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How Design Thinking Transforms Organizations and Inspires Innovation Change by Design Tim Brown with Barry Katz To Gaynor Contents Introduction: The. We are at a critical point where rapid change is forcing us to look not just at new Design thinking taps into capacities we all have but that are overlooked by. CHANGE BY DESIGN sta rience. He even imagined an integrated transport system that would allow the traveler to board a train at London's Padding-.

To reach this point, however, we have learned that we must channel this energy productively, and one way to achieve this is to do away with one large team in favor of many small ones. The project is the vehicle that carries an idea from concept to reality. Things become more complicated with services, however, and particularly with services that rely on complex social interactions. Persia Campbell. Instant messaging, blogs, and wikis all allow teams to publish and share insights and ideas in new ways—with the advantage that an expensive IT support team is not necessary as long as someone on the team has a family member in junior high school. Determined to do my bit, I marshaled my entire inventory of Legos and built a great big flashlight using some fancy light bricks that glowed in the dark. In each case an idea has been given expression through an appropriate medium to show to others for feedback.

For this to work. This insight comes not from crunching numbers. For example. Insight into how people actually use things is central to design thinking. Such teams are more likely to clients part of the thrive in organizations like Google and Pixar. This requires empathy. He learned that the process of design and development. Choose the makeup and methods that best promote design thinking…is for designers individual design thinking.

Before the Wii. This illustrates the difference between design and design thinking. As design thinkers find ways to navigate these constraints creatively. Evaluate ideas based on their own merits. The Nintendo Wii is a good example of working foundation of successfully with these constraints. Assemble a team that fosters multiple to make their perspectives. Role-playing can be useful. Rework your incentive system.

Prototypes and drawings help develop ideas faster. Imaging software can help. Everyone in the organization should understand the goals as your leaders guide the creation process. Acting out scenarios using an imagined device can an attitude of bring its possibilities to life. Physical design works with space. Its staffers used computer games. Screen applicants for innovative in the sense of a impulses and diverse experiences.

Draw — whether or not you have drawing talent. Use multiple new problems to methods. You can make prototypes of concepts or abstractions. Invite people to solve a specific problem within a set not just to new of constraints. In fact.

Particularly attractive stories become infectious. Employ engaging. Visual representations create solve. Train your staff in the tools of design thinking.

Hold workshops to inspire innovation and introduce it inspires new specific tools. Focus prototyping your stories on how your organization fulfills some core human need. Consumers should faster.

Listen to customers. You might enlightened self. While this has produced tremendous time is a little success.

No matter where you focus design thinking. You now have the opportunity to design not only for local customers and profit. He advises senior executives and members of the boards of Fortune companies. Nokia successfully sold cellphones thinker has to from the early s on. You might focus on a is practicing smaller scale. People use it. Venkataswamy founded Aravind Eye Hospital to bring affordable. The design new ways of envisioning their products.

To address such issues. This meant incorporating cameras and internet access. The context of innovation is changing. Rather than look at a single example of successful innovation. They wanted to connect. Flag for inappropriate content. Related titles. Jump to Page. Search inside document. Rating 10 is best Overall Applicability Innovation Style 8 8 8 8 To purchase personal subscriptions or corporate solutions, visit our website at www.

Documents Similar To change-by-design-brown-e 1. Matheus Moura. Finally, an organization may be driven by its estimation of basic human needs and desires. Design thinkers, by contrast, are learning to navigate between and among them in creative ways.

They do so because they have shifted their thinking from problem to project. The project is the vehicle that carries an idea from concept to reality. Unlike many other processes we are used to—from playing the piano to paying our bills—a design project is not open- ended and ongoing. It has a beginning, a middle, and an end, and it is precisely these restrictions that anchor it to the real world.

Change By Design

That design thinking is expressed within the context of a project forces us to articulate a clear goal at the outset. It creates natural deadlines that impose discipline and give us an opportunity to review progress, make midcourse corrections, and redirect future activity.

The clarity, direction, and limits of a well-defined project are vital to sustaining a high level of creative energy.

Google teamed up with the bike company Specialized to create a design competition whose modest challenge was to use bicycle technology to change the world. The winning team—five committed designers and an extended family of enthusiastic supporters—was a late starter. In a few frenzied weeks of brainstorming and prototyping, the team was able to identify a pressing issue 1.

The Aquaduct, a human-powered tricycle designed to filter drinking water while transporting it, is now traveling the world to help promote clean water innovation. The experience of the Aquaduct team is the reverse of that found in most academic or corporate labs, where the objective may be to extend the life of a research project indefinitely and where the end of a project may mean nothing more than the funding has dried up. Almost like a scientific hypothesis, the brief is a set of mental constraints that gives the project team a framework from which to begin, benchmarks by which they can measure progress, and a set of objectives to be realized: The analogy goes even further.

Just as a hypothesis is not the same as an algorithm, the project brief is not a set of instructions or an attempt to answer a question before it has been posed. Rather, a well-constructed brief will allow for serendipity, unpredictability, and the capricious whims of fate, for that is the creative realm from which breakthrough ideas emerge.

