Tag Archive | Creative Confidence

There’s a designer living within us all

As an opening to our degree program in Service innovation and design we had Design thinking -course. The blast-like opening of the studies got me really happy, as we got to start doing design tasks from day one. I have been a bit concerned how much creativity it takes to tackle all the design challenges we are going to face during the studies, but this course showed me that we all have a small designer living within us and that we can enhance our design skills by practicing.

According to our professor Tschimmel (2019), it is important to loosen up before starting to create in a new team. After some warm-up exercises, we started to learn in practice what design thinking is all about.

Design thinking in a nutshell

Tschimmel, Santos, Loyens, Jacinto, Monteiro & Valenca (2019) explain that design thinking (DT) could be described as methods and processes to solve problems, to innovate, and to find new solutions as well as viewpoints. This we got to experience already during our first lecture, when we started to solve the first design problem given to us. As I learned from our lecturer Tschimmel (2019), there are several process models and tools in design thinking, which designers can utilize in their attempt to create new solutions to existing and latent problems, and it does not matter that much which ones you use, as long as they are suitable for the design phase you are trying to solve. We got to try out the tools presented in Evolution 6’s model (Tschimmel 2018).

Design thinking enhances peoples’ skills to collaborate and think creatively, and therefore drives innovation in several types of organizations (Tschimmel et al. 2019). As we got to experience first-hand during the lectures, the core of design thinking lies in the ability to discover empathy towards people, which allows DT practioners to step in the shoes of end users, discover their hidden needs and create new solutions and insights to complex problems (Brown 2008; Kelley & Kelley 2015; Tschimmel 2019;Tschimmel et al.2019). Our class got to train our empathy skills during the field-study, where the aim was to find out the latent needs of Laurea students towards their studying facilities.

As Tschimmel (2018) explains, design thinking can be understood as making inventions in processes that involve cross-disciplinary stakeholders. Our class consists of people from different backgrounds, such as engineers, marketing professionals, and journalists. As Kelley & Kelley (2015) explain, the variation in the backgrounds of team members is a great advantage to a team. It was nice to discover how different viewpoints of our team members all brought new ideas and lots of discussion in the team. 

Why do we need design thinking?

As I learned during the lectures (Tschimmel 2019), we need design thinking to solve complex problems of today’s societies. There are several issues that have risen due to overpopulation, hunger, climate change, etc., that all wait to be solved. As Tschimmel et al. (2019) explain, today’s societies, organizations, and communities have become increasingly complex also due to rapid changes in technologies. The change has forced organizations to deal with more complex surroundings and also changed the learners’ profile in education field, as digital tools and internet have changed the learning environment (Tschimmel et al. 2019). It seems that there is a real need within organizations to gain competitive advantage through innovation, which can be reached with the help of service design (Kelley & Kelley 2015).

Design thinking includes skills, such as an ability to initiate things, collaborate with others, think creatively and innovate (Tschimmel et al. 2019). For me, these skills sound like something that would be good for everyone to possess in order to make any community, society, and organization to be able to succeed.

Release your inner designer

In their book, David and Tom Kelley describe how we all have inner creativity that is just waiting to be released. We all had it as a child, but when growing up, the learned habits and skills, as well as the surrounding world, might have diminished it. We may consider ourselves as non-creative- individuals, but the Kelley brothers explain that this is not the case: Creativity is something we all possess as human beings, we only need to rediscover the skill.

Kelley D. & T. (2015) suggest in their book an eight phase -program to boost creative confidence. With real-life examples of successful people (such as Steve Jobs) as well as everyday John Does, they manage to give convincing evidence that anyone can build their creativity by starting with small steps and not being afraid to fail. Instead, it is important to prototype in an early phase and go fast forward to receive results. (Kelley & Kelley 2015). I agree with their viewpoint that if you don’t do anything, you cannot evolve in your life. It was great to try out the fast prototyping in the course to see, how you can make prototypes to visualize the possible end results and to develop them further.

