A true story…
A while ago I was part of a implementation project as a consultant in Great Britain. For lunch we were only able to buy hot potato and sandwiches so after a few weeks we started to order food from the outside.
I like pizza so I ordered one for lunch. Somehow the pizza in Great Britain is about double the size compared to the ones in Germany. As a matter of fact I managed to eat half of it for lunch.
But what to do with the other half? I ended up bringing the pizza box to my hotel room. And at about 9pm I got hungry again. I must say I’m a little high maintenance when it comes to food, basically I don’t like cold pizza. Hence I asked the chef of the hotel but they were not allowed to heat up non-hotel food. So I went back to my room.
I started to investigate my environment. How to heat up that pizza? Basically without knowing I kind of used a method called “multiplication” where you combine things and then think about whether the combination could make any sense or not. So I looked at the heating system of the room, not hot enough. Then I checked the hairdryer but I was scared by the amount of germs that might come out with the air and end up on my toppings.
Then I’ve found something, basically the consultants best friend…
An iron made my day! Actually it did it many times during my 9 months stay.
Normally I use it to iron my business shirts (what surprise). In this case I put the iron upside down and the pizza on top into the shelf as you can see on the picture above. I watched carefully and it worked just fine. The pizza got hot and the cardboard didn’t start to burn. (don’t try this at home!).
But how does all this relate to Design Thinking?
Here’s what the pizza taught me:
- Every user might have different needs. A colleague of mine asked “why didn’t you just eat the cold pizza?”. Well I had a different need and insights. Basically my brain tells me “Pizza cold –> old”, “Pizza hot –> fresh”.
- The environment defines a crucial part of the context of a challenge. Understanding the environment of users is key to be able to come up with ideas.
- A rational brain would say: “No oven, no hot pizza”, by using ideation techniques you can solve problems in non-classical ways.
- Design Thinking is not a+b=c. A creative process needs room for exploration, experiments and techniques that help brains to make new connections for new ideas and solutions.
- End-users will find their workarround to reach their goal, even if no solution is provided by the vendor (Thank you for your comment Heike van Geel)
- And yes indeed, this first prototype might need another iteration as it doesn’t fulfill any safety regulation or whatsoever 🙂
Looking forward to your comments, maybe you also have a real life DT story to share?
If you wish, also look at my other blogs about “DT for Senior Management Workshops”.
All the best!