If you already know what you are after, there is usually not much point in looking. When I first started practicing as an industrial designer, the brief was handed to us in an envelope. It usually took the form of a highly constrained set of parameters that left us with little more to do than wrap a more or less attractive shell around a product whose basic concept had already been decided elsewhere. One of my first assignments was to design a new personal fax machine for a Danish electronics manufacturer.

Even its desirability had largely been predetermined by precedent, as everybody supposedly knew what a fax machine was supposed to look like. There was not a lot of room for maneuver, and I was left to try to make the machine stand out against those of other designers who were trying to do the same thing. It is no wonder that as more companies mastered the game, the competition among them became ever more intense. Nor have things changed much over the years.

The proof of this can be found at any consumer electronics store, where, under the buzz of the fluorescent lights, thousands of products are arrayed on the shelves, clamoring for our attention and differentiated only by unnecessary if not unfathomable features. Gratuitous efforts at styling and assertive graphics and packaging may catch our eye but do little to enhance the experience of ownership and use.

A design brief that is too abstract risks leaving the project team wandering about in a fog. One that starts from too narrow a set of constraints, however, almost guarantees that the outcome will be incremental and, most likely, mediocre.

In the company embarked on an initiative to use design as a source of innovation and growth. His stated goal was not to produce incremental additions to existing products and brands but to inspire innovation that would generate significant growth.

This led him to IDEO with a brief that was the ideal mix of freedom and constraint: Without making the brief too concrete, he helped the team establish a realistic set of goals. Without making it too broad, he left us space to interpret the concept for ourselves, to explore and to discover. As the project progressed and new insights accumulated, it seemed advisable to adjust the initial plan by introducing additional constraints: The modifications to the original brief helped Ronn to specify the level of cost and complexity that was appropriate for his business.

Simultaneously, these continual refinements of the initial plan helped guide the project team toward the right balance of feasibility, viability, and desirability. Over the course of about twelve weeks, this well-crafted brief led to a staggering product concepts, more than 60 prototypes, and 3 ideas that advanced to development. One of them—Mr. Clean Magic Reach, a multifunctional tool that met every one of the stated criteria—went into production eighteen months later.

The message here is that design thinking needs to be practiced on both sides of the table: Even in the more traditional design fields of industrial and graphic design, not to say architecture, teams have been the norm for years. An automobile company has dozens of designers working on each new model. A new building may involve hundreds of architects. As design begins to tackle a wider range of problems—and to move upstream in the innovation process—the lone designer, sitting alone in a studio and meditating upon the relation between form and function, has yielded to the interdisciplinary team.

Although we will never, I hope, lose respect for the designer as inspired form giver, it is common now to see designers working with psychologists and ethnographers, engineers and scientists, marketing and business experts, writers and filmmakers.

All of these disciplines, and many more, have long contributed to the development of new products and services, but today we are bringing them together within the same team, in the same space, and using the same processes. We ask people not simply to offer expert advice on materials, behaviors, or software but to be active in each of the spaces of innovation: Staffing a project with people from diverse backgrounds and a multiplicity of disciplines takes some patience, however.

It requires us to identify individuals who are confident enough of their expertise that they are willing to go beyond it. On the vertical axis, every member of the team needs to possess a depth of skill that allows him or her to make tangible contributions to the outcome. This competence—whether in the computer lab, in the machine shop, or out in the field—is difficult to acquire but easy to spot. But that is not enough.

They may play a valuable role, but they are destined to live in the downstream world of design execution. A creative organization is constantly on the lookout for people with the capacity and—just as important—the disposition for collaboration across disciplines.

In a multidisciplinary team each individual becomes an advocate for his or her own technical specialty and the project becomes a protracted negotiation among them, likely resulting in a gray compromise.

In an interdisciplinary team there is collective ownership of ideas and everybody takes responsibility for them. Design thinking, by contrast, seeks to liberate it.

When a team of talented, optimistic, and collaborative design thinkers comes together, a chemical change occurs that can lead to unpredictable actions and reactions. To reach this point, however, we have learned that we must channel this energy productively, and one way to achieve this is to do away with one large team in favor of many small ones. Though it is not uncommon to see large creative teams at work, it is nearly always in the implementation phase of the project; the inspiration phase, by contrast, requires a small, focused group whose job is to establish the overall framework.

By the time the project neared completion, his team had grown to thirty or forty. The same can be said of any major architectural project, software project, or entertainment project. Look at the credits on your next movie rental, and check out the preproduction phase. There will invariably be a small team consisting of director, writer, producer, and production designer who have developed the basic concept. As long as the objective is simple and limited, this approach works. Faced with more complex problems, we may be tempted to increase the size of the core team early on, but more often than not this leads to a dramatic reduction in speed and efficiency as communications within the team begin to take up more time than the creative process itself.

Are there alternatives? Is it possible to preserve the effectiveness of small teams while tackling more complex, system-level problems? It is increasingly clear that new technology—properly designed and wisely deployed—can help leverage the power of small teams. The promise of electronic collaboration should not be to create dispersed but ever-bigger teams; this tendency merely compounds the political and bureaucratic problems we are trying to solve.