For me, the Design thinking -course was an excellent starting point on the way of discovering and enhancing my own designer skills. The course taught me how to proceed with my learning – step by step, not being afraid to try and fail. If you are interested to learn more about releasing your inner creativity, I would suggest you start from the Kelley & Kelley (2015) book and discover the eight phases to creativity.

Author: Mari Vuoti, Service Innovation and Design Master degree programme

REFERENCES:

Brown, T. 2008. Design Thinking. Harward Business Review, June. Accessed 29 September 2019. https://churchill.imgix.net/files/pdfs/IDEO_HBR_DT_08.pdf

Kelley, D. & Kelley, T. 2015. Creative confidence: Unleashing the creative potential within us all. London: William Collins.

Tschimmel,K. 2018. Evolution 6 toolkit: An e-handbook for practical design thinking for innovation [online lecture notes], in Mindshake (ed.). From Laurea Optima workspace Finnish society. Accessed 25 September 2019. https://optima.discendum.com

Tschimmel, K. 2019a. Design Thinking [lecture]. Held on 6-7 September. Laurea University of Applied Sciences. 

Tschimmel,K., Santos, J., Loyens, D., Jacinto, A., Monteiro, R. & Valenca, M. 2019. Research report D-think [online lecture notes]. From Laurea Optima workspace Finnish society. Accessed 25 September 2019. https:// optima.discendum.com 

You just need to start!

“You just need to start” (Kelley & Kelley 2014, 122). Seems easy, right? But in fact, I’ve found that the act of starting is actually one of the most difficult hurdles to get through when talking about how to practice creativity and design thinking.

The challenge of taking that first step

Ever since I was a kid I’ve loved to draw. I also love photography and writing. But the older I’ve gotten, the more occupied I’ve become with family, work and other things in life. And what’s followed, after not doing much creative stuff, is that I’ve found myself become critical about my potential creative work! This, in turn, has often and disappointingly led to not starting “that something creative” at all. Tom and David Kelley, in their book Creative Confidence: Unleashing the Creative Potential Within Us All (2014, 40), refer to this as the fear of failure, which is indeed the biggest obstacle to creative success.

My introduction to Design Thinking

My introduction to learning by doing design thinking methods and tapping back into my creative side was guided by Katja Tschimmel in a 2-day course at Laurea Leppävaara in September 2019. I’d really like to highlight the word doing here. Reading about service design and design thinking is one thing, but actually doing it, is a whole different experience. During the course, Katja introduced and led us through the different phases of The Mindshake Design Thinking Model E.6², which she has created.

Our class was divided into 4 groups and my group, the Yogis and the wannabes, as we named ourselves, worked together through the model’s design thinking phases from Emergence (identifying an opportunity) all the way to Exposition, which was about communicating the new solution. In short, our group discovered a need for better facilities and services that support student and staff well-being at Laurea Leppävaara campus. This discovery guided us in the phases to create something meaningful and valuable to address the issue.

Photo: Sofia Salo

Gaining creative confidence

Letting go of the belief that you are not good at being creative is vital in order to gain creative confidence” (Kelley & Kelley 2014, 30). This is also what Katja Tschimmel pointed out during our class. “You’re all able to draw!” she encouraged us. And, in fact, this was one of our first tasks. We each had 2 minutes to tell others in our group about ourselves while one team member drew our portrait and another one wrote notes about us. Everyone got a chance to draw a team member’s portrait and I think we did a pretty good job.  

Photo: Sofia Salo

The power of visualisation

As the course proceeded, we experienced firsthand the power of visualisation in design thinking. Visualisation was not only done by drawing, but also by making prototypes. And what we learned was that the goal of building prototypes isn’t to make a finished project but, instead, to learn what’s good about the prototype and what can be improved (Tschimmel 2019, Brown 2008, 87).

