A two-day course in design thinking taught me that a team is more than a group of people and that in our aim to reach our goals, failure can be a positive thing.
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.
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”.
“Hi, my name is Lisa and I’ve started to study Service Innovation and Design at the Laurea University of Applied Sciences.” Lisa is walking in a lobby and sees other students. “Hi guys, is there anyone who likes yellow color and drinks apple juice?”
“Hi Lisa, we’re also students in SID program and we’re happy to support you and collaborate with you. And btw I like yellow color.”
“Oh, that sounds wonderful. Thank you so much.”
“No, problem, we’ll be here for you.”
Check what happens to Lisa next
Storytelling identifies key stakeholders, their needs and the big idea. Our team’s story was about Studying in Laurea UAS. It’s an inspiring way to familiarize with your stakeholders emotions. And the most important we had so much fun in our group during the process!
Design Thinking – the challenge in daring to embrace the mess of non linear thinking.
Be empathetic, gather courage and nurture creativity to make Breakthroughs.
I would like to Thank our energetic lecturer Katja Tschimmel for sharing her knowledge and experiences on Design Thinking. Thank to Virpi Kaartti for providing great support during the Study and Thank to all my fellow students for such an amazing ongoing experience.
This blog is covering two parts. 1) My perspective and highlight on Design Thinking and Innovation 2) Learning during Laurea contact sessions.
My perspective and highlight on Design Thinking and Innovation
I have gained a little insight about the potential of Design Thinking and how design thinking approach can lead to create innovations to improve existing conditions and make impact.
I can already feel that Design Thinking is slowly transforming my approach towards solving problems and my realization that empathy is so much central towards design thinking.
Design Thinking is powerful, a great methodology which provides framework for understanding empathy, nurturing creativity and using early prototyping towards breakthrough innovations.
Also, keeping an open mindset to grow and learn at the same time paves the way to unleash our true unknown potential, including creativity hidden among all of us.
Here, I would like to emphasize and highlight on key aspects of Design Thinking.
My first-born started her school journey this autumn. It’s the same school that I attended 30 years ago, a respected and multicultural school, back then quite a traditional one – discipline based, classroom centric, the teacher standing in front of the class, the pupils listening. It still is a good school, but I already have come to notice some important changes.
The first graders’ theme for the first weeks has been their hometown Helsinki. They have already made many excursions (e.g. Children’s town at the City Museum), spent time outside of school moving and observing their environment (e.g. how many cyclists use helmets) and learnt through their own experience (e.g. mapping how they travel to school). Currently, they are building in teams a city block, which involves planning, discussing different alternatives, making decisions together and executing their plans. The number one hit has been the intelligent carpet, a huge iPad as my daughter says, for doing math exercises, memory games and other cool stuff with your feet. A big thank you goes out to the progressive thinking and creativity of the class teacher. She acts rather as a facilitator and coach in the knowledge creation process than as the knowledge provider, like in the traditional teaching approach.
Whether the school’s management and teachers are talking about Design Thinking when planning the curriculum or teaching methods is secondary. Most important is what they are doing and how they are doing it. The fact is that the school’s teaching approach celebrates the ideology and values of Design Thinking, such as human-centricity, empathy, multidisciplinary thinking, holistic approach, creativity, collaboration, playfulness and visualization of thoughts. Also the phases and methods are similar to those used in Design Thinking, such as the design process introduced by IDEO for educators: discovery, interpretation, ideation, experimentation and evolution. Most importantly, the pupils are taught to think on their own and exercise analytical thinking, mixing facts and rational thinking with feelings and emotions. I truly hope they also learn to tolerate uncertainty and risk-taking and accept that doing mistakes and failures is an important part of the process. This wasn’t self-evident when I went to school.
The Design Thinking course on September 2nd-3rd 2016 was very illuminating. Doing Design Thinking by following a specific model really shows how much work should be put in design work itself from exploring to implementing. Doing the same thing over and over again with different methods (moodboard, brainwriting etc.) truly opens up new ideas during the process.
We started our service planning from one idea and through all the steps ended up in something different. Continuing the process further and with more time would have, in my opinion, led to another outcome. Doing so much work in such a short time really doesn’t give space for ideas to develop by themselves.
The difference in similarities
During the lessons we learned especially the use of the Evolution 6² model, which has more stages than other models discussed in class and in the paper Design Thinking as an effective Toolkit for Innovation (Tschimmel 2002). Nevertheless, all the models can be, more or less, divided in three main stages: first you have to learn the problem (through observing, exploring, understanding, defying etc.), then you develop an idea/ideas based on your observations (through experiments, ideating, reflecting, elaborating etc.) and finally you’ll find a solution that can be made available to public (through prototyping, testing, implementing etc.).
Brainwrite instead of brainstorm. Why? No need to feel ashamed of saying something idiotic out loud while you can write it on a Post-it anonymously.