Rather, our goal should be to create interdependent networks of small teams as has been done by the online innovation exchange Innocentive. The Internet, in other words, characterized by dispersed, decentralized, mutually reinforcing networks, is not so much the means as the model of the new forms of organization taking shape.

Because it is open-sourced and open-ended, it allows the energy of many small teams to be brought to bear on the same problem. Progressive companies are now grappling with a second, related problem. This challenge is difficult enough when a group is physically in the same place, but it becomes far more challenging when critical input is required from partners dispersed around the globe.

Much effort has gone into the problem of remote collaboration. Videoconferencing, although invented in the s, became widespread once digital telephony networks became technically feasible in the s. Only recently has it begun to show signs of taking hold as an effective medium of remote collaboration.

Pdf design change by

E-mail has done little to support collective teamwork. The Internet helps move information around but has done little to bring people together. Creative teams need to be able to share their thoughts not only verbally but visually and physically as well. I am not at my best writing memos. Instead, put me in a room where somebody is sketching on a whiteboard, a couple of others are writing notes on Post-its or sticking Polaroid photos on the wall, and somebody is sitting on the floor putting together a quick prototype.

change-by-design-brown-e (1).pdf

So far, efforts to innovate around the topic of remote groups have suffered from a lack of understanding about what motivates creative teams and supports group collaboration. Too much has been focused on mechanical tasks such as storing and sharing data or running a structured meeting and not enough on the far messier tasks of generating ideas and building a consensus around them. Recently, however, there have been promising signs of change.

No economic model could have predicted the success of MySpace and Facebook. Numerous smaller-scale tools are already available. This capability is important because good ideas rarely come on schedule and may wither and die in the interludes between weekly meetings.

Instant messaging, blogs, and wikis all allow teams to publish and share insights and ideas in new ways—with the advantage that an expensive IT support team is not necessary as long as someone on the team has a family member in junior high school. After all, none of these tools existed a decade ago the Internet itself, as the technovisionary Kevin Kelly has remarked, is fewer than five thousand days old!

All are leading to new experiments in collaboration and hence to new insights into the interactions of teams. Anyone who is serious about design thinking across an organization will encourage them. Pixar has beach huts.

To be creative, a place does not have to be crazy, kooky, and located in northern California. It does little good to identify the brightest T-shaped people around, assemble them in interdisciplinary teams, and network them to other teams if they are forced to work in an environment that dooms their efforts from the start. The physical and psychological spaces of an organization work in tandem to define the effectiveness of the people within it.

A culture that believes that it is better to ask forgiveness afterward rather than permission before, that rewards people for success but gives them permission to fail, has removed one of the main obstacles to the formation of new ideas. Relaxing the rules is not about letting people be silly so much as letting them be whole people—a step many companies seem reluctant to take.

Indeed, the fragmentation of individual employees is often just a reflection of the fragmentation of the organization itself. Although they may have a merry time off in their studios, this isolation quarantines them and undermines the creative efforts of the organization from opposite angles: Would the U.

To address this she created Platypus, the code name for a twelve-week experiment in which participants from across the organization were invited to relocate to an alternative space with the objective of creating new and out-of-the-box product ideas.

The only requirement was that they commit themselves full-time to Platypus for three months. By the end they were ready to pitch their ideas to management. Ross regularly brought new teams together and put them into an environment designed to let people experiment in ways they had never been able to in their normal jobs. As she predicted, many Platypus graduates went back to their respective departments determined to use the practices and ideas they had learned.

They found, however, that the culture of efficiency to which they returned invariably made that difficult. More than a few became frustrated. Some ultimately left the company. Clearly, it is not enough to inject selected people into a specialized environment designed for skunks, platypi, or other risk-taking creatures.

The theory of Clay Street is that a division—Hair Care or Pet Care, for example—funds and staffs each project, and teams that create particularly strong ideas are encouraged to shepherd them through execution and launch. This was the hothouse environment in which the dated Herbal Essences brand was transformed into a fresh, successful new range of products.

The people who have experienced Clay Street return to their departments with new skills and new ideas that they can apply with the full permission of the company. In a culture of meetings and milestones, it can be difficult to support the exploratory and iterative processes that are at the heart of the creative process.

Happily, there are tangible things we can do to ensure that facilities do what they are supposed to do: In one room a group will be thinking about the future of the credit card; next to it a team is working on a device to prevent deep-vein thrombosis among hospital patients, and another planning a clean water distribution system for rural India for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The project spaces are large enough that the accumulated research materials, photos, storyboards, concepts, and prototypes can be out and available all of the time.

The simultaneous visibility of these project materials helps us identify patterns and encourages creative synthesis to occur much more readily than when these resources are hidden away in file folders, notebooks, or PowerPoint decks. A well-curated project space, augmented by a project Web site or wiki to help keep team members in touch when they are out in the field, can significantly improve the productivity of a team by supporting better collaboration among its members and better communication with outside partners and clients.

So integral are these project spaces to our creative process that we have exported them, whenever possible, to our clients. Steelcase has built its Learning Center in Grand Rapids, a corporate education facility that doubles as a design thinking space. These ideas have even made their way into the precincts of higher education. Because of the inherently tentative and experimental nature of design thinking, flexibility is a key element of its success.

