Monday, March 15, 2010

Think design and get lost.

We need to think differently. Become observers and problem solvers. There's no such thing as coasting anymore. Company cultures must foster continuous innovation. We need to embrace what IDEO calls design thinking:

“Design thinking is an approach that uses the designer’s sensibility and methods for problem solving to meet people’s needs in a technologically feasible and commercially viable way. In other words, design thinking is human-centered innovation.” —Tim Brown
It's more than just design, everyone needs to think like a designer. It's about stepping back, considering the experience, and empathizing. People tend to find their areas of expertise and build knowledge within those verticals. In his book Glimmer, Warren Berger agrees you should go deep, but he also encourages people to go wide. Cross over and explore new areas. He lists ten universal design principles that anyone can use. Bruce Mau recommends, “keep moving away from what you know.” His Incomplete Manifesto for Growth was written over a decade ago, but still holds true today.

Are creatives really being taken seriously? Do we have a place among business leaders and industry experts? Creativity has made its way out of the whimsical corner and into the forefront of standard business practice. Fast Company regularly promotes design. You can go to Stanford and get a degree in design thinking. Believe it or not, there is even an improv-based engineering course on the subject.
“Design is the human capacity to plan and produce desired outcomes.” —Bruce Mau
Berger, Bogusky, and Mau had a great design thinking discussion on Fearless Q+A. Some of their advice: Get lost on projects. That's when your attention level increases, you become alert, and experimental. When you're lost, do you panic? Or do you accept being lost and look for a window of opportunity. Sometimes we get so focused on the correct answer that we forget to ask the right questions. It's not the answer that's important, it's the question.

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