Me and 27 other students were privileged to start the Service Innovation and Design Master’s program last September in Laurea University of Applied Sciences. Our first course was about Design Thinking held by Katja Tschimmel a Design professor and an entrepreneur, and Gijs van Wulfen the writer of the excellent book “The Innovation Expedition”.
How many things can you come up doing with a pencil? Be creative!
“The understanding and acceptance that failure and mistakes are important elements of Design Thinking, differentiates Design Thinking from the traditional way of thinking in business. Dealing with incomplete information, with the unpredictable, and with ambiguous situations, requires designers to feel comfortable with uncertainty (Pombo & Tschimmel, 2005).” writes Katja Tshimmel in her paper “Design Thinking as an effective Toolkit for Innovation”. This is where my journey to become a professional in Service Innovation and Design starts.
Quantity is better than quality! Have at least seven ideas because in average one out of seven ideas will succeed.
Immediately after reading Katja Tshimmels paper I felt relieved. In Design Thinking (DT) it is allowed to make mistakes, how great is that! The main purpose of Design Thinking is to offer effective different kinds of toolkits for any innovation processes, you just need to find the perfect tools for you. In her paper Tshimmel introduces five different Design Thinking models that help implementing the structure of Design Thinking. The models have a lot in common and their main goal is to offer tools for finding solutions to existing problems.
In addition to the models Tshimmel wrote about in her paper an interesting model is Gijs van Wulfen’s FORTH Innovation method (www.forth-innovation.com). I adopted this method to be the most suitable for me partly because, like Gijs, I like travel books but I also love travelling. FORTH innovation method is easy to remember because it looks like actual map that consist of five main islands: Full steam ahead, Observe and learn, Raise ideas, Test ideas and Homecoming. Visualizing (like the map here below) is one very important part of Design Thinking that really helps perceiving and remembering the case.
As there is quite many different tools for implementing Design Thinking it is important to find out the best tools for you and to observe yourself the way you learn the best. Some people are visual, some auditory and some kinaesthetic and in DT you can find perfect ways to learn in each way.
Other central characteristics of DT are its human-centered approach in a collaborative way. Like Gijs van Wulfen wrote in The Innovation Expedition “You can not innovate alone!”. It is also important to co-create with the customers to get the best possible results. In other words when beginning your innovation process remember to involve people with diverse backgrounds. This helps to get wider understanding of the service and to improve it by combining the different opinions of the people involved.
People with diverse backgrounds.
Last but certainly not least, in Design Thinking you need patience. In most cases you will find yourself taking steps backwards as the process goes on. Observation and understanding the real problem to be solved takes time. Failures will take place but in each failure lies a possibility and next time you will be better!
Think outside of the box! Break the boundaries! Make mistakes!
Written by Maija Larmo
A Service Innovation and Design student from Laurea University of Applied Sciences