Photo: Sofia Salo

Each step in this course, for me, involved doing and thinking in a new way and I must say that this felt invigorating and inspiring. Working together through the stages strongly highlighted the power of the group. What we were able to co-create when we, as individuals from different backgrounds with different experiences and strengths, put our heads together and aimed towards a mutual goal, was wonderful. And those lightbulb moments we experienced were great! One of the most fantastic points that Katja Tschimmel highlighted during the course was, that in the end, there are no my ideas, there are only our ideas. I find that this statement is truly at the core of design thinking.

Looking back, I have to admit, that at the end of the 2-day Design Thinking course, it wasn’t easy to process everything we’d done. In fact, as Brown (2008, 88) describes, design thinking can feel chaotic to someone experiencing it for the very first time. But I accept that and that’s ok, since this is only the beginning of the journey and I’m very excited to see and experience what’s yet to come.

Anyone struggling to take that first step into becoming more creative? I would highly recommend the below book by Tom and David Kelley (Creative Confidence: Unleashing the Creative Potential Within Us All, 2014).

This post was written by Sofia Salo, Service Innovation and Design Master degree programme student.

References:

Brown, T. 2008. Design Thinking. Harvard Business Review 06/2008, 84-92.

Kelley T. & Kelley D. 2014. Creative Confidence: Unleashing the Creative Potential Within Us All. London: William Collins.

Tschimmel, K. 2019. Design Thinking lectures. Held on 6-7 September. Laurea University of Applied Sciences. Espoo, Finland.

Tschimmel, K. 2018. Evolution 6² : An E-handbook for Practical Design Thinking for Innovation. MindShake.

Bug list – design thinker’s first tool

Petti Jännäri, SID 2019 student

I love lists. I have dozens on my phone: one for books I’ve red, the ones I’d like to read, places I’d like to visit, etc. And now I have a bug list, an idea that Ideo’s David and Tom Kelley presented in their book Creative Confidence (2013). It is a list of things that I have noticed in everyday life that have creative opportunities. Issues, big and small, that someway bug me – things that could be solved with design thinking and its methods. Bug list is a tool that would be one of the first steps and lay under category Emergence in Evolution 62, an innovation and design thinking model by Mindshake.

Since design thinking is all about empathy, early action and collaboration, instead of just reading about it, I challenged my family to tackle one of the items on my bug list. Since “the health system” is somewhat monumental subject, I started with “engaging the whole family to do something fun during weekend” also known as item one on my bug list: “Kids just want to play Fortnite.”

To my surprise, the method worked, and we ended up having a lovely weekend with forest walk, reading books and watching a classic from the 90’s, the Kindergarten cop – thanks to collaboration. Funnily that was the part I struggled with and which taught me the most during my first design thinking exercise in SID class. As a journalist, I consider ideation a team effort but also something that must be viewed with a critical eye and at the end, with every story there is a byline. During the exercise, we didn’t have time to be too critical and the design thinking process was less controllable, even messy and there for a bit scary, I must admit. But as Ideo’s Tim Brown has argued in Harvard Business Review (2008): good ideas don´t come from the brain of one genius but are achieved by collaborating in the creative design thinking process. What freed me finally is a new perspective to me, the co-ownership of ideas.

Writing with capitals letters is one way of emphasizing the co-ownership.

Tim Brown outlines a design thinker’s personality profile and before collaboration comes empathy: “Great design thinkers observe the world in minute detail. They notice things that others do not and use their insights to inspire innovation.”
And what better tool to keep score of these things that a bug list. Bug can be something positive too, right?

Since I got my less artistic, sporty family to draw, I believe the Kelley brothers who argue that creative confidence in everyone’s reach. Next, we tackle another subject on my bug list of family life: the mystery of how to find a movie that everyone is happy to watch from the endless supply of Netflix, HBO, Viaplay, etc. The board is up.

Mindmap, another design thinker’s go-to tool, helped me narrow down the multiple ideas I had for this blog post -assignment.

What makes design thinking so appealing?

by Piia Hanhirova

Inspiration, encouragement and empowerment. In my opinion, those are the most important values and aspects, which design thinking offers, and the reason why it appeals to so many people regardless the field they work in or are busy with. Design thinking underlines the deep understanding of people – their needs, wishes and motivation – and gives voice to users and customers.

