Design thinkers know that there is no one “best way” to move through the process.
The continuum of innovation is best thought of as a system of overlapping spaces rather than a sequence of orderly steps. You can think of them as:
- Inspiration – the problem or opportunity that motivates the search for solutions
- Ideation – the process of generating, developing, and testing
- Implementation – the path that leads from the project room to the market
Projects may loop back through these spaces more than once as the team refines its ideas and explores new directions.
The reason for the iterative, nonlinear nature of the journey is not that design thinkers are disorganized or undisciplined but that design thinking is fundamentally an exploratory process; done right it will invariably make unexpected discoveries along the way, and it would be foolish not to find out where they lead.
- Tim Brown, Change by Design
Leaders in ChurchWorld need to be design thinkers…
What spaces are you moving through today?
Utterly unexpected. A brilliantly designed product or service is clever and amazing. Think anything Apple.
Amazingly competent. A well-conceived product excels at what it does. It is functionally flawless. Think a Ziploc bag or Google’s home page.
Aesthetically exquisite. At the pinnacle of great design are products so gorgeous you want to hug them. Think a Porsche 911.
Conspicuously conscientious. Consumers (especially those under 30) are demanding socially responsible products and services that reflect a sense of stewardship for the environment and a passion for making a difference. Think Prius.
Unfortunately, design is still an afterthought in most organizations. Great design is less about genius than empathy – and it’s often the tiniest things that make the biggest difference.
- from Gary Hamel’s What Matters Now
For ChurchWorld Design Thinkers (Leaders)
- What are the thoughtless little ways we irritate our members and guests and what can we do to change that?
- What are the small, unexpected delights we could deliver to our members and guests at virtually no cost?
Design Thinking Matters.
Want to know more? Check out these other posts:
Innovation Begins with an Eye
Brainstorming, IDEO Style
Prototyping is a State of Mind
Great Projects are Achieved by Great Teams
Here’s the final post of three this week about Tom Kelley’s great book “The Ten Faces of Innovation.” Previous posts have looked at Learning and Organizing personas. For an overview of all ten, see here.
The four remaining personas are building roles that apply insights from the learning roles and channel the empowerment from the organizing roles to make innovation happen. When people adopt the building personas, they stamp their mark on your organization. People in these roles are highly visible, so you’ll often find them right at the heart of the action.
- The Experience Architect is that person relentlessly focused on creating remarkable individual experiences. This person facilitates positive encounters with your organization through products, services, digital interactions, spaces, or events. Whether an architect or a sushi chef, the Experience Architect maps out how to turn something ordinary into something distinctive—even delightful—every chance they get.
- The Set Designer looks at every day as a chance to liven up their workspace. They promote energetic, inspired cultures by creating work environments that celebrate the individual and stimulate creativity. To keep up with shifting needs and foster continuous innovation, the Set Designer makes adjustments to a physical space to balance private and collaborative work opportunities. In doing so, this person makes space itself one of an organization’s most versatile and powerful tools.
- The Storyteller captures our imagination with compelling narratives of initiative, hard work, and innovation. This person goes beyond oral tradition to work in whatever medium best fits their skills and message: video, narrative, animation, even comic strips. By rooting their stories in authenticity, the Storyteller can spark emotion and action, transmit values and objectives, foster collaboration, create heroes, and lead people and organizations into the future.
- The Caregiver is the foundation of human-powered innovation. Through empathy, they work to understand each individual customer and create a relationship. Whether a nurse in a hospital, a salesperson in a retail shop, or a teller at an international financial institution, the Caregiver guides the client through the process to provide them with a comfortable, human-centered experience.
What about your organization? Do you have individuals that regularly take on the personas listed above?
Recap: today’s post is the second of three which take a look at Tom Kelley’s book “The Ten Faces of Innovation.” Monday, the Learning Personas were reviewed. Today, it’s the Organizing Personas. For a brief look at all ten, see here.
The organizing roles are played by individuals who are savvy about the often counter intuitive process of how organizations move ideas forward. Kelly found that ideas could not speak for themselves; instead, even the best ideas must continuously compete for time, attention, and resources. It’s not just office politics or red tape; it’s a complex game of chess, and the Organizing Personas play to win.
- The Hurdler knows the path to innovation is strewn with obstacles and develops a knack for overcoming or outsmarting those roadblocks.
- The Collaborator helps bring eclectic groups together and often leads from the middle of the pack to create new combinations and multidisciplinary solutions.
- The Director not only gathers together a talented cast and crew but also helps spark their creative talents.
Every organization, no matter how small or large, has systems of how things get done (or don’t). By adopting one of the roles above, members of your team can move ideas and innovations forward.
Facing a daunting task? Stymied by seemingly huge barriers? Become an organizing persona, and make things happen!
People make innovation happen through their imagination, willpower, and perseverance. The only real path to innovation is through people. As Tim Sanders says, “The shortest distance to innovation is between two people.”
Tom Kelley, one of the founders of the legendary design firm IDEO, developed ten people-centric tools in his book ”The Ten Face of Innovation.” By adopting one or more of the roles, your team can explore a different point of view and create a broader range of innovative solutions. Kelley organized the ten roles into three categories: learning, organizing and building. Beginning today and continuing through Wednesday, a brief introduction to the personas, as Kelley calls them. For a quick summary of the personas, see here.
