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Design Thinking, new superpower?

World is changing faster than ever before. Businesses are facing more and more complex issues. Management models from the days of Industrial Revolution are not so useful in the fast-moving world of today. No businesses are safe from change as world is going digital. Think about Uber and Airbnb. We want more, when we want, how we want it. Current management tools are focused on value capture but we should be focusing more on value creation. There is a need for something new.

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Design Thinking is a creative, logical tool that can facilitate innovation and transformation. Applying it to business problems empowers organizations and individuals to better understand their competitive and operational environment. It helps us to get back to the basics of human needs and human problems. Future business leaders need to be Design Thinkers. Design thinking teaches us how to bring intuition into the strategy process.

New skills are needs in the working life and therefore also education needs to change. We need skills as the ability to think creatively and critically, take initiative and work collaboratively for common goals. Design thinking offers enormous potential to improve the current educational system.

Our two-day course on Design Thinking led by Katja Tschimmel was based on the MINDSHAKE model Evolution 6, 2012 – 2016. Big part of Design Thinking is design doing and our course was exactly like that. We worked in small groups on the subject “Studying in Laurea”.

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Will Design Thinking disrupt Education?

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Chances are if you didn’t go to design school (or don’t have a career in design) you believe you have absolutely no clue what Design Thinking is.

But when one starts analysing how they create solutions, they are likely to recognise similarities with this now superpop method. Innovation by Design Thinking follows patterns similar to other traditional methods, however guided by human-centric principles rather than business & technology requirements. Katja Tschimmel (2015) describes it as a way of transforming and innovating through human-centric approach. In other words, creative thinking with people in mind that leads to actually meaningful solutions.

Doing is the new Teaching

During 2 intensive days we had guests from Portugal, Katja Tschimmel and Mariana Valença, lecture the Design Thinking masters course at Laurea SID. What stood out for me was their way of lecturing. They digested all those years of extensive research into easy-to-grasp exercises and a useful set of slides overviewing everything Design Thinking. It was interactive and inspiring rather than exhaustive. Quickly the lecture became practical with quizzes, ultimately becoming a workshop following one of the models presented, Evolution 6.

I’m more interested in observing how Design Thinking can change the way we teach/learn anything at schools in general. While performing the exercises myself I recognised at least 4 design thinking principles applied to the teaching&learning environment, described by Tschimmel in the latest Research Report D-Think.

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Can Design Thinking Provide the Breakthroughs We Need to Reduce Global Poverty and Domestic Violence?

 

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Woman cooking next to the port and market in Cotonou, Benin [Image (c) Jeffrey Allen]

By Jeffrey Allen

25 Sep, LONDON – For the past seven years, I’ve designed and managed projects to improve lives in developing countries, focusing on education, health, good governance, human rights, agriculture, employment, the environment… everything that impacts people’s quality of life. It’s a wildly complex field, where managers have to understand business, sociology, communications, technology, innovation, politics, psychology, and more if they’re going to be successful.

I spent the first several years just getting my head around the basics, learning on the job, by trial and error, and by soaking up what I could from those around me. Before starting the job, I had observed international development work – mostly from the outside – for more than six years as a journalist remixing stories published by organizations working in the field. Looking on through my outsider’s lens, I was consistently impressed by the work development practitioners did every day to make lives better and open opportunities for billions of people in difficult circumstances across the globe. Continue reading

All I Know Is I Know Nothing

The Design Thinking method is gaining popularity among companies, entrepreneurs, managers, and universities as a leading way to find better solutions, discover new opportunities and produce the innovations required by the real world of today.

During the two-days workshop led by Katja Tschimmel and Mariana Valença at the Laurea University’s Service Innovation and Design course, a set of different Techniques and Tools were presented as possibilities to be implemented when using the Design Thinking approach. For the practical exercise, we followed part of the Mindshake Design Thinking Model Evolution 62, developed by Tschimmel between 2012 and 2015.

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Even tough the Techniques and Tools may vary and differ from each other, they all share the same core and objective, being an integrative approach with some steps (or spaces) through which a project will cycle several times as a result of a fast and iterative process.

In the article Design Thinking as an effective Toolkit for Innovation, Katja Tschimmel describes in detail each different Technique and Tool that we can apply in the process, but in the following lines, I mention the ten most used tools classified in relation to the step where each one is applied.

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Design Thinking big bang!

“Here was a curious thing. My friend’s instinct told him the North End was a good place, and his social statistics confirmed it. But everything he had learned as a physical planner about what is good for people and good for cities neighbourhoods, everything that made him an expert, told him the North End had to be a bad place.” Jane Jacobs, The Death and Life of Great American Cities.

Change by Design [1]

In the very first masterclasses about Design Thinking running by Katja Tschimmel and Marina Valenca we, toddlers in the field and students in Service Innovation and Design Programme, went into renaissance era of the design which now is perceived and used as a perfectly crafted methodology by a wider audience including business itself. Big Bang of Design Thinking which – as we were assured – Comes of Age! [2] As lectures went fast with a short history of design and presented different approaches to the design process to smoothly show us their own – well equipped with a whole range of precisely picked tools [3]; like many others, I was waiting for practical part of the meeting. For doing stuff not learning about it, to experience it, to feel it in my heart and to answer fundamental questions: what is, what if, what wows and what works [4]. After all, I took home some thoughts which I present below.

