Reading time: 5 minutes.
Written by Joonas Koski
As I walked through the doors of Laurea UAS for our first contact session I was both nervous and exited at the same time. I wasn’t really sure what to expect, how would we be learning to be creative. I had read about Learn By Doing teaching method before and I was super positively surprised about our first session. We weren’t cramming through books or just listening to a monologue. Instead the day progressed from introductions to working in small groups around the topic at hand. We were already learning new methods right there, on the very first day none the less!
The first contact sessions focused on design thinking. What it means and what kind of processes and mindset’s are necessary for innovation. After the contact session I’d say one of the most important skills for a good designer is being able to facilitate workshops, guiding the creative works while also understanding what nudge’s can do. I noticed that all our group’s work were very similar in the end and possibly (most likely) guided by the introduction to Laurea, studying and the school environment.
For me one of the biggest breakthroughs of the weekend was seeing how we need to open up our minds for creativity and innovation, and that there are ways to do that for everybody. The exercise that was writing down all the usages for a common everyday object, a pencil, was another eye opener. I got a bit over 10, but I noticed some hitting 20 different ways to use one. I think one of the more memorable workshops we did were Mood Boards, Service Blueprint and the Service Roleplaying. You can find our group’s version filmed on Vimeo. Pitching of the service idea and empathy exercises in the end were also very nice. I have certainly learned to appreciate group work a lot more than in my previous studies, I now look forward to it!
Evolution 6 (E6) model presented during the first contact sessions.
Katja Tschimmel explains in her study that Design Thinking has recently broken through of its former chains and is now seen as a complex thinking process of conceiving new realities, expressing the introduction of design culture and its methods into fields such as business innovation. Design thinking is now used in multidisciplinary teams not only consisting of designers but a broad spectrum of different roles. It is an effective tool kit for innovation.
Design Thinking sometimes feels like a paradox and you can truly understand it only after trying it. It feels weird first because it requires designer to be emphatic and analytical on the same time, sense and feel emotions but being able to rationalize and also to have a methodical mindset but be intuitive. We are also often constrained by plans yet have to be spontaneous.
It is important to recognize the problem space you are working in and also understand the meaning of visualization. It makes a ton of difference when presenting and managing workshops. After the ideation part Design Thinking puts a big emphasis on prototyping the ideas and using different methods to do it, like the ones we did on our first contact sessions.
We are also seeing the shift from designing to users moving to designing with users. The study also compares the mindsets of Design Thinking managers and Traditional thinking managers.
Many processes for ideation and Design thinking are listed in the paper. IDEO’s Human Centered Design (HCD):
IDEO’s 3 I’s:
Hasso-Plattner Institute’s design process:
Double-Diamond of Britains Design Council:
The Book I chose to read for this blog post is Creative Confidence by Tom and David Kelley.
It resonated with me after the first contact sessions. The book is all about how to get over the fears that people have about creative thinking. What makes executives leave the room when someone brings up the word mood board. I’d say fear of creativity is like a fear snakes of heights. Once you start experiencing them in a guided safely felt way (guided mastery) you can get over them. It often feels the world is divided into creative and non-creative people, but I don’t think that is the case. The book conveys a thought that everyone can be creative, it is something you can practice, like we did during the contact session with the pencil usage idea practice.
The book also contains some practices how to enhance creativity and resolve locks people might have from past experiences. For an example imagine what kind of difference it creates for a child experiencing criticism instead of re-assurance and couraging when drawing or working on something. These sort of blocks are not easy to unwind. You need to break challenges down into small steps and then build confidence by succeeding on one after another.
Another important note is learning to let go of your ideas. It is important to have confidence, but holding on to something that has been prototyped and found inadequate is also a skill. Do not fall in love with your ideas.
2nd and 3rd September Design Thinking –session in Laurea, teachers Katja Tschimmel and Mariana Valença. See also: http://mindshake.pt/design_thinking
Tschimmel, Katja 2012. Design Thinking as an Effective Toolkit for Innovation in Proceedings of the XXIII ISPIM Conference: Action for Innovation from Experience. (http://www.idmais.org/pubs/KatjaTschimmel/2012/actas_internacionais%20c%F3pia/2012.4.ISPIM.KatjaTschimmel1.pdf)
Kelley, David and Kelley, Tom (2013) Creative Confidence: Unleashing the Creative Potential Within Us All. Crown Business. (http://www.creativeconfidence.com)