How does it look when you are innovating? Yes, the very moment you are in fact doing innovation? We all have our occupational hazards, mine when I bring my colourful post-its and bag of LEGO-bricks to the table. But it is in fact play, serious play if I may, and here is a shot at examining the thoughts behind the innovation practice. The practice of Design Thinking to be more precise.
Work then and now – solving complex problems
They thought they did something clever back then in the industrial age when someone came up with the scientific and waterproof separation between work and play. It might have been appropriate at the time when they needed people to have approximately the same kind of knowledge, and be functionaries or manual workers that could replicate the same work over and over again. But today, now what? In this modern age we are facing real wicked and complex global challenges, and the call for the innovators and creative problem solvers has never been bigger. There is not much need for the linear-thinking functionaries or workers, at least not in the field of innovation. But how do we create emergent practices as Dave Snowden suggests is the way to solving complex problems? How does probing, sensing and responding look?
The doing that supports the thinking
Why do I ask my clients to play out the story of how their new idea will look from a customer point of view in LEGO? Or make them build a cardboard helpdesk to test it on a user group? It’s a vehicle to get to know the motivations and nuances in a customer scenario, it helps promote narrative and visual thinking. Through prototyping, user testing and working in interdisciplinary teams we create a practice that brings forward Design Thinking and thereby more holistic, user centric and thus sustainable solutions.