As Dilbert has shown, regulation-size spaces tend to produce regulation-size ideas. There is an important lesson here about the challenges of shifting from a culture of hierarchy and efficiency to one of risk taking and exploration. They will show up early and stay late because of the enormous satisfaction they get from giving form to new ideas and putting them out into the world.

Change by Design.pdf

Once they have experienced this feeling, few people will be willing to give it up. My argument is that these skills now need to be dispersed throughout organizations. Design is now too important to be left to designers. It may be perplexing for those with hard-won design degrees to imagine a role for themselves beyond the studio, just as managers may find it strange to be asked to think like designers. But this should be seen as the inevitable result of a field that has come of age.

The problems that challenged designers in the twentieth century—crafting a new object, creating a new logo, putting a scary bit of technology into a pleasing or at least innocuous box—are simply not the problems that will define the twenty-first. Just as I am challenging companies to incorporate design into their organizational DNA, however, I want to challenge designers to continue the transformation of design practice itself. There will always be a place in our dizzying world for the artist, the craftsman, and the lone inventor, but the seismic shifts taking place in every industry demand a new design practice: The next generation of designers will need to be as comfortable in the boardroom as they are in the studio or the shop, and they will need to begin looking at every problem—from adult illiteracy to global warming—as a design problem.

The software engineers who labored over the interface would have probably resorted to the standard lament: The Prius? MTV and eBay? We need to learn to put people first. The basic problem is that people are so ingenious at adapting to inconvenient situations that they are often not even aware that they are doing so: The tools of conventional market research can be useful in pointing toward incremental improvements, but they will never lead to those rule-breaking, game-changing, paradigm-shifting breakthroughs that leave us scratching our heads and wondering why nobody ever thought of them before.

By design pdf change

It is helping people to articulate the latent needs they may not even know they have, and this is the challenge of design thinkers. How should we approach it? What tools do we have that can lead us from modest incremental changes to the leaps of insight that will redraw the map?

A better starting point is to go out into the world and observe the actual experiences of commuters, skateboarders, and registered nurses as they improvise their way through their daily lives. Rarely will the everyday people who are the consumers of our products, the customers for our services, the occupants of our buildings, or the users of our digital interfaces be able to tell us what to do.

Their actual behaviors, however, can provide us with invaluable clues about their range of unmet needs. Design is a fundamentally creative endeavor, but I do not mean this in an arcane or romantic sense. In an analytical paradigm, we simply solve for the missing number though anyone who struggled, as I did, through high school algebra knows how daunting this can be!

In a design paradigm, however, the solution is not locked away somewhere waiting to be discovered but lies in the creative work of the team. The creative process generates ideas and concepts that have not existed before.

The insight phase that helps to launch a project is therefore every bit as critical as the engineering that comes later, and we must take it from wherever we can find it. The evolution from design to design thinking is the story of the evolution from the creation of products to the analysis of the relationship between people and products, and from there to the relationship between people and people.

Indeed, a striking development of recent years has been the migration of designers toward social and behavioral problems, such as adhering to a drug regimen or shifting from junk food to healthy snacking. When the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention approached IDEO with the challenge of addressing the epidemic of obesity among children and teens, we seized the opportunity to apply these qualitative research practices to a problem where we might have real social impact.

It was inspiring to design thinkers, however, on different grounds. Because she flourished on the margins of the bell curve, she was in a position to help the design team frame the problem in a new and insightful way. To begin with the assumption that all fat people want to be thin, that weight is inversely proportional to happiness, or that large size implies lack of discipline is to prejudge the problem.

The single example of Jennifer Portnick gave the project team more insight into the problem of youth obesity than reams of statistics. Although grocery store shoppers, office workers, and schoolchildren are not the ones who will write us a check at the end of a project, they are our ultimate clients. The only way we can get to know them is to seek them out where they live, work, and play.

Accordingly, almost every project we undertake involves an intensive period of observation. We watch what people do and do not do and listen to what they say and do not say. This takes some practice. There is nothing simple about determining whom to observe, what research techniques to employ, how to draw useful inferences from the information gathered, or when to begin the process of synthesis that begins to point us toward a solution.

As any anthropologist will attest, observation relies on quality, not quantity. The decisions one makes can dramatically affect the results one gets. By concentrating solely on the bulge at the center of the bell curve, however, we are more likely to confirm what we already know than learn something new and surprising. Hanging out with obsessives, compulsives, and other deviants can be unnerving, though it certainly makes life interesting.

A few years ago, when the Swiss company Zyliss engaged IDEO to design a new line of kitchen tools, the team started out by studying children and professional chefs—neither of whom were the intended market for these mainstream products. For that very reason, however, both groups yielded valuable insights.

A seven-year-old girl struggling with a can opener highlighted issues of physical control that adults have learned to disguise. The shortcuts used by a restaurant chef yielded unexpected insights into cleaning because of the exceptional demands he placed on his kitchen tools. As a result, Zyliss whisks, spatulas, and pizza cutters continue to fly off the shelves.

