Tag Archive | collaboration

Design Thinking – exclusively for everyone

On September 4th school kicked off with the Design Thinking course and I recall thinking huh, this ought to be interesting! The classroom was packed with professionals from various backgrounds and industries as our lecturer Ms. Katja Tschimmel took us down the road of Design Thinking.


We started the journey with a lecture about the background, basics, different models and principles of Design Thinking before jumping into action. One thing in particular that Ms. Tschimmel said stuck in my mind, and it was that there is no right or wrong way to visualize the Design Thinking process and its tools can and should be applied depending on the context which they are used in. Many visualizations on the concept can be found and within our two day crash course Ms. Tschimmel walked us through the Evolution 6 model. We got to try out its tools in practice by creating a new service concept for Laurea. We were split into groups and after getting to know each other a little we started our development process with mind mapping. After some following steps like creating the intent statement, observation, interviewing and rapid prototyping we were ready to introduce our brand new concept of Creating a culture of holistic wellbeing for the rest of our study group and the instructors. It was very exciting to see all the concepts presented on the final day and witness the statement, that Design Thinking truly is an effective toolkit for innovation for everyone and anyone can be a design thinker, come true (Tschimmel 2012).grouping

After the contact days I pondered upon the concept of Design Thinking versus my own experiences. My professional background is in design and naturally I have previously studied Design Thinking and applied the processes and tools into my work. Intentionally too, but mostly intuitively. The last time I took a course on Design Thinking was I think in 2008 and back then, as a Bachelor student with no real work experience as a designer, it was quite challenging to internalize the whole concept in the beginning. Of course after I got to practice my profession in real working life I saw it in a new light and pieces started to fall into place.


Yet, I have many times struggled to answer when asked questions like “What does your design process look like?” or “How do you design this and that?”, so I found great comfort in Nigel Cross’s book Design thinking: understanding how designers think and work (2011) where it is stated that in fact it is a common experience. Many professionals, designers or not, may find it hard to explain their processes, presumably because when working they use and trust their intuition rather than try and find justifications or rational explanations for their decisions or processes. They simply just do it because it feels right (Cross, 2011).

It was on this two day sprint of Design Thinking that after a long time I really got to dig deep within the concept and refresh my skills. For a change, it was good to really be aware of all the steps taken during the process of innovating something new and also try out some new tools.

Written by Saara Gröhn, Service Innovation and Design MBA Student



Cross, Nigel 2011. Design thinking: understanding how designers think and work. Oxford: Berg Publishers.

Tschimmel, Katja 2012. Design Thinking as an effective Toolkit for Innovation. In: Proceedings of the XXIII ISPIM Conference: Action for Innovation: Innovating from Experience. Barcelona. http://www.academia.edu/1906407/Design_Thinking_as_an_effective_Toolkit_for_Innovation

How might we design for change?

“Reading aloud is an important tool to plant the love of reading in children”, said Rana Dajani explainng her idea of We Love Reading in the innovation platform: Open IDEO.

We Love Reading is an initiative to hold read-aloud sessions in refugee camps that encourages women, men and youth to be leaders in their communities by setting up read aloud sessions. These sessions are done by the people of the camp themselves within the vicinity of the tents. Children not only enjoy the storytelling experience in their own language and culture but, it is also a capacity building tool for adults in the camp that give them a sense of purpose there.

You might hear about this initiative because it has been elected by UNESCO as an effective education program and they also participated in WISE Congress last year.

The initiative already has a pilot in the Zaatai refugee camp of Jordan, where thousands of Syrian refugees live and it is one of the top ideas of the Openideo challenge: How might we improve education and expand learning opportunities for refugees around the world?



What is OpenIDEO?

Along with the challenge of refugee education, on OpenIDEO you can find many others calls, all of them starting with How might we…? OpenIDEO is a design thinking methodology platform where “people from all corners of the world, no matter who they are, collaboratively tackle some of the toughest global issues bringing their experience and unique perspective to the conversation and development of ideas.”

What is Design Thinking?

In Tim Brown’s words it is “a methodology that imbues the full spectrum of innovation activities with a human-centered design ethos”. The mission of design thinking is to translate observations into insights and insights into products, services or experiences that will improve lives.

Design thinking tools are such as empathy and getting out into the world to be inspired by people, diverged and converged thinking, synthesis as a capacity to frame insight, using prototyping to learn with your hands, creating stories to share ideas, visual thinking, joining forces with people from other disciplines.

Some of its principles include working by building on the ideas of others, collaboration, bridging the knowing-doing gap, interdisciplinary teams and a systematic approach to take challenges through inspiration, to ideation, implementation of the idea and iterating along the process.



Wrapping the story

OpenIDEO is a tangible opportunity to apply the design thinking framework to global problems at this critical point where rapid change is forcing us to look not only to new ways of solving problems but to new problems to solve. All local communities around the world are facing these global challenges in their own places.

Along with the We Love Reading idea, on OpenIDEO you can find 400 research contributions to the challenge of improving refugee education, 376 ideas were developed collaboratively and 7 top ideas will eventually be funded. The impact of these ideas will take place in refugee communities and it also has an inspirational impact on the ideas of others that we are not yet able to measure but we should not underestimate.


Carmen Moles
Service Innovation and Design MBA Student


Research and sources:

Brown, Tim 2009. Change by design: how design thinking can transform organizations and inspire innovation. New York: HarperCollins Publishers.

Tschimmel, Katja 2012. Design Thinking as an effective Toolkit for Innovation. In: Proceedings of the XXIII ISPIM Conference: Action for Innovation: Innovating from Experience. Barcelona.


Brown, Tim 2008. Design Thinking. Harvard Business Review, June, 84-95.


OpenIDEO challenges.openideo.com

We Love Reading Project www.welovereading.org

Photo credit 


Service Design meets Futures Thinking – IN ACTION

Before our 2nd blog post for the series of Service Design meets Futures Thinking, we have a special news for you !

The first test environment for combining Futures Thinking with Design Thinking takes place in Helsinki in two weeks ! This is an invitation to all design thinkers, futures thinkers, strategic minds and innovative leaders to take part in the day on Friday 9th November at the heart of Helsinki, Finland – The World Design Capital 2012.

LaFutura is here ! Continue reading