How to tell if design thinking has taken hold in your organisation

I am now on the fifth week of my Design Thinking course being run online by Dr Jeanne Liedtka. She summed up with some great advice for implementing design thinking:

  1. Pick the right challenge. Figure out who in the organisation cares about the problem you are thinking about. Pick a problem with urgency behind it. Frame your goals so they gel with what the organisation cares about.
  2. Think small. It’s easier to start small and scale over time that start big and risk a big failure
  3. Select and manage your team carefully. Diversity is the key. What you are after is collective wisdom and the more points of view you have, the better. You need all kinds of people – you need starters and you need finishers. 
  4. Manage your momentum. Speed is the number one momentum builder. Momentum runs on emotional highs. Speed doesn’t mean rushing a solution to the market before it is ready. What you are after is speed of learning – shortening the cycle times. 
  5. Be ready to ride the roller coaster of emotion (see above)
After all that, how can you tell if you have succeeded in creating a successful design thinking organisation? This was her answer…..
How to tell in design thinking has taken hold in your organisation
People talking about envisioning new possibilities together
Still debating their individual recommendations
Listening to understand other people’s perspectives and build on them
Listening for weaknesses in their opponents’ arguments
Sharing deep primary data gathered from those they wish to serve and mining this for new insights together
Compiling web-based surveys that reveal only superficial attitudes and opinions
Spending time in meetings figuring out how to start small and learn as they go
Trying to create the perfect plan before any action can be taken
Talking about designing marketplace experiments
Arguing theory in conference rooms
Actively searching for disconfirming data
Latching on to whatever data points supports their point of view

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