Understanding the power and potential of Design Thinking.

Using Design Thinking successfully with your team is about a lot more than just understanding the steps of this increasingly popular methodology. In this episode, we will look at a number of things that will help you understand the value and potential of Design Thinking through things like how it instantly empower your team, how it allows you to bring everyone into the process in an inclusive way, how it lets you evaluate the leadership potential of your team and partners, change the thinking of your company and much more.

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Back in episodes 33 through 35 we covered the basics of Design Thinking. I did those episodes because of the interest in Design Thinking in insane these days. That is complicated by the fact that the Wikipedia page on Design Thinking is about 6 miles long and it confuses the hell out of me and I teach it. But there is a lot more to it than just knowing the steps of any methodology.

This episode is going to about understanding the real value and potential of Design Thinking. It is also about some of the challenges that may come when you use it. I think this is why it can sometimes get a bad rap because people think that the methodology will be a solution unto itself – and it absolutely isn’t. But you also need to understand that it isn’t a magic bullet, it won’t fix all your problems and its just a methodology so if you use it incorrectly or if you put bad input into it, then you will get bad output out of it. The hope is that at the end of the episode you will have a better understanding of its power and have a new perspective on how it can be useful.

The power of Design Thinking

Design Thinking can be a really powerful methodology for a number of reasons including

It’s an inclusive process
One of the most powerful parts of Design Thinking is that it brings everyone to the table on a project. This takes advantage of the basic human psychology that people will support what they are a part of. This inclusive approach is the dominant new direction in modern creativity

Creates a tent pole for your team
One of the things that become really important when you work at a large company or if you have teams in different locations is that you have things that keep the team on the same page.

There is nothing that is going to be more important than keeping your team on the same page when it comes to creativity. Design Thinking will set the expectations for your team with guidelines for how they should work, how they should pursue multiple ideas and more. This freedom in a framework can be a hard balance to strike but it is important to be able to have a really successful team

It empowers the Design team
One of the best byproducts of Design Thinking is that when you bring it into your team and your company it instantly empowers the design team. As creatives, we are used to the process of working a problem without having a solution. Many other people are not.

When you use Design Thinking, which is inclusive, you become the guide and teacher for all those other people. That puts your team at the center of the process and empowers your team.

It lets anyone solve anything
One of my proudest moments at Citi came in the form of something you might not expect. I saw teams that were using Design Thinking for much more than just their daily projects and that was important because it meant we were influencing the way people thought not just behaved. Too many companies are happy with just new behavior but the problem is that isn’t the heart of the problem. New behavior on old thinking won’t really change anything. Design Thinking lets you go and work on the deeper problem by helping people change the way they think which is the basis for real change.

Creativity on demand
You need to be able to work on a problem from a lot of different angles so you can be sure that you have a lot of different lines of thinking. This often doesn’t happen as we can too easily fall in love with our first idea. Design Thinking will help you make sure that your teams are working a problem from a lot of different angles so you can have multiple strong solutions.

Diverse creativity
One of the challenges of any project is that when you are posed with a problem is created a tension in your brain. Whenever you find a solution that solves that problem is that it gives you a sense of relief.

The problem with that is it blinds you to more solutions because you fall in love with your first idea. You just push your one idea around.

Design Thinking makes sure that you see the problem from a lot of different angles so you so find a few different approaches.

Lets you see leadership potential in your team and clients
When you take anyone through a Design Thinking workshop it is an incredibly insightful process. I have always found that within no time you can easily see who is open to change, who has strong empathy, who can think outside of the box and a lot more really important insights that can help you change your team and your company.

Its a Trojan Horse for change
Another nice byproduct of an inclusive process is that when you bring everyone to the table to work on things you can influence how they work and how they think.

This is critical because if you want to create real change is that you have to change the way people think not just the way they behave.

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