Empathy, experimentalism, optimism, collaboration. These are the characteristics designers have – just to name a few. During the introduction lesson lectured by Katja Tschimmel on 8 – 9 September we took an intensive dip into the world of Design thinking. And instead of just listening and learning we also got our hands on to the desing process and acted on a basis of design thinking – learning by doing. We evoked our inner designers in teams amongst the theme ”Studying a Laurea” and our guide during the project was Tschimmel’s and Mindshake’s EVOLUTION 6² model.
What comes to the characteristics of a designer, here’s my thoughts about them and how we took an advantage of them during the study project.
Empathy – Being a very human-centered and interested in peoples lifestories, to me this is the most inspiring characteristic of a designer. What would be more invigorating than to understand the inner mind of your customer and to create a service that responses to his/her inner needs and desires? In our project we for example interviewed the potential persons from our target group and made customer journey mapping in order to understand better the fictive customer.
Experimentalism – Design thinking releases the acceptance of failures and actually is even provoking to test new ideas and creations in an early stage by prototyping. We didn’t have too much time to prepare our ideas so inevitably we were forced to accept the possibility of a total failure of our ideas. And in addition, we were encouraged to accept the fact that our idea does not work in a real life. And thus we were coached for experimentalism.
This fall, my SID studies in at Laurea started with a crash course on Design Thinking. The two fully packed days served as a first introduction to the theme – and not the least, getting to know the multidisciplinary team of international SID students.
Design Thinking has been recently understood as way of thinking, leading to change and innovation. More than a motor for innovation, or a mindset, Design Thinking is offering models of processes and toolkits that can be used in every creative process by multidisciplinary teams, connecting creative design approach to traditional business thinking. Today, it is much explored in the fields of innovation management and marketing, helping to bring some of the abilities of designers to solve and to visualize problems in a creative way. It is also widely used in the public sector, by cities and governments as well as by social entrepreneurs.
Katja Tschimmel acted as our guide to lead us further to discover creative thinking, fluidity in ideation and exploring the design thinking process and use of E6 Toolkit by her design company Mindshake. There is no one and only best process or tools, she states, it is up to the companies and innovation managers to choose the best models that suit the individual needs of their projects and organisations and context.
I have never seenmyself as having anything to do with design. Me, a public sector senior manager with a law degree, who loves books and exercise – doesn’t really scream design, does it? What I do have is an open mind, which is why I found myself being a fresh Laurea SID student receiving my first introduction to Design Thinking (DT) from Katja Tschimmel, the founder of a Portuguese DT house Mindshake.
What I soon learned is that DT is not something that belongs solely to the design landscape. On the contrary, it is an iterative thinking process that offers the tools used in design, such as visualization and a human-centric approach, to be utilized in other fields like management and marketing. Katja had the perfect storytelling example of this: the Katalonian restaurant elBulli, which the Chef Ferran Adrià turned into an innovation laboratory for creating amazing taste – consequently leading for elBulli to be nominated world’s best restaurant a staggering five times.
Getting back to studies after a decade was like, having butterfly effect and feeling equally anxious and excited! Moving ahead with hopes and believes, that this course in Service Design and Innovation will be a serious learning curve for current and future growth in my career path. We jumped into the course of Design Thinking with Katja Tschimmel at Laurea University on 8-9 September, along with many new faces around and hundreds of new thoughts churning in my head.
A course stimulating, creative, full of learning and findings using Design Thinking methodologies – Evolution E6 introduced to us by Katja Tschimmel. We explored this highly complex tool, which usually takes months when practiced professionally, in just two days. It was an intensive experience of learning with creativity and building confidence among group. Started off with pre preparation to build group spirit and gain understanding of group members by sketching and writing on post-it about each other, soon we realised our group was – ‘Vegabond Yogi’s’
The first question arises in the group work was; So what is Design Thinking?
Last weekend I have participated in Design thinking course which motivates me to share my thoughts about my learning in this course and related material.
Design acts as the facilitator for innovation processes but during last decade design thinking(DT) gains great appreciation from research communities but also from all organizational sectors of the world. Many business schools introduce graduate degree programs in DT.
Various models and techniques of DT are available but following caught my eye, to share with fellow design thinkers.
The innovation expedition by “Gijs Van Wulfen”
Mind shake innovation & design thinking model EVOLUTION 62 by “Katja Tschimmel”
The innovation expedition by Gij Van Wulfendiscusses visual toolkit to start innovation. It comprises of five steps naming as (FORTH):
Full steam ahead
Observe & learn
Full steam ahead is based on defining concrete goals, core team creation and kick off workshop which allows team to get acquainted with innovation assignment(IA). The essence of Observe & learn is thinking out of the box. The team explores different technologies & trends, customer feedback meetings are done. Then workshop is organized to define relevant customer friction and promising innovation opportunities. Raise idea is new product brainstorming and concept improvement step. The team develops twelve new concepts for IA. Concept testing is done in Test idea by direct application on target group. The testing is followed live for finding new inspirations and immediate improvement.
Throw-back Saturday. Sitting by my lap-top trying to find ways and words to describe my thoughts on last weekends’ Design Thinking -course. What are main learnings I took home from the weekend and what are the ideas I still carry with me after getting familiar with the recommended literature* on the topic? I grouped the outcome into three main themes; Group dynamics, Design processes and various models, Characteristics of a designer.
The two-day intensive course started off as it was to continue,
fast and intensive. Right after the opening words, we were to get to know one another through inspiring bingo-game to find a person with the right feature. I got pretty close…
Another fun exercise was to play with the Mindshake Design Thinking cards to identify, pair and cluster the design techniques with the corresponding design actions. It was interesting to notice how quickly the groups started to work on the task productively without really knowing one another. Here’s a mini video-clip I took from my team in action. 😊
At least to me, these exercises managed to proof the importance of team-work (you could’ve not managed to fill in the paper without getting and giving help), point out the heterogeneous nature of our group (diversity is a strong asset in a design team), and strengthen our group dynamics from the very beginning.
DESIGN PROCESS AND MODELS
All these warming up tasks prepared us for the bigger teamwork that was to follow. We were given a design case to work on by following the Evolution62 -model, which at times turned out to be not so clear. However, after refining our concept for several times we finally managed to come up with a brilliant idea and an applicable concept I still am proud of today. To get an idea on our design process journey, check the evidence. 😉 Continue reading →
Let’s start with a thought experiment. You have been working in the same job for years and now you are tasked with creating a new service for your customers. Where do you start?
Probably where you already are. Your first ideas are what have always been done and how to improve them, but only slightly.
To innovate, you need an open mind. To facilitate the innovation process you can use Design Thinking. Katja Tschimmel writes in her article Design Thinking as an effective Toolkit for Innovation that Design Thinking offers new models of processes and toolkits for every creative process. It can be used in any business or organization. When you open your mind, and let the crazy ideas out, you can find something new.
The Service Design students at Laurea got a crash course on Design Thinking with Dr Tschimmel in the beginning of September. The students were tasked to create a new service around the theme Studying at Laurea. Every group could do whatever they thought might be useful, but in the end most new service ideas focused on solving everyday problems with quite traditional approaches. Why was it so difficult for us to let our imaginations fly and go for something completely different?
My suspicion is that it is the Inner Critic who is to blame. Often innovation processes suffer from the innovators’ fear of failure. In companies, upper management controls the time and resources available for trial and error. In universities, the students’ grade depends on the teachers’ understanding of their brave new idea.