This year’s Service Innovation and Design (SID) studies started with Katja Tschimmel from Mindshake. She guided us through the past and the present of design thinking as well as introduced us the various design tools based on the Evolution 6² model.

Evolution 6² model

But most importantly, she simply made us do it, that is, work in multidisciplinary teams and use the design tools in practice. So, our team, coming from different backgrounds with multifaceted experience, moved from divergent to convergent along the way of design thinking process, and worked on tools such as the opportunity mind map, idea hitlist, vision statement, user groups, intent statement, prototype, visual business model etc.

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Can you learn to be creative?

by Kati Kaarlehto

SID_Tschimmel_Design_Thinking

This question was asked from our lecturer Katja Tschimmel at the very beginning of our contact days of the Design Thinking study module. This question in my mind I chose to read  Creative Confidence – Unleashing the Creative potential With Us All by David and Tom Kelley as my very first book in my Service Innovation and Design MBA-studies at Laurea. I was soon to find out that the question of creativity is definitely one of the profound questions in the “Design Thinking Universe”.

Why and how to be creative is the core of the Kelleys’ book. We often perceive that only artists, and designers are the privileged ones to be creative. Too often parents, teachers or study counselors categorize us into the “uncreative” and blog our creativity. However, being creative is something more than just drawing or writing a poem and can be unbloged in all of us. What we really need are creatively thinking engineers, doctors and government officers who are creative in the way that they face their everyday life problems and challenges, in the way that they design new solutions and develop their services in their own work environment.

The Kelleys have a very simple solution to the question in the caption. At some point, you just make the decision to be creative. Then act according to your decision. And how is that done? Design Thinking methodology and tools are designed and develop to assist in that.

You should ask questions, especially Why-questions. You should leave your desk and office to observe your customers or end-users and thus learn true customer empathy. You should get surrounded with same-minded creatively thinking people and to keep up with all the possible trends and phenomena around you – a not just related to your own field of business but beyond.

In her article Design Thinking as an effective Toolkit for Innovation Katja Tschimmel also concludes that Design Thinking is not merely the designer’s mental ability, but can be developed and trained by anybody who wants to solve problems in a creative way, who wants to conceive new realities and who wants to communicate new ideas.

The Kelleys emphasis open mindedness and liberation from your preconceived ideas and assumptions. They quote Mark Twain who once said “It’s not what you don’t know that gets you into trouble, it’s what you know for sure that ain’t so”.

I recognized that too well during the work shop sessions led by Katja and where the Design Thinking tools of the Mindshake Design Thinking Model were applied. Our task was to perceive the Laurea world through an International student´s eyes with some chosen Design Thinking tools. As I have worked with international university students, way too often in the group I captured myself thinking or even saying “this would not work or this has already been tried out or this Laurea would not support”.

SID_Tschimmel_Design_Thinking_2

If I felt a slight shame about my narrow-minded, not-so-creative thoughts during our work shop, I also felt that something truly different could take place in this class with these tools, some familiar and some new to me, and with these mates representing so different professional backgrounds and experiences.

While reading “Creative Confidence” I also felt splashes of joy and confidence – by applying and starting these studies I have definitely taken right steps to unleash my creative potential. I have definitely made the decision: I am creative (always been!) and want to shake my ways of thinking and perceiving this world and my work – with the help of Design Thinking tools but also of all my lecturers and wonderful class mates.

Let the journey begin!

 

What does it take to become a creative design thinker?

The world we are facing appears more and more complex to us every day. Many of us, including myself wonder how to keep up with the information flow. One thing is for sure. The concept of expertise is being challenged in a profound way. In order to tackle complex phenomena in the fast changing world people need general competencies that can be applicable to various fields. Design thinking is certainly one of these. Design thinking has potential to change the world if more and more professionals understood the value of it. But what does it take to become a design thinker?

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