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Design Thinking Project - The Setting

Updated: Jul 4, 2019

After deciding that design thinking is appropriate for your new project, and having agreed about the scope of the project, you and your team finally formulated a Design Brief.

My online programme on the Design Thinking Process offers a step-to-step approach to get you started in using design thinking in your innovation effort.

The good news: you have now completed the three pre-steps of the design process.

There is another necessary part before jumping right into the design process - making plans.

Design Thinking Project Plans

I know that preparing plans doesn’t sound too exciting, this is because you probably refer to conventional business planning, which focuses on implementation, and is very dull.

In a design context, planning has a different meaning - it aims at ensuring your, and your team ability to identify and pursue new possibilities for value creation.

There are three types of plans you have to develop for your Design thinking process:

1) Setting and tools plan

2) Allies plan

3) Research plan

In this post, let’s focus on the first: the setting and tools plan.

What you need to do here is to establish the most appropriate way to collaborate with your team.

Three are three possible settings:

1) Physical setting

2) Remote Setting

3) Hybrid / Mixed setting

Any strategic and design thinking project require a space, either physical or digital, where team members can visualise and share their thoughts.

Visualisation has a pivotal role in fostering a team ability to communicate and exchange ideas.

Sharing a thought not only stimulates your awareness about it but also provides an opportunity for your team to work and build upon it.

As human beings, we need to share our thinking with others; on top of this, a new (business) idea becomes more and more valuable when shared with others as they can interact and refine it.

Ok so, if you avail of a physical room all for your team, happy days, this is a luxury and is frequently more a dream than a reality for many organisations. Also, a limitation of using a physical room is that creative teamwork only happens in this physical space, which is not ideal for distributed teams.

If you and your team don’t avail of a private room or you need to work with a distributed team, I’d suggest considering the remote setting. This is possible thanks to the latest development in technology in the form of applications, E.g. MURAL, enabling visual team collaborations anywhere and anytime.

There is an initial learning curve before a remote team can achieve efficiencies in their creative sessions.

One last setting, which is becoming very common in many organisations is a hybrid or mix between a physical and digital work-space. Each local team works in a physical room and then shares its work with other team members located elsewhere.

Choosing the setting and the method you will use to generate, share and collaborate on new ideas with your team is vital for the success of your design initiative.

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