Design Thinking: The new Strategy, Innovation and Management philosophy

Design Thinking: The new Strategy, Innovation and Management philosophy

Design Thinking: The new Strategy, Innovation and Management philosophy

698 400 Hugo Gonçalves

This weekend, I received a sms from a good friend of mine asking me to recommend  books and new approaches on the subject of Strategy and Management. Almost without thinking, I texted back: “Strategy and Management is old news.” And later, even with carefully reflexion, that idea still was stuck in my head.

The intuitive answer I gave to my friend deserves a structured justification and accordingly I decided to address this issue in my monthly share.

How often did you feel frustrated at the end of a strategic meeting where the agenda was to define new ways, paths and actions in order to change? When time, resources, energy and euros were used without adding value? Most of the approaches and methodologies that we use to solve challenges and set new directions for People, Businesses and Organizations face some tough challenges, just choose your “poison”:

  • Lack of Leadership;
  • Lack of Sense of Urgency;
  • Plan, Manage and Run the company having the “internal ego” as focus and not the client as Beacon;
  • Lack of Curiosity;
  • Lack of internal and external Communication;
  • Just focus on Execution and not on Purpose;
  • Focus on wanting to just Sell, rather than solve problems, save time and provide experiences to Customers, thus creating a profit with Purpose and developing the well-being of society.

A “controlled” spiral disruption in new attitudes and evolution of competences for change is required. Therefore, it is necessary to be aware of the following contexts – Purpose, Empathy and the Flow, which embody a philosophy of renovation | rebirth of People and Business.

About two years, I was presented to an approach called Design Thinking (DT).

It is a logical and structured approach, but based on curiosity and creativity. Relies on a set of steps and tools that aim to imagine, develop, test and implement new realities, ideas, products, services and any other needs that Clients and Society  (hence Design Thinking is also Human Centric) can aspire or develop along its evolution process.

 Why not align the principles of Design Thinking and imagining this methodology as a philosophy of strategy, leadership, empowerment, human capital development and a organic builder of processes, communication, products and services with customers?

There are several models associated with DT, but I present the steps I believe can easily replicated in the context of management and organizational development:

  • Sense of Urgency and Purpose;
  • Immersion and Interpretation;
  • Generation of Ideas;
  • Experimentation | Prototyping;
  • Implementation;
  • Evolution!

Design Thinking allows all involved to be part of this process of creating a future or  better reality, developing creative interpretation and implementation that is strongly connected to our emotional and cognitive mechanisms. Also requires pivoting an iteration (stepwise refinement) until reaching the desired solution. It’s an evolution approach, for getting things better but also to demolish what has already been built and respective paradigm to create something new. Create an absence to allow the design of a new presence.

Thinking like a designer is to be aware of the world around us and imagine new realities or new versions of current reality. Leaders and managers who can apply the DT approach in their day-to-day business held on their hands powerful tools to identify, view, solve and prevent problems and find solutions in a systematic, intuitive, creative and human-centric way.

Design Thinking feeds on the following sources of ignition – needs and desires of improvement and wellness, current technology, available materials and resources and constraints and opportunities as beacon. It is a “human centric approach” as it is expressed through collaboration and co-creation. Design Thinking is not used to someone, is materialized with someone!

I present the structure of Design Thinking for Business and Organizations:

Purpose | Vision | Sense of Emergency – The organization has a challenge or want to implement some changes? It is necessary to understand the needs and obstacles that can lead to this emergency (be carefull) and be curious about the future. Also the “active listening” to employees, partners and customers can give us insights to the definition of the best path. The “why do we need to change” question must the anwsered here.

Discovery – The challenges are defined and the purpose of innovation is made aware and communicated. What approach to take next? How can we better understand all that is involved in this new stage? What do we gain? What we will continue to lose if we follow the same path? What are the sources of knowledge, information, research and resources that will enable us to have a better perception of what is involved with this purpose or need for change?

Immersion and Interpretation – People and the Organization learned something. How do we interpret and synthesize our findings? What are the most important insights we collect? How do they come together? What are the dominant themes and contexts? How do we share what we learn with storytelling? What are the main conclusions we have reached and what are the main opportunities that were identified? What is the impact of all this?

Idea Generation – We have the following opportunities to explore. How can we break through the “same old same old” approach and create the best balance between logic, emotion, cognition, building a future impact on people (customers, users, employees)? Within our culture and organization, what is the best way to execute brainstorming and ideia generation? How much time should be invested at this stage? How to embedded the habit to reflect and imagine the improvements and new opportunities on a regular basis within the company?

Experimentation | Prototyping | Iteration – We have the following ideas to explore. How can we build prototypes or experiences that validate the expected impact of the generatedi deas ? How should this experimentation and iteration could be jointly created and co-performed with customers? What is the better way to receive the feedback we need? How do we know this feedback is true and valid for our analysis?

Evolution – We experiment with new approaches, processes, products, services, ways to communicate, etc. How can we make them evolve? How to curate and manage the knowledge and experience acquired with an accessible and intuitive repository and put it at the service of People and Organization? What are the real results we are getting? What is the next challenge? What does our  coolhunting instincts tells us?

We are living what I define as the Heartonomics age in Business – developing business through the emotional development of people and designing activities focused on the experiential value.

All People and Organizations can be designers of their Future!

Thank you,

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