A few economists entered the government after World War I and a trickle of sociologists ventured into the private sector in the wake of World War II, but they were always regarded by their former academic colleagues with misgivings.

Why is a Silicon Valley chip maker interested in sponsoring a bunch of renegade social scientists to study people and practices in eastern Europe or western Africa? Other industry leaders are no less committed to the principle of extracting insights from observations and using them to inspire future product offerings.

Chipchase and his group believe that they have glimpsed the future in phenomena ranging from the morning bicycle commute across Ho Chi Minh City to the items people carry in Helsinki, Seoul, and Rio de Janeiro to the sharing of cell phones in Kampala, Uganda. Such work is fundamentally different from trendspotting, coolhunting, and seasonal market research. There are professional affinities between academic social scientists and those who work in industry—they hold the same degrees, read the same journals, and attend the same conferences—but there are also differences.

Academics are typically motivated by a scientific objective, whereas researchers such as Bezaitis and Chipchase are more attuned to the long-term practical implications of their findings.

The next stage along this continuum is represented by a new breed of ethnographer who works within the compressed time frame of a project. In contrast to the isolated theorizing of individual academics or the clustering of social scientists in the research units of Intel or Nokia, these people work best when they are integrated into cross-disciplinary project teams that may include designers, engineers, and marketers.

Their shared experiences will become essential sources of idea generation throughout the life of the project. I have had many opportunities to observe this model of ethnographic practice among my colleagues at IDEO. In a project for an NGO called The Community Builders, the largest nonprofit developer of low- and mixed-income public housing in the United States, we assembled a team consisting of an anthropologist, an architect, and a human factors specialist.

Together they interviewed builders, planners, and municipal authorities, and local entrepreneurs and service providers, but did not stop there. The real insights happened when the team arranged to stay overnight with three families at different income levels and with different life trajectories who lived in Park Duvalle, a mixed-income community in Kentucky. This approach became even more salient on a subsequent project in which the team was trying to develop a tool kit to help NGOs implement human-centered design to meet the needs of subsistence farmers in Africa and Asia.

Over time they were able to build a level of trust among people who might have been justifiably wary of visiting anthropologists or aid officials arriving in shiny SUVs, and this led in turn to a climate of honesty, empathy, and mutual respect.

We thought nothing of putting a pocket-size notebook into the hands of Alan G. Lafley is famous for his impatience with CEOs who are content to peer down upon the world from the executive suite or from the smoked-glass windows of a corporate limousine and for his willingness to venture out into the places where his customers live, work, and shop.

In the course of a project on emergency room care, undertaken with the Institute for Healthcare Improvement and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, a member of the IHI group reported on his experience at the Indianapolis A smoking racecar pulled into a pit stop where a precision team of trained professionals, with state-of-the-art tools at the ready, assessed the situation and performed all the necessary repairs within seconds.

Change a few words around, and you have an accurate description of a hospital trauma center. The mission of design thinking is to translate observations into insights and insights into products and services that will improve lives. Empathy is the mental habit that moves us beyond thinking of people as laboratory rats or standard deviations. The computer mouse developed at Xerox PARC in the s was an intricate technical apparatus invented by engineers and intended for engineers.

To them it made perfect sense that it should be taken apart and cleaned at the end of the day. A designer, no less than an engineer or marketing executive, who simply generalizes from his own standards and expectations will limit the field of opportunity.

A thirty-year-old man does not have the same life experiences as a sixty-year-old woman. An affluent Californian has little in common with a tenant farmer living on the outskirts of Nairobi. A talented, conscientious industrial designer, settling down at her desk after an invigorating ride on her mountain bike, may be ill prepared to design a simple kitchen gadget for her grandmother who is suffering from rheumatoid arthritis.

We build these bridges of insight through empathy, the effort to see the world through the eyes of others, understand the world through their experiences, and feel the world through their emotions. We challenged ourselves by starting with what is perhaps the most demanding of all hospital environments: Drawing upon his highly specialized expertise in the ethnographic study of technology and complex systems, Kristian Simsarian, one of the core team members, set out to capture the patient experience.

What better way to do so than to check into the hospital and go through the emergency room experience, from admission to examination, as if he were a patient? Feigning a foot injury, Kristian placed himself into the shoes—and in fact, onto the gurney—of the average emergency room patient. He saw firsthand how disorienting the check-in process could be.

He experienced the frustration of being asked to wait, without ever being told what he was waiting for or why. He endured the anxiety of being wheeled by an unidentified staffer down an anonymous corridor through a pair of intimidating double doors and into the glare and the din of the emergency room.

We have all had those kinds of first-person, first-time experiences—buying our first car, stepping out of the airport in a city we have never visited, evaluating assisted living facilities for an aging parent. In these situations we look at everything with a much higher level of acuity because nothing is familiar and we have not fallen into the routines that make daily life manageable.

When Kristian returned from his undercover mission, the team reviewed the unedited video and spotted numerous opportunities for improving the patient experience. But there was a larger discovery. As they sat through minute after tedious minute of acoustic ceiling tiles, look-alike hallways, and featureless waiting areas, it became increasingly evident that these details, not the efficiency of the staff or the quality of the facilities, were key to the new story they wanted to tell. It triggered in each of them the mix of boredom and anxiety that comes with being in a situation in which one feels lost, uninformed, and not in control.