The Learning Persona
Individuals and organizations need to constantly gather new sources of information in order to expand their knowledge and grow. Because the world is changing at an ever-accelerated pace, today’s great idea will be tomorrow’s passing fad, and the day after’s history lesson. The learning roles described below will help keep your team from becoming smug about what you know; instead, these roles will keep you questioning your own views and remain open to new insights.
- The Anthropologist brings new learning and insights into the organization by observing human behavior and developing a deep understanding of how people interact physically and emotionally with products, services, and spaces.
- The Experimenter prototypes new ideas continuously, learning by a process of enlightened trial and error. The Experimenter takes calculated risks to achieve success through a state of “experimentation as implementation.”
- The Cross-Pollinator explores other industries and cultures, then translates those findings and revelations to fit the unique needs of your own organization.
As you reflect over these 3 personas, and the seven to follow over the next two days, keep in mind that they are not inherent personality traits or types that are permanently attached to one individual on your team. These innovation roles are available to nearly anyone on your team, and people can switch roles, reflecting the multifaceted capabilities.
Take a look in the mirror – what Learning persona do you need to assume today to help your organization move forward?
It’s a given that the award-winning design firm IDEO utilizes prototyping in their quest to fulfill a client’s request for a better shopping cart or when creating the mouse for Apple.
But how does this help when innovation isn’t a daily ritual? And what if your organization doesn’t make things, but provides a service? And what if your organization is a church?
Quick prototyping is about acting before you’ve got all the answers, about taking chances, stumbling a little, but then making it right.
Prototyping is a state of mind.
In the book ”The Art of Innovation, IDEO general manager Tim Kelley outlines some of the key principles of prototyping the firm has developed over the years:
- Build to learn – when a project is complex, prototyping is a way of making progress when problems seem insurmountable
- Make your luck – once you start prototyping, you begin to open up new possibilities of discovery
- Prototypes beat pictures – living, moving prototypes can help shape your ideas
- Bit by bit – don’t go for the touchdown all in one play; work on your project in stages, getting approval and/or revisions done in steps. Keep the momentum going
- Shoot the bad ideas first – don’t stop when you’re stuck; prototyping even an unworkable solution often generates new ideas
A playful, iterative approach to problems is one of the foundations of the creative culture at IDEO. It can be at your organization, too.
So, what are you going to prototype today?
The problem with brainstorming is that everyone thinks they already do it.
IDEO, the award-winning design and development firm known around the world for their creative solutions to everyday problems, begs to differ.
In the book “The Art of Innovation,” IDEO general manager Tom Kelley shows how you can deliver more value, create more energy, and foster more innovation through better brainstorming.
Seven Secrets for Better Brainstorming
- Sharpen the focus - good brainstormers start with a well-honed statement of the problem
- Playful rules – don’t start to critique or debate ideas
- Number your ideas – it’s a tool to motivate the participants and it’s a great way to jump back and forth between ideas without losing your place
- Build and jump – try building on an idea by encouraging another push or introducing a small variation; or take a jump, either back to an earlier path or forward to a completely new idea
- The space remembers – great brainstorm leaders understand the power of spatial memory. Use tools that allow you to write all ideas down, and as you move around the room, spatial memory will help people recapture the mind-set they had when the idea first emerged
- Stretch your mental muscles – mental warm ups (word games, content-related homework, etc.) will help you get in shape for better brainstorming
- Get physical - the best brainstormers often get physical; they bring in “props,” prototype designs with materials, and act out possible solutions
Got a problem that’s bugging you?
Find a suitable space, order some supplies, get a good group together, and brainstorm up several dozen possible solutions.
What do stand-up toothpaste tubes, all-in-one fishing kits, high-tech blood analyzers, flexible office shelves, self-sealing sports bottles, and the Apple mouse have in common?
Only that they’re all products designed by the legendary firm IDEO; products inspired by watching real people.
As IDEO human factors expert Leon Segal says in “The Art of Innovation” -”Innovation begins with an eye.”
It’s not just about product design, either.Whether it’s art, science, technology, or business, inspiration often comes from being close to the action. Once you start observing carefully, all kinds of insights and opportunities can open up.
Here are a few IDEO practices you should think about:
- No dumb questions – don’t think you know the answers without first asking the questions
- Look through the child’s eye – literally, if you want to understand what they are seeing, touching, and feeling; figuratively, if you understand that the best designs embrace people’s differences
- Inspiration by observation – open your eyes and you’ll be awakened to opportunities to improve things without leaving your office
- Embrace your crazy user – good, insightful observation combines careful watching with well-chosen questions asked to get at the psychology of a person’s interactions
- Finding rule breakers – you learn best when observing people who break the rules
- People are human – sometimes we reduce personal interactions to numbers and statistics. Empathy is about rediscovering why you’re actually in business, whom you’re trying to serve, and what needs you are trying to fulfill.
Seeing and hearing things with your own eyes and ears is a critical first step in improving or creating a breakthrough in your organization.
Try it today!