Omnipresent visualisation

If you were asked to describe DT you probably would start drawing something, using Post-its notes, prototyping anything but not words themselves. Visualisation played a priority during our jam session. There is no way to disagree with Liedtka & Ogilvie that “Visualisation make ideas tangible and concrete. […] make them human and real.” [4] It also allows us to avoid misunderstanding and misinterpretation. After that few hours together it is hard to polemise with Katja while saying that “designers analyse and understand problems of the artificial world.” in the meaning that every tangible aspect of the performance was before the creation of intangible thoughts, ideas, notions, and intuition. From this perspective visualisation lets us grab our unrevealed ideas, bring them to the surface and make them enough concrete to evaluate. It also put individual and collective intuition before learning and maybe this is what I the most love about it.

A stream of consciousness. 

If I were asked to show the greatest values of Design Thinking process, I would say that its collaborative, multidisciplinary and co – creative aspects are the most precious one. I enjoyed brain-writing part of our session vastly. But, we always put a human in the heart of all “doing”. In Virginia Woolf’s book the different aspects of Ms. Dalloway; her needs, feelings, context, and experiences are constantly subjected to individual and collective influence and turn from intentions into reality. In DT process it all above makes possible to arise great and innovative idea anchored in the essence of an end user of the service or offering.

Secret Ingredient

Nevertheless to make it happen, I learned that we need to listen to others with engagement on every possible step. In my opinion, like visualisation is the tool of understanding and expressing all ideas and thoughts as listening is the value without which no meaningful idea can authentically bloom. I like how about listening speaks Otto Scharmer and I leave you with his short video to contemplate where innovation and tipping point in any sector starts. Enjoy!

Marta Kuroszczyk

Sources:
1. “Change by design: How Design Thinking Transforms Organizations and Inspires Innovation.” Tim Brown

2. “Design Thinking Comes to Age”, Jan Kolko Harvard Bussiness Review, https://hbr.org/2015/09/design-thinking-comes-of-age

3. “Design Thinking as an effective Toolkit for Innovation.”, Katja Tschimmel http://www.academia.edu/1906407/Design_Thinking_as_an_effective_Toolkit_for_Innovation

4. “Designing for Growth: A Design Thinking Tool Kit for Managers.”, Liedtka & Ogilvie

Getting in the mood for Design Thinking

As far as Design Thinking goes, I must confess to being quite the “newbie”. Having only recently been enlightened to the magical world of service design, innovation and co-creation, I was excited to learn of the many different models that the design thinking world has to offer.

Katja Tschimmel describes the similarities and differences of the models in both her article “Design Thinking as an effective Toolkit for Innovation” as well as in the research report D-think. These include IDEO’s 3 I model (Inspiration, Ideation, Implementation), IDEO’s HCD model (human-centred design, Hearing, Creating, Delivering), the models of the d.school (Hasso-Plattner Institute and Stanford University), the Double-Diamond model of the British Council, and the DT toolkit for Educators. Mindshake’s E6 model was also introduced, and I got the opportunity to try it out myself during the course.file-25-09-16-17-59-47-1

During the class sessions, I got a glimpse of how the design thinking process could be applied to solve student-related issues. There was no lack of empathy during this task, as we all dived into tackling issues concerning thesis stress, time-management issues and networking needs.  We grouped ourselves into small multidisciplinary teams, and our team went through a the Design Thinking process to come up with our final conclusion; a service called “Matchup”. It was a service to tackle the issue of networking within our SID group.  The idea actually won!

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Digitalising Everything

On August 18th I had the pleasure to participate in Aalto University’s annual Make it Digital! event. Having visited the event already last year I greatly enjoyed both the event’s and the university’s focus on the Internet of Things – its impact on transforming business models, enhancing customer centricity, and the application of service design were the themes which I was looking forward to this year. Aalto has clearly understood that digitalisation is the way forward, with more than 100 professors being involved in the subject and ICT in general, and good ties that bring students and researchers together with relevent businesses.

“The technology is ready…are we? We have no choice, we have to take control.”

This year’s keynote presentation by Dr. Martin Curly, Professor and Former Director of Intel Labs Europe, provided an overview of what it means to make everything digital. He shed light on three colliding key mega trends the world is seeing right now: Digital transformation, mass collaboration, and sustainability. He emphasized that industries which were established and shaped during over a century are now going to be re-architected in just under one decade by these trends and the new business models they make possible.

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Looking at digital transformation, powered by the Internet of Things (IoT), businesses switch from manufacturing and selling products to offering intelligent services to their customers. The IoT further means that products are not just physical objects anymore. They also have a digital side which is actually much more important than the mere physical object. The digital counterpart, enabled by IoT platforms, collects, stores, analyses and controls all kinds of information coming from the object, its environment and how it is being used by its owner. This technological leap enables mass collaboration: people to people, people to machines, machines to people, and machines to machines. It brings a major change in our interaction with everyone and everything.

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