This course provides an overview of the Design Thinking process and tools used for business innovation.Design Thinking is a popular new idea in the business world – organizations as diverse as entrepreneurial start-ups, big established corporations, and government and social service organizations are experimenting with Design Thinking as an alternative approach to traditional problem-solving. Accelerated by the spectacular rise of Apple and IDEO, Design Thinking is seen as offering a new approach better-suited for dealing with the accelerating pressures for growth and innovation faced by so many organizations today. But Design Thinking can remain mysterious for people interested in introducing this approach into their decision-making processes. Demystifying it is the focus of this course.
Week 2: How can we prepare ourselves to be leaders of innovation? Design Thinking is not only about process and tools. It is about people as well: about you as a design thinker and about the people you want to create value for and with. And so, before we jump into the process of using Design Thinking to generate and test ideas, we want to first focus on your own mindset and look at whether your mind is prepared to both see and act on opportunity when it shows up in your world. We will examine this issue by looking at the stories of two very capable managers, George and Geoff, and how their differing mindsets affect their ability to lead innovation and growth. We will also look at the role of visualization tools that use imagery and storytelling to bring ideas to life.
Week 3: How can you use Design Thinking to generate ideas? Now we will dive deeper into the Design Thinking process, looking at how we can use it to generate better ideas. This week, we will look at the story of an entrepreneur, Chris Cartter, and his start-up, MeYouHealth, as they worked with Boston design firm, Essential Design, to understand the kind of opportunity that social networking might hold for helping us to improve our health. Examining what already exists is the first step in the Design Thinking process. As part of assessing what is, designers “follow the customer home” and explore the problems they are trying to solve in life versus their product use. Once they have thoroughly explored and looked for patterns in what is, designers look toward the future and ask what if? These two questions – what is and what if – along with their associated tools will be the focus of Week 3. This is the creative part of the process, but it also contains a disciplined approach.
Week 4: How can you use Design Thinking to test ideas? Having generated all these great ideas, what’s next? The Design Thinking process now helps us to take the many ideas we have generated and figure out how to determine which ones are likely to produce the specific kinds of outcomes we want, whether these take the form of improved nutrition for the elderly (The Good Kitchen), healthier lifestyle choices (MeYouHealth) or even more “hot leads” emanating from your trade shows (in the IBM example we will look at this week). This week, we will follow the activities of an IBM team working closely with experience marketing agency George P. Johnson as they develop and test ideas for a revolutionary approach to trade show participation. This process begins by asking what wows? This question brings together the customer and business cases supporting our new concepts. Typically, the “wow” zone occurs at the intersection of three criteria: somebody wants it, we can create and deliver it, and doing so has the potential to produce the outcomes we as an organization want. Then we ask what works? and conduct small experiments to test if our assumptions are accurate. We'll conclude the week by reviewing what we have covered.
Solving Problems with Design Thinking: Ten Stories of What Works by Jeanne Liedtka, Andrew King, and Kevin Bennett
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