Despite all our planning and analyzing and controlling, the typical church’s track record at translating its rhetoric into results is not impressive.
In the business world, researchers estimate that only somewhere between 10% and 60% of the promised returns for new strategies are actually delivered. The reality for many churches would be between 10% and 30% – tops. Practices that consume enormous amounts of time and attention mostly produce discouraging results.
All the empty talk is making it harder and harder to get anything to actually happen. Churches expect the staff to be member-focused while the majority watches. When a staff or volunteer actually takes a risk, they are punished if it doesn’t succeed. Ambitious growth goals aren’t worth the spreadsheets they are computed on.
Getting new results requires new tools – and design thinking has real tools to help move from talk to action.
Design thinking is actually a systematic approach to problem solving.
Design thinking is fundamentally an exploratory process; done right, it will invariably make unexpected discoveries along the way.
THE QUICK SUMMARY – Change by Design by Tim Brown
The myth of innovation is that brilliant ideas leap fully formed from the minds of geniuses. The reality is that most innovations come from a process of rigorous examination through which great ideas are identified and developed before being realized as new offerings and capabilities.
This book introduces the idea of design thinking‚ the collaborative process by which the designer′s sensibilities and methods are employed to match people′s needs not only with what is technically feasible and a viable business strategy. In short‚ design thinking converts need into demand. It′s a human−centered approach to problem solving that helps people and organizations become more innovative and more creative.
Design thinking is not just applicable to so−called creative industries or people who work in the design field. It′s a methodology that has been used by organizations such as Kaiser Permanente to increase the quality of patient care by re−examining the ways that their nurses manage shift change‚ or Kraft to rethink supply chain management. This is not a book by designers for designers; this is a book for creative leaders seeking to infuse design thinking into every level of an organization‚ product‚ or service to drive new alternatives for business and society.
A SIMPLE SOLUTION
Iterate – Leaders who thought like designers would see themselves as learners.
Leaders often default to a straightforward linear problem-solving methodology: define a problem, identify various solutions, analyze each, and choose one – the right one. Designers aren’t nearly so impatient, or optimistic. They understand that the successful invention takes experimentation and that empathy is hard won. So is the task of learning.
For example, the IKEA way of business we know (and love!) today didn’t originally start out that way. Almost every element of IKEA’s legendary business model – showrooms and catalogs in tandem, knockdown furniture in flat parcels, and customer pick-up and assembly – emerged over time from experimental response to urgent problems.
“Regard every problem as a possibility,” was IKEA founder Ingvar Kamprad’s mantra. He focused less on control and “getting it right” the first time and more on learning and on seeing and responding to opportunities as they emerged.
Prototyping at work is giving form to an idea, allowing us to learn from it, evaluate it against others, and improve upon it.
Anything tangible that lets us explore an idea, evaluate it, and push it forward is a prototype.
Techniques borrowed from film and other creative industries suggest how we might prototype nonphysical experiences. These include scenarios, a form of storytelling in which some potential future situation or state is described using words and pictures.
Prototypes should command only as much time, effort, and investment as is necessary to generate useful feedback and drive an idea forward.
Prototyping is always inspirational – not in the sense of a perfected project but just the opposite: because it inspires new ideas. Once tangible expressions begin to emerge, it becomes easy to try them out and elicit feedback internally from management and externally from potential customers.
In the ideation space we build prototypes to develop our ideas to ensure that they incorporate the functional and emotional elements necessary to meet the demands of the market.
In the third space of innovation we are concerned with implementation: communicating an idea with sufficient clarity to gain acceptance across the organization, proving it, and showing that it will work in its intended market.
There are many approaches to prototyping, but they share a single, paradoxical feature: They slow us down to speed us up. By taking the time to prototype our ideas, we avoid costly mistakes such as becoming too complex too early and sticking with a weak idea too long.
Tim Brown, Change by Design
A NEXT STEP
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.
A prototype is a simple experimental model of a proposed solution used to test or validate ideas, design assumptions, and other aspects of its conceptualization quickly and cheaply, so that the leaders involved can make appropriate refinements or possible changes in direction.
Long used in the design of “things,” prototyping is increasingly used to work on designing experiences or other non-material objects.
To explore a current situation at your church that can be improved, work through the following prototyping exercise:
Select a situation consisting of multiple elements and nuances that a guest encounters at your church. For example, a guest family with a preschool child visiting for the first time.
Prepare any accessories (props) needed to recreate the scene where the action takes place. Use cardboard, tape, or any cheap material at hand to create the “sense” of the action a guest is going through.
Make a list of the roles people are involved in and define the sequence and time required to enact them.
Replay the situation three – four times. Each time, try to understand the emotional layers of the situation. Then add elements you forgot at the beginning.
Video record the re-enactment, playing different roles each time. Assign one team member to observe and take notes.
After the exercise, watch the video and listen to the observer’s notes. What parts of the process can be changed to make the experience more enjoyable to the guest? What types of training are needed for your volunteers to make that happen? Are there any physical or space layouts that can be improved?
Leaders who practice design thinking are energized by the ambiguity and uncertainty that comes with constant change. These leaders don’t accept the hand-me-down notion that cost cutting and innovation are mutually exclusive, or that short-term and long-term goals are irreconcilable. They reject the tyranny of “or” in favor of the genius of “and.”
Excerpt taken from SUMS Remix 98-3, released August 2018
Part of a weekly series on 27gen, entitled Wednesday Weekly Reader
Regular daily reading of books is an important part of my life. It even extends to my vocation, where as Vision Room Curator for Auxano I am responsible for publishing SUMS Remix, a biweekly book “excerpt” for church leaders. Each Wednesday on 27gen I will be taking a look back at previous issues of SUMS Remix and publishing an excerpt.