by Katarzyna Młynarczyk
Don’t oversimplify design thinking
What a challenge! – that was the strongest, eye-opener thought during my first Jam (over 3 years ago). I found myself as a trainer (future facilitator) and member of a team. In that moment I understood design thinking as process divided into couple of basic stages fulfilled by a toolkit. Since then I was trying to implement some of them and met a thousand moments of feeling like: I’m not so sure is it a good direction whe’re going (thinking about work of my teams), It’s not easy at all…, Maybe another tool…?, How to trigger my team, how to stimulate the process?
I’ve even reached for the popular book: This is Service Design Thinking. Basics – Tools – Cases (Stickdorn & Schneider, 2010), but as Katja said it is not detailed enough to enable non-designers to work with these tools in creative processes without a professional facilitator. That reminds me about my role in the future. Role as a facilitator in the whole process.
New insights. Booms and wows
What I was thinking about our first classes in DT on Laurea was that I will somehow acknowledge my attitude that companies should apply the principles of design to the way people work, the way they create new concepts of services. Apart from many booms and wows moments during the workshops (again both in a facilitator and team member role) I gained valuable knowledge about origins of design thinking (my very basic, beginner sketches and souvenir from the first day attached below).
Energy in our group (Spartans 301 team) was really good. I heard that multidisciplinary teams are one of the key elements of succesful innovation process, and are that brings me some very important reflections in case of role of facilitator in a whole design thinking process. He can be the one who empowers the team to experiment, think through and ideate.
I will list now 10 insights about role of facilitator from 2-days classes with Katja:
- Remember about deep understanding of each tool (connected with stage from Mindshake’s model E6) and make sure that each member of the team knows what you will do and what is the point.
- If some of team members don’t accept intent statement/problem to solve during the whole process – you should rethink it or discuss.
- Everyone should have their chance to express themselves in a ideation process. Make sure you conduct this part with a couple of minutes (in silence!) to write down ideas, then some quick break and second (harder) part of ideation. You can find some more great tools for ideation in my presentation on Slideshare:
- Don’t judge! Remember about critical thinking over key assumptions. If you use post-its during idea generation process they should have the same colour and big letters (there is no use to know whose idea is on the post-it, concenrate on a process)
- Don’t tell: It’s my idea! – Ideas are all yours – your teams’ ideas. You build on a concept, on a statement. There is no uppercase!
- If you see some member of a team who is not active, try to involve this person in a process, ask questions, try to build on ideas, never say: No (instead: Yes, but, Yes, and)
- As a facilitator think about some triggers to creativity of the group. Sometimes a good, quick energizer is enough!
- When the process is complex, try to assign tasks to each member. I.e. during interviewing – one person should be asking questions (based on prepared scenario) another one – making notes, a third one – can additionaly observe reactions and emotions. In case of other tools like moodboards it is great to use some online platform like Pinterest and add every member of the team as participator.
- If the group energy is at good level you can introduce rule of one page – many pens (during our SID classes we’ve done it in sketching of idea presentation on storyboards).
- Prepare a prototyping box in your company. Collect there any stuff which can be in the future useful in prototyping process.
Role of facilitator is crucial in design thinking process!
I know – it’s not so easy, but even as an entrant facilitator I’ve noticed that the mentioned points are extremely important during the whole process. It is not only about tools, it’s also about involvement, engagement, empathy in multidisciplinary teams. It is about energy in this complex process of strategic innovation.
Future facilitators, trainers – keep your work done, train your skills in using design thinking toolkit in various projects, cases, industries and remember about 5 gold facilitator RULES!
1. creativity confidence
2. empathy with your team (as Erik Roth said Design thinking promotes empathy)
3. energizers and triggers toolkit = must have!
4. keeping your team constantly motivated during the process
5. keep in mind really important details in using design thinking toolkit
Kate Młynarczyk, SID 2016/2017 student, CEO of Socjomania – digital consultancy in Poland