Synthesizing my own Philosophies around Design Thinking
Regardless of which century you read this in – I HOPE YOU ARE DOING GREAT!
Via this blog I wish to share some of the learning and philosophies I seem to have formulated, which I so dearly feel the need to record. My intent is to ensure that I don’t lose these and have something to ponder from time to time and see how these ideas further germinate into something else.
And would like to take this opportunity to get these ideas validated with your help in form of your valuable comments.
Preparing for a DT workshop: There are 3 thoughts here!
1. “Preparing for a DT workshop is a structured process where one must empathize with his/ her audience and also the end user and not “just keep him/ them in mind’.
2. “We must FOCUS on the PS at all-times but at the same time we need to provide for a feedback loop to accept changes”
3. “If you see all DT workshops as a challenge to dig deeper into a problem and not as a challenge to achieve a fixed end result then YOU will remain curios throughout”. Incidentally the converse should also be true
Like most of you, I too have had the opportunity to prepare/ design, from scratch, workshops and trainings as a trainer who is NOT a DT coach as well as a trainer who is a DT Coach. As it seems I would be using these 2 avatars more as the blog progresses, so let me put in some acronyms;
NOT a DT coach = NDTC
Is a DT Coach = DTC
In my avatar as NDTC, I don’t really think I ever deeply realized the importance of gaining “Empathy” towards the audience, although at some level I am sure I “just kept them in my mind”. Extrapolating this scenario to the various presentations I have prepared so far, I still see that I have always just kept the audience in mind only to ensure that they either “understand me” or “get convinced” or “take an action” etc.. But then, in defense of the avatar NDTC there is an important limitation to how deeply he can empathize with the customer given that the opportunities to interact with the customer prior to the presentation are often limited to a phone call requesting for a meeting/ demo/ presentation. I don’t think I ever felt a sense of enjoying the preparation stage. The preparation stage would always certainly include knowing the customer’s profile, profile of colleagues and the end result, time to allocate for demo and Q&As etc.
As a DTC life has been much simpler. Knowing the philosophies of DT has helped me ensure that my preparation stage is structured to include empathy not only for the audience but also for the end user for whom we are going to meet up. Designing modules, activities and material around the problem statement by accepting the fact that “we must FOCUS on the PS at all-time but at the same time we need to provide for a feedback loop to accept changes” – that’s what makes DT so beautifully flexible for me. So how do I try and achieve empathy with the audience using DT – I try and listen to them deeply USING A PEN AND A PAPER. This is not only for a reference later on but for me to ponder a while on why he said what he said. With this simple action what I have invariably done is to devote some more time empathizing with the audience/ customer during the preparation.
Approach to the DT Approach
- “I know nothing and perhaps will never know everything!”
I kind of break down most of the DT workshops into 2 major portions: Problem Space and Solution Space. This helps me ensure that during the Problem Space – “I/ We assume that we know nothing” and during the Solution Space and primarily during the Prototyping – “I/ We assume that we know nothing”. HAHA, yes in both instances I/ we assume that we know nothing! This is in part derived from, but in contrast to, the d.school bootcamp bootleg which quotes that “Prototype as if you know you’re right, but test as if you know you’re wrong.” However, I assume the state of mind of knowing nothing in order to stay curios all throughout the process.
My twist to the definition of Design Thinking
- “DT is a GUIDED process to solve a complex problems or for creating new ideas.” Or simply a “Guided process to innovation”
These days, I am toying with a new belief; that with some guidance in form of “guide questions” we can easily reduce the time we spend in a particular stage of DT. For example, when we are creating personas, if we already know the kind of questions to answer such as name, age, possible whereabouts, spending habits etc we can easily reduce the time it takes for “New” DT participants to create the personas. Likewise, it is easy to understand how we can reduce the time during research (interview) by focusing on certain guide questions. Although at the same time I do believe that one must remain open to ambiguity and surprises and remain careful of biases
While I conclude this blog, I would like to share a great hand book that has some amazing attitudes a person practicing DT must know! check out the attachment. This material is free to share however one must respect the creative license over here – Creative Commons &mdash; Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported&mdash; CC BY-NC-SA 3.0