The team realized that two competing narratives were in play: The patient experienced it as a stressful situation made worse. From this set of observations the team concluded that the hospital needed to balance its legitimate concerns with medical and administrative tasks with an empathic concern for the human side of the equation.

At the most obvious level, we learned about his physical environment: We may infer that the emergency room facilities—not unreasonably, perhaps—are designed around the requirements of the professional staff rather than the comfort of the patient.

Insights lead to new insights as seemingly insignificant physical details accumulate. A second layer of understanding is less physical than cognitive. By experiencing the patient journey firsthand, the team gained important clues that might help it to translate insight into opportunity. How does a patient make sense out of the situation?

How do new arrivals navigate the physical and social space? What are they likely to find confusing? These questions are essential to identifying what we call latent needs, needs that may be acute but that people may not be able to articulate. By achieving a state of empathy with anxious patients checking into an emergency room or weary travelers checking into a Marriott hotel or frustrated passengers checking in at an Amtrak ticket counter , we can better imagine how the experience might be improved.

Sometimes we use these insights to emphasize the new. At other times it makes sense to do just the opposite, to reference the ordinary and the familiar. Cognitive understanding of the ordinary and the familiar was at work when Tim Mott and Larry Tesler, working on the original graphical user interface at Xerox PARC in the s, proposed the metaphor of the desktop. This concept helped move the computer from a forbidding new technology of value only to scientists to a tool that could be applied to office and even household tasks.

It was still in evidence three decades later, when the start-up Juniper Financial asked IDEO to help it think about whether banks still needed buildings, vaults, and tellers. In approaching the uncharted territory of online banking, we began by trying to get a better understanding of how people thought about their money. Beginning from cognitive experiments like these, the team of researchers, strategists, and designers developed a subtle market analysis that helped Juniper refine its target market and build an effective service in the emerging world of online banking.

A third layer—beyond the functional and the cognitive—comes into play when we begin working with ideas that matter to people at an emotional level. Emotional understanding becomes essential here. What do the people in your target population feel? What touches them? What motivates them?

The Palm Pilot was an indisputably clever invention, and it has, deservedly, won widespread acclaim. Jeff Hawkins, its creator, began with the insight that the competition for a small, mobile device was not the omnifunctional laptop computer but the simple paper diary that many of us still slip into and out of our shirt pockets or purses a hundred times a day.

When he began to work on the Palm in the mids, Jeff decided to buck the conventional wisdom and create a product that did less than was technically possible. Better to do a few things well, so long as they were the right things: The first version of the Palm PDA was a hit among tech-savvy early adopters, but there was nothing about its chunky gray plastic form that fired the imaginations of the larger public.

In search of this elusive quality, Jeff teamed up with Dennis Boyle at IDEO, and together they began to work on a redesign that would appeal not just at a functional but also at an emotional level. Second, it was to have a feel that was sleek, elegant, and sophisticated.

The team sought out an aluminum-stamping technique used by Japanese camera manufacturers and found a rechargeable power supply that even the battery suppliers doubted would work.

The added development was worth the effort. The Palm V went on sale in , and sales rocketed to more than 6 million. It opened up the market for the handheld PDA not because of a lower price point, added functionality, or technical innovation. The elegant Palm V did everything it promised to do, but its sophisticated look and professional feel appealed, at an emotional level, to a whole new set of consumers. But even empathy for the individual, as it turns out, is not sufficient. It rarely extends to how groups interact with one another.

Design thinkers have upped the ante, beginning with the premise that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. With the growth of the Internet, it has become clear that we must extend our understanding to the social interactions of people within groups and to the interactions among groups themselves.

Almost any Web-based service—from social networking sites to mobile phone offerings to the vast world of online gaming—requires an understanding of the dynamic interactions within and between larger groups. What are people trying to achieve as individuals?

And how does membership in an online community affect the behavior of individuals once they return to the prosaic world of atoms, proteins, and bricks? It is hard to imagine creating anything today without trying to gain an understanding of group effects.

Even a chair. Only then does it make sense to begin thinking about desks, storage units, and ergonomic chairs. We may use similar approaches when we are designing systems to facilitate knowledge sharing within and between offices. Simply asking people to recount how they spend their time or with whom they regularly communicate can result in skewed information. Tools such as video ethnography in which cameras record group behavior over time and computer interaction analysis help gather more accurate data about the dynamic interactions among people and groups.

This reality puts yet another dent in the idealized image of the designer as the source of professional expertise that can be taught in school, honed in professional practice, and exported universally to anyone in need of a better desk lamp or digital camera.

Spending time to understand a culture can open up new innovation opportunities. This may help us to discover universal solutions that have relevance beyond our own culture, but they will always have their origins in empathy.

The movement from insight to observation to empathy leads us, finally, to the most intriguing question of them all: The designer must not be imagined as an intrepid anthropologist, venturing into an alien culture to observe the natives with the utmost objectivity. Instead we need to invent a new and radical form of collaboration that blurs the boundaries between creators and consumers. Now we must migrate toward ever-deeper collaboration not just among members of a design team but between the team and the audience it is trying to reach.

