Thinking to implementation

The design inspiration must be translated into implementation to turn design thinking into design doing.

Whether the goal is to develop new products or services or a new way of marketing to customers, or to reinvent ones entire business model, ‘design thinking’ holds valuable clues as to how to get to bigger ideas, faster and more efficiently. There can be many methods to fuel innovation, the principles and practices behind design are so intuitive and have such a pedigree of success, it is hard to question their value.

Most people associate the word ‘design’ with a physical manifestation of form and function – an aesthetic that appeal to the discerning user, a form that creates a satisfying user experience, a physical and emotional ‘journey’ for the user in spatial terms or an engineering accomplishment that makes the concept viable technically and economically. All of these are valid and valuable interpretations of design, relating to the craft and technical expertise of the design field that helps create human and economic value.

Design disciplines of all kinds whether it is engineering, architecture, graphics, industrial design and others teach things not typically taught in business in business and management schools. Study reveals the ways the ‘design world’ thinks and make stuff, there are patterns that emerge in terms of mindset and method that are just as valuable to business and not for profit endeavors as they are in the design realm.
Principles of design can be applied to generate breakthrough thinking over incremental thinking. Those intrigued by the concept of design need to be able to grasp its core notions.

Design is one of the hottest topics in the business arena in recent years, dubbed the new driver of innovation and the new competitive weapon. This year, design got its due in Davos where the World Economic Forum featured a roster of programs on new thinking about innovation and value of design as means to unlock breakthrough ideas.

Imagine if everyone could get in on what the world’s leading innovators are discovering; we would see more value and less waste of energy (human and otherwise), time and money. But before design impact human and economic value to its fullest potential, it must be translated into an accessible, ‘doable’ program.

Those who are intrigued by design need to be to grasp its core notions and begins to put its principles and practices into play, with a long tern conviction to shift their culture by driving the philosophy throughout the organization.

In fact, any organization out to create economic and human value – be it a federal government agency or a well established commercial enterprise – can harness the power of design thinking to drive true innovations.

It is not creativity. Creativity is technically the ability to create something new. Design is about the process of making or doing something new. And that’s where design is more aligned with innovation on a grand scale – it is not an attribute, it is fundamentally about action.

Finally, the process of ‘design doing’ is not about establishing a new set of rules it is about a fundamental shift in culture, a reframing of the collective mindset and methods of working that infuses culture with the spirit of innovation in a way that is consistent and sustained.

The first step is to extract the ‘attitude’ behind design. The mindset of those who design is pointing to some inspiring characteristics that most of us admire and would willingly embrace under the right conditions. The most notable themes follow under three general traits: open minded collaboration, courage and convection. Design doing is a non-starter without open minded collaboration.

Openness requires not only a commitment to ‘working together’ but also an earnest receptiveness to new ideas (good and bad), an interest in every new insight. Designers get a charge out of new insights, new ideas, new partners and new possibilities. They feed off of new insights and effectively build off the ideas of others, embracing both the friction and fusion that comes with intense collaboration. —