There are the kinds of problems that you cannot MANAGE your way out of; you have to DESIGN your way out.
Some problems are OPEN with fuzzy or no boundaries, some problems are COMPLEX with many elements that are related to each other, you may experience constantly changing DYNAMIC problems, and NETWORKED problems with many inter dependencies between stakeholders. You might find Design Thinking very useful.
How Designers think
Design Thinking is a way of thinking and behavior that is very suitable for solving wicked problems. Wicked problems in the sense that they are ill-defined or tricky; problems that is difficult to solve because of incomplete, contradictory, and changing requirements that are often difficult to recognize.
Design Thinkers are comfortable with uncertainty and complexity This allows for the problem and solution to co-evolve, it allows for trial and error: mistakes are learning leaps thinking in paradoxes, not dilemmas.
Design Thinkers have the ability to switch between thinking modes Holistic and Detailed. Analysis and Synthesis. Diverging and Converging. Out of the box and Inside of the Box.
Design Thinkers are emphatic
They can adopt someone else’s point and can relate to the other persons needs and use that perspective in problem solving.
Design Thinkers always come with solutions
They are optimistic. Solutions are practical and scaleable. They always create a way out of the problem.
Design Thinkers have the ability to re-frame problems
Working on the problem is as important as working on the solution. The use of metaphors, narratives, role-playing etc. The way you look at a problem defines its solution scope.
How Designers act
The Design Thinking mindset supports an approach to problem solving that is very suitable to work on wicked problems.
Design Thinkers work in teams
Co-creation = making the most of human resources. The ‘friction’ between stakeholders provides energy and inspiration. Workshops are condensed & lean innovation processes.
Design Thinkers prototype
Trial and error to let the problem and solution co-evolve. Prototypes are not solutions but reframed questions. You can prototype products, campaigns, business models, services …
Design Thinkers visualise
The ability to model, capture in a sketch, or a visual, not only as communication, but also as prototype or reframing of the question.
Design Thinkers adopt different roles
Representing Innovation. Representing the User. Representing Marketing/Communication. – or being the interface between all of the above.
Design Thinking made consistent to achieve extraordinary results
An example of a Design Thinking process could have six stages: – Understand – Observe – Define – Ideate – Prototype – Test
Within these seven steps, problems can be framed, the right questions can be asked, more ideas can be created, and the best answers can be chosen. The steps aren’t linear; they can occur simultaneously and can be repeated. Design Thinkers will be able to connect with and invigorate their ideation processes in order to take innovation and product development to a higher level.
In short – Design Thinking is the very foundation of achieving innovative outputs that connects with people.