Design Thinking has been getting a lot of attention over the past few years as a way to enhance your problem solving, ensure learning goals are met, and increase team engagement. As a concept, it's all about problem solving, but it's designed to break down existing approaches and norms. Over the past few decades, teams have developed standardized ways of approaching problems. Agile teams, for example, take retrospectives as a means to both troubleshoot and brainstorm new ways of working. Lean has evolved a set of root cause analysis tooling and techniques to allow for the bottoming out of problems.
A problem solving and brainstorming session needs the freedom to shift perspective away from current thinking. That thinking can be hampered by the familiarity with tooling, the team affinity for certain approaches or tools, the "evangelistic" approach to processes, and the mantra of this is how we have always done it, which is rooted in people's innate resistance to change. Design Thinking is an approach to allow people to see beyond basic human tendencies. It allows people to awaken to alternative approaches that can help uncover unmet and unspoken needs, and to bring new perspectives to the challenges at hand.
[ Also read: Build community engagement by serving up Lean Coffee ]
As humans, we process and learn in three key ways, with each person being attuned to a different learning style.
- Aurally: listening to people speaking and engaging in discussions
- Visually: reading and interpreting drawings and presentations
- Kinesthetically: tactile learning, being hands-on with a problem and inspecting it using your whole body
If you assume that everyone has attained the knowledge you're trying to deliver, but you use tools that limit or exclude any of the three learning styles, you cannot be sure that the learning objectives have been met. The Design Thinking approach helps you consider all three learning styles, and helps you move the team forward in its learning journey, faster.
Open Practice Library
With such obvious benefits, Design Thinking is attracting more practitioners. People are using it with their teams, and a community of practice has formed around it. The Open Practice Library (OPL) is a curated set of community-contributed practices to allow you to introduce Design Thinking concepts to your teams to bring more powerful learning and understanding to your project planning, and more importantly, to have some fun!
[ Related read: 7 ways anyone can contribute to Open Practice Library ]
In our next article, we'll discuss the problem with processes, and how Design Thinking can help overcome it.