I learned from the practical exercises was the process of how to find out potential opportunities, create ideas, implement ideas and make it happen in the business world. Each step in the process was so important and quite different than what I had thought before. The creation of a service was much more complicated and logical than what I understood in the past. The process of creating a service was quite useful even for other creations in the life. I was really inspired by learning the process. I felt that I started to have a design thinking approach.

I also learned that never ignore any crazy ideas. I noticed that I might have missed many good ideas which flashed quickly in my mind before. Sometimes what you wrote on the paper was much less than what you thought in your mind. In this situation, many good ideas just flied away and you didn’t notice them at all.

After the first three days study, I am quite sure now that I have selected the right program for myself.

Bring your toolkit on the journey

Katja Tschimmel has introduced an effective toolkit for innovation to us, Design Thinking. We need to understand how to utilize the tools to move forward on our innovation journey.

Compared to the traditional thinking, what we need to change is not only the way of doing, but also the way of thinking. For example, we can be emotional and rational at the same time, be subjective like putting ourselves on a customer role; failure is always a part of the process, we will gain from the pain on this journey; there will be ambiguity and uncertainty, we should be used to them and keep moving; in my opinion, the most import part is that being empathic and human-driven, deep understanding of peoples’ needs and dreams. If we just lock ourselves in a room and think alone, I don’t think we can create an innovative service which can meet people’s need.

Katja also introduced different models of the Design Thinking process in her article. It is true that there is no perfect model which can work well anywhere anytime. Each model can work well in a specific environment. We must consider every element in the environment, e.g. personal taste, culture and education background, personal experience, etc.

The most attractive part in Katja’s article is the Classification of the Design Thinking Tools. We also used those tools to build model of Laurea campus in our class. By doing step by step with those Design Thinking tools, it emphasized how to realize an idea from potential opportunity to real business. It was kept in my mind strongly and I felt that these tools can be used in other areas in my life as well.

Katja’s article is a key to open the door of innovation. We will bring this key with us on our service innovation journey and perhaps one day we will create our own keys.

Design Thinking: understand – improve – apply, Meinel Christoph 2011

We can have wider “design thinking” by reading different authors’ articles and see their ideas. Design Thinking: understand – improve – apply is one of them.

The book discusses various contexts of design thinking, what should be considered to understand design thinking (which I will introduce shortly below), the tools for design thinking and how IT works in design thinking.

The part two Understanding Design Thinking and its sub chapter Innovation and Culture is very attractive to me. I recommend this book to readers especially Innovation and Culture chapter. I would like to introduce this part shortly.

Innovation and Culture: Exploring the Work of Designers Across the Globe

Frames: Clients have had frames in their mind. What is the frame here? That is client’s expectation.

Clients have frames in their mind before the innovation happens, although they have different culture background. The clients have had a general picture of what they want from designers, how they will behave, and their role in the process. These frames affect the way in which design is interpreted and enacted. As a designer, you have to understand the clients very well and try to imagine the frame in their mind. Because of the different culture background, the clients who are in North America, Asia, and Europe have different frames. It requires the designers to understand different culture first and always consider them when they are designing. Especially when the designers want to create a one-for-all innovation, they need to know that it might not really work for all because of the local culture in each corner in the world.

What It Means to Be Creative:

The clients’ demand are quite different because of the culture differences, the designers are the same too! The culture differences are also effecting the way of designers’ work.

For example, there are significant differences between North America, Europe and Asia in what it means to be creative. In Asia, using existing similar products as sources of inspiration is quite norm. North American and European concept of creative design is to stretch beyond what is expected or known.

There is also interaction across regions, professions and industries. The designers who have different background are bringing different thinking, which will interact each other. The design educations also vary across regions, which will affect the way of working and output of designers.

In this chapter, the author introduces the elements in the cultural design thinking by doing a lot of researches in different regions around world. We can see that designers are doing their work by their own way based on their regions, culture, education and markets background. The clients also expect differently in different regions. I would say that there is no perfect designer in the world, there is only designer who understands their target clients.

We have started to be learning by reading and doing on this amazing journey. For sure there will be more unpredictable landscape in the front. I would like to keep my eyes opening to see this service innovation world.

Written by Xu He, 2013 SID student.

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