It truly was a great start of becoming a design thinker when we started our journey towards the new goal with intensive two-day course run by Katja Tschimmel. Afterwards I felt like rundown by bulldozer. So many new things, interacting and so much more. But wait…something felt familiar! It’s all that fearless creating, drawing, role paying, acting and being with a team. It was like back in childhood when there were no limits, not even the sky. Something that we had, but lost when growing up.
Pablo Picasso said that it took him four years to paint like Raphael, but a lifetime to paint like a child. I think we haven’t lost the ability to fearlessly create, imagine, role play or draw. We just have to find it again. It’s all about practicing and getting comfortable with all these methods that have been brought back to us by Design Thinking.
Of course, it’s not all fun and games, there are rules also. Not to limit us but guide us through the creative process. Maybe they should not even be called rules but best practices, methods, tools or guide lines.
Katja Tschimmel presents and compares Design Thinking models in her paper Design Thinking as an effective Toolkit for Innovation. Most of the methods have similar steps or spaces like they are called and tools that can be used in the process. Every team or project has to find the best ones to suite their practice. Like Tom and David Kelly write in their book Creative Confidence: There is no one-size-fits-all solution for bringing new ideas to life, but many successful programs include a variation on four steps: inspiration, synthesis, ideation/experimentation, and implementation. They also mention that they adapt and evolve their methodologies continuously.
Brave enough to fail
In my opinion Design Thinking is also an attitude. You have to get out of your comfort zone, interact with others, maybe you have to be little bit crazy and you have to learn to accept failure. If you never fail you probably have only done some iteration and not found anything new, like Katja mentioned during the course. Tim Brown also wrote “Significant innovations don’t come from incremental tweaks. Design thinkers pose questions and explore constraints in creative ways that proceed in entirely new directions.” I think this is what it’s all about, finding new opportunities, new ways of looking things. Nigel Cross also mentioned in his book that one of the important features is how designer can cope with uncertainty. I think both of the features are something we are thought to avoid through life. Don’t fail and don’t do anything foolish. Stay inside the borders. Now we need to unlearn these rules and become brave explorers.
Our crew in the sand box
When we were kids we played with who ever showed up in the yard. All had ideas about games to play. This is also one similarity with Design Thinking. Design thinking is not a game to be played alone but with a team. Design team’s strength is wide knowledge and experience base and understanding situations from many different angles.
Toys, toys, toys
Design thinkers probably are heavy users of Post its. Along the two days I used more post its than ever before. During the course I was bit confused with all the toys brought to us! There are plenty of toys to play with and many games to play during the process: post its, markers, mind maps, prototypes, Legos, sketching, storytelling – whatever makes the visualization and passing the idea easier and of course what helps to come up with many ideas to start with. It’s fast and it’s a lot and that’s why the process needs to be well facilitated.
After the playtime was over
After the two days was over our groups had many great ideas and I definitely had deeper understanding where we are heading and I’m thrilled about it. Design thinking sound not only really cool but something that might help to solve many problems by offering people not only what they ask for but what they need through deeper understanding of people, situations and cultural connections.