Have you ever had that moment in your life when you think, “Hmm, maybe there’s more…?” Yes, that one! I had a few of them, one of them being my first workshop devoted to the the-unknown design thinking methodology, given by The Creativity and Innovation Lab Foundation (in Polish: Foundacja Laboratorium Innowacji i Kreatywności, or FLIK for short). Back then I was frustrated at work, that took a lot of my time, and I was looking for a way out, for a system that would allow me to change how my team worked, and move my approach towards positivity.
I fell in love with design thinking. With the methodology – that gave me a new viewpoint on how things can be planned and run. I re-found my creativity that was stumped by work, and I fell in love with lateral thinking, looking for opportunities to be creative and fun. I fell in love with FLIK (who I later became a member of and organized any events with, and work with to this day), the people it attracted – people with the same optimistic and opportunistic approach to life – and the ideas it stood for. Thanks for that one weekend in Krakow, I rerouted my thinking, my career path, and my mind towards positive innovation and ingenuity.
I feel like since I want to share my path with others and put blog posts about the subject – I owe you an explanation of what design thinking exactly is and how it can be helpful for you! So stay tuned and keep reading to find out (however, this will be in a nutshell)!
WHAT IS DESIGN THINKING?
Design thinking is a
- Human-centered, because it’s not about the product but about how it can realistically help someone.
- Creative, because it’s based on using our imagination and vision, both individually and as a team.
- Problem-solving, because it aims to address specific obstacles and fix them to address someone’s needs.
Design thinking doesn’t tackle the problem without getting to
DESIGN THINKING MINDSETS
Design thinking is not only the process. To me, personally more important are the mindsets behind it. Because if you adopt a certain mindset, you can then use various processes, but you will never stop the mindset keeping you on track of your values. You can stay away from design thinking (and, sometimes, you should), but if you keep looking at things creatively, this alone would keep you on a good track to innovate. And so will other mindsets. There are a few versions out there, coming from different sources, all of the most applicable and sensible! I combined them in one set, eliminating repetitions, so it’s a tad easier to grasp them. Let me present… design thinking mindsets!
FOCUS ON PEOPLE– whether you’re designing a new product, or solving a complex social challenge, you’re doing it for someone, and that someone would be in the center of your task.
LEARN FROM FAILURES– treat failures as learning opportunities, don’t be afraid to see what doesn’t work so you can make it better.
COLLABORATE CONSCIOUSLY– choose a multinational and cross-functional team to approach the task from various perspectives and share different points of view.
EMBRACE AMBIGUITY– accept the fact that you don’t know much about the problem at first, be aware that some problems can have multiple solutions; embrace the unknown for better understanding.
CRAFT CLARITY– organize your approach and offer see-through information; state the problem in a simple way, and offer clear and understandable solutions.
SHOW, DON’T TELL– prototype solutions and engage others in testing, instead of giving them the answers; communicate through experiences, vision, stories.
BE OPTIMISTIC– believe in progress, believe in your team and their shared knowledge; trust the process and be open to changes and mistakes.
EXPERIMENT AND ITERATE– don’t settle on the first solution, iterate and test to make sure it works and evolves.
CULTIVATE GROWTH MINDSET– have an open mind towards the unknown, understand the limits of yourself; believe that you can grow and work towards it.
ACT, DON’T OVERTHINK– adopt a makers mind, don’t overthink processes or choices, but rather make them happen and observe. Don’t think about possibilities, but strive towards actual change.
If you prefer a print-friendly A4 handout with all the mindsets in one, I’ve prepared such in a pdf form, feel free to use it, stick in your cubicle!
DESIGN THINKING IN ACTION
It’s worth noting that design thinking is not a process that you should follow to the t, but rather combine it with the mindsets and – while remembering the main points of empathy, ideation, and prototype/testing – adjust accordingly to best serve the social cause and problem you are solving. It’s not a one-stop-shop for every single problem out there – yes, it may not work in your case, or it may need modification for some (however, logical!) reasons. But if you have the moral compass based on the process and the mindsets, you will see when and how to tweak it.
Having said that, there are multiple projects where design thinking was used to elevate the problem-solving process and produce logical and helpful results. Below are two of my favorites:
WHAT’S IN IT FOR YOU
There is a smorgasbord of benefits of using design thinking. Met with this new approach, you can exercise your creativity muscle and become a better visual thinker. This helps to develop critical thinking skills and master the power of problem-solving.
The feeling that failures are good kicks in, the understanding that the can teach instead of a downgrade if only you look at them through the glass of learning. You can read more about the benefits in my other blog post, about what exactly happens when people start using design thinking, just click here! Bottom line is, you need to develop yourself to face the changing world and be mindful of what goes one if you are interested in becoming. abetter person. Design thinking can help you achieve both! Good luck!