We are in the midst of a significant change in how we think about the role of consumers in the process of design and development. In the early years, companies would dream up new products and enlist armies of marketing experts and advertising professionals to sell them to people—often by exploiting their fears and vanities. Slowly this began to yield to a more nuanced approach that involved reaching out to people, observing their lives and experiences, and using those insights to inspire new ideas.

My colleague Jane Fulton Suri has even begun to explore the next stage in the evolution of design as it migrates from designers creating for people to designers creating with people to people creating by themselves through the application of user-generated content and open-source innovation.

Mozilla, with its Firefox Web browser, is one of the few companies to have been able to build a significant brand using an open-source approach. These limitations do not mean that user-generated content is not interesting or that it may not become the Next Big Thing to roil out of the innovation cauldron. It has been argued that user- generated content is leading to far greater engagement and participation in the world of music than we ever saw during the top-down reign of mass media.

Perhaps, but even the most zealous advocates of open-source design will admit that it has not produced its Mozart, John Lennon, or Miles Davis. Not yet, at any rate. For the moment, the greatest opportunity lies in the middle space between the twentieth-century idea that companies created new products and customers passively consumed them and the futuristic vision in which consumers will design everything they need for themselves. What lies in the middle is an enhanced level of collaboration between creators and consumers, a blurring of the boundaries at the level of both companies and individuals.

We see evidence of innovative strategies meant to enhance the collaboration between creators and consumers everywhere. In industries more geared to the youth culture—video games, sports apparel—it is now quite common for developers to work with tech-savvy youths at every stage of the development process from concept development to testing.

Needless to say, this group proved to be extremely articulate about the emotional connections among shoes, feet, and the human condition. By the time we released them back into the San Francisco demimonde they had inspired an exciting portfolio of ideas. One autumn day in the industrial designer Raymond Loewy was visited in his office by George Washington Hill, the president of the American Tobacco Company and one of the more colorful personalities in American business history.

That insight cannot yet be codified, quantified, or even defined—not yet, at any rate—makes it the most difficult but also the most exciting part of the design process. There is no algorithm that can tell us where it will come from and when it will hit.

But be forewarned: Those of us who have spent long years at design school still find it hard to shake off dearly held assumptions about how to get things done. People from more methodical backgrounds may fear that the risks are too high and the margin of error is perilously slim. Though there is no real substitute for actually doing it, I can impart a fair sense of the experience of design thinking —some navigational landmarks, perhaps, if not a complete road map. In chapter 1, I introduced the idea that a design team should expect to move through three overlapping spaces over the course of a project: Insights rarely arrive on schedule, and opportunities must be seized at whatever inconvenient time they present themselves.

Every design process cycles through foggy periods of seemingly unstructured experimentation and bursts of intense clarity, periods of grappling with the Big Idea and long stretches during which all attention focuses on the details. One of our more jaded designers even devised a project mood chart that pretty accurately predicts how the team will feel at different phases of the project: When a fresh team ventures out into the field to collect information, it is full of optimism.

The process of synthesis—the ordering of data and the search for patterns—can be frustrating as important decisions seem to ride on the most insubstantial of hunches. But then things begin to pick up. The ideation process becomes more tangible, and new concepts begin to take shape. The process peaks when the team begins to produce prototypes. Eventually, once the right idea has been agreed upon, the project team settles down to a state of pragmatic optimism punctuated by moments of extreme panic.

The scary bits never completely go away, but the experienced design thinker knows what to expect and is not undone by the occasional emotional slump. Design thinking is rarely a graceful leap from height to height; it tests our emotional constitution and challenges our collaborative skills, but it can reward perseverance with spectacular results.

Each has its own moods and manners, but when the music suddenly starts it can be difficult to recognize where we are in the process and which is the right foot to put forward. The best guide, in launching a new design project, is sometimes just to choose the right partner, clear the dance floor, and trust our intuition.

At times we may find that the best—as opposed to the right—answer will have to do or that we may have to choose among equally compelling alternatives. Just think about the last time you and five friends had to agree on where to go out for dinner.

Group thinking tends to converge toward a single outcome. Convergent thinking is a practical way of deciding among existing alternatives. What convergent thinking is not so good at, however, is probing the future and creating new possibilities.

Think of a funnel, where the flared opening represents a broad set of initial possibilities and the small spout represents the narrowly convergent solution. This is clearly the most efficient way to fill up a test tube or drive toward a set of fine-grained solutions.

If the convergent phase of problem solving is what drives us toward solutions, the objective of divergent thinking is to multiply options to create choices. These might be different insights into consumer behavior, alternative visions of new product offerings, or choices among alternative ways of creating interactive experiences.

By testing competing ideas against one another, there is an increased likelihood that the outcome will be bolder, more creatively disruptive, and more compelling.

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Linus Pauling said it best: But we also need to be realistic. More choices means more complexity, which can make life difficult—especially for those whose job it is to control budgets and monitor timelines.

