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It is the ability to identify patterns of insights and “connect the dots” in a meaningful way.
Bruce Nussbaum, in a blog post: 3 Paths Toward A More Creative Life, calls it “Pattern Sight”.
Pattern sight requires you to master the skill of looking for what should and shouldn’t be there. It’s the ability not only to see the rare “odd duck” but to routinely look for that duck and see it…It takes time to learn patterns of information, which is why you need to spend a lot of time “in the field.”
We call that “experience,” and you’ve seen that whenever you’re in a situation with someone who just “knows” what’s coming next without being able to explain it. That person is reading the patterns. This mastery is not about fresh eyes but wise eyes.
Many people use Design Thinking as a methodology for problem solving, innovation, or just figuring out what to do next. The key ingredient to arriving to the best solutions comes from identifying these patterns.
This is also the key reason why you cannot completely learn Design Thinking through, for example, a 3 day program or even one that is a week or more. We know, because we have been teaching it for years.
Most DT training programs will perhaps, at best, give you an introduction to Design Thinking and its value. However getting it done right requires experience, experience that stems from years of deliberate practice in identifying such patterns and applying it positively.
I like to expand this skill to also include the (overlapping) ability to reframe problems and situations. Many people look at reframing as simply turning negative to positive, or going from “left” to “right”. It’s a lot more.
This quote sums it up nicely and also my blog post today. