Great Design is…

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

Designing takes place in the uncomfortable gap between vision and reality.

Marty Neumeier, The Designful Company

Design is not just about products, even though that is often our first and only thought when it comes to design.

Design is change.

You need to find a situation worth improving and then work through the creative process.

For ChurchWorld Design Thinkers (aka 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.

courtesy richworks.in

courtesy richworks.in

 

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Unleash Your Team by Cultivating a Creative Spark

In our fast-paced digital life, church leadership teams need to be creative in order to deal with the changes coming their way today – or they risk irrelevancy tomorrow.

Creativity then, becomes a constant process for every ministry area of any church rather than an occasional requirement for the worship pastor at Christmas or only limited to those “creative” churches.

Like farmers and their crops, leaders cannot dictate creativity, but they are called to cultivate creativity. Thinking and acting creatively doesn’t just happen because a leader desires it or orders it to happen. With the right environment, resources, mindset, and vision, your team will be able to develop the required motivation to be creative on their own.

If you desire to unleash the creativity of your team, try cultivating a creative spark.

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THE QUICK SUMMARYCreative Confidence

Too often, companies and individuals assume that creativity and innovation are the domain of the “creative types.”  But two of the leading experts in innovation, design, and creativity on the planet show us that each and every  one of us is creative.

In an incredibly entertaining and inspiring narrative that draws on countless stories from their work at IDEO, the Stanford d.school, and with many of the world’s top companies, David and Tom Kelley identify the principles and strategies that will allow us to tap into our creative potential in our work lives, and in our personal lives, and allow us to innovate in terms of how we approach and solve problems.  Creative Confidence can your team be more productive and successful in fulfilling their responsibilities.

A SIMPLE SOLUTION

French chemist Louis Pasteur is quoted as saying “Chance favors the trained mind.” You can lead your team to think the same way, by being prepared to be creative.

Creativity doesn’t happen in a vacuum. Your efforts to encourage your team’s creativity could be as simple as a change in perspective, or as complex as a new working environment. It’s probably going to be somewhere in-between.

The point is, your team’s creativity can be influenced by specific actions you take. Their claim to fame probably won’t be on the same level as discovering the principles of vaccination or pasteurization, but it could be just as meaningful to your organization.

Sometimes, your team just needs a spark to fire up their creativity.

The creative spark needed to come up with new solutions is something you have to cultivate, over and over again. One way to begin is to consciously increase the inspiration you encounter in your daily life.

Effective strategies to help you get from blank page to insight include:

Choose Creativity – To be more creative, the first step is to decide what you want to make it happen.

Think like a Traveler – Like a visitor to a foreign land, try turning fresh eyes on your surroundings, no matter how mundane or familiar. Don’t wait around for a spark to magically appear. Expose yourself to new ideas and experiences.

Engage Relaxed Attention – Flashes of insight often come when your mind is relaxed and not focused on completing a specific task, allowing the mind to make new connections between seemingly unrelated ideas.

Empathize with Your End User – You com up with more innovative ideas when yo better understand the needs and context of the people you are creating solutions for.

Do Observations in the Field – If you observe others with the skills of an anthropologist, you might discover new opportunities hidden in plain sight.

Ask Questions, Starting with “Why?” – A series of “why?” questions can brush past surface details and get to the heart of the matter.

Reframe Challenges – Sometimes, the first step toward a great solution is to reframe the question. Starting from a different point of view can help you get to the essence of a problem.

Build a Creative Support Network – Creativity can flow more easily and be more fun when you have others to collaborate with and bounce ideas off.

– Tom Kelley and David Kelley, Creative Confidence

A NEXT STEP

At your next team meeting, review the list of strategies above. Select one activity that you will lead your team in each week. Have each team member note how they are applying the principle individually in a personal creativity journal.

Each week, devote 30 minutes of your team meeting to discussing that week’s strategy.

  • How has the strategy worked in improving team creativity?
  • What new directions has the strategy unveiled?
  • What current activities has the strategy revealed that need to be “stopped”?
  • How could the strategy be modified to improve creativity even more?
  • How will your team adopt this strategy into their creative cycle, without it getting “stale?”

At the end of the 8-seek experiment, schedule a one-hour meeting with your team to decide and commit on strategies that will become a regular part of their creative process.

At periodic occasions throughout the year, check-in with the team to see how the strategies are working, or if they need to be modified or abandoned.

 


Closing Thoughts

Creativity and innovation are the life blood of a thriving ministry. But even the most creative team can become stale or fall into a rut of the same old same old. Your actions as a leader will determine if your team stays the same, or is constantly reinventing itself.

Taken from SUMS Remix, Issue 15-1, May, 2015


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 “summary” for church leaders. I’m going to peruse back issues of both SUMS and SUMS Remix and publish excerpts each Wednesday.

You can find out more information about SUMS Remix here.

Subscribe to SUMS Remix here.

Building Innovation – Through People

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?

Why not?

Innovators Must Be In It to Win It

Recap: today’s post is the second of three which take a look at Tom Kelley’s book The Ten Faces of Innovation. Wednesday, 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?

Adopt an organizing persona, and make things happen!

The Shortest Distance to Innovation

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 Faces 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 Friday, 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?

The Spaces of Design Thinking

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?

Prototyping is a State of Mind

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?