The natural tendency of most companies is to constrain problems and restrict choices in favor of the obvious and the incremental. Though this tendency may be more efficient in the short run, in the long run it tends to make an organization conservative, inflexible, and vulnerable to game-changing ideas from outside. Divergent thinking is the route, not the obstacle, to innovation. The point, then, is not that we must all become right-brain artists practicing divergent thinking and hoping for the best; there is a good reason why design education draws in equal measure upon art and engineering.

The process of the design thinker, rather, looks like a rhythmic exchange between the divergent and convergent phases, with each subsequent iteration less broad and more detailed than the previous ones. In the divergent phase, new options emerge. In the convergent phase it is just the reverse: It can be painful to let a once- promising idea fall away, and this is where the diplomatic skills of project leaders are often tested.

Without analytical forms of thinking we could not run large corporations or manage household budgets. Designers, too, whether they are looking at signage for a sports stadium or alternatives to carcinogenic PVCs, use analytical tools to break apart complex problems to understand them better. Once the data have been gathered, it is necessary to sift through it all and identify meaningful patterns. Analysis and synthesis are equally important, and each plays an essential role in the process of creating options and making choices.

Designers carry out research in many ways: They can be found jotting notes, taking pictures, shooting videos, recording conversations, and sitting on airplanes. They are, hopefully, looking at the competition. Fact collecting and data gathering lead to an accumulation of information that can be staggering. But then what? At some point the team must settle down and in an intense period of synthesis—sometimes over the course of a few hours, sometimes over a week or more—begin to organize, interpret, and weave these many strands of data into a coherent story.

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Synthesis, the act of extracting meaningful patterns from masses of raw information, is a fundamentally creative act; the data are just that—data—and the facts never speak for themselves. Sometimes the data are highly technical—if the task is a sophisticated piece of medical equipment, for instance; in other cases they may be purely behavioral, for example, if the problem is to encourage people to switch to energy-saving compact fluorescent bulbs.

In every case we may think of the designer as a master storyteller whose skill is measured by his or her ability to craft a compelling, consistent, and believable narrative. It is far from unusual for a project brief to contain seemingly conflicting goals— low cost and high quality, to use an obvious example, or an accelerated time frame together with an interest in an unproven technology.

There may be a tendency, under such circumstances, to simplify the process and reduce it to a set of specifications or a list of features. To do so is almost invariably to compromise the integrity of the product on the altar of convenience. These are the seeds of design thinking—a continuous movement between divergent and convergent processes, on the one hand, and between the analytical and synthetic, on the other.

But that is by no means the end of the story. As any gardener will attest, the hardiest seeds, cast into rocky or barren soil, will wither. The ground needs to be prepared.

Attention must be shifted upward, from teams and individuals to companies. We might think of this as moving from the organization of design to the design of organizations. From their legendary office at Washington Boulevard in Venice, California, the Eameses and their associates conducted a series of design experiments that stretched across four decades and covered every imaginable medium: Not always visible in the finished projects, however, is the methodical experimentation that lay behind them.

The lesson? Individuals, teams, and organizations that have mastered the mental matrix of design thinking share a basic attitude of experimentation. They are open to new possibilities, alert to new directions, and always willing to propose new solutions. Following a hunch, he ignored an explicit corporate directive and set up an under-the-radar skunkworks to develop a large-screen CRT.

Things have changed. He now runs Media X at Stanford University, a collaboration of industry and academia that brings together interactive technology researchers with companies committed to technical advancement and innovation. Today companies like Google and 3M are renowned for encouraging scientists and engineers to spend up to 20 percent of their time on personal experiments.

A tolerance for risk taking has as much to do with the culture of an organization as with its business strategy. Some would argue that a climate of open-ended exploration encourages a profligate waste of resources: The bewildering variety at work in a healthy ecosystem is nothing but an exercise in sustained experimentation—try something new, and see what sticks.

It may well be that we need to begin mimicking nature not just at the molecular level but at the systemic level of companies and organizations. The rules for this approach are as simple to state as they are challenging to apply: The best ideas emerge when the whole organizational ecosystem—not just its designers and engineers and certainly not just management—has room to experiment. Those most exposed to changing externalities new technology, shifting consumer base, strategic threats or opportunities are the ones best placed to respond and most motivated to do so.

Ideas should not be favored based on who creates them. Repeat aloud. Ideas that create a buzz should be favored.

Indeed, ideas should gain a vocal following, however small, before being given organizational support. These rules apply to almost every field of innovation. Together they ensure that the seeds of individual creativity take root—even in the aisles of a grocery store.

John Mackey, the CEO of Whole Foods Market, has applied this idea of bottom-up experimentation to his business since its founding, in Each store may have its own unique regional and even neighborhood identity. Managers are encouraged to share the best ideas so that they propagate outward across the company rather than remaining localized.

None of this may sound all that revolutionary, but what Mackey has done since the earliest days of the company—he started with a single grocery store in Austin, Texas, and a total workforce of nineteen —is to make sure that every employee understands, appreciates, and has the ability to contribute to the overall vision of the company. These ideas act as navigational beacons for the localized innovations taking place throughout the organization.

Some companies provide suggestion boxes intended to harvest the bottom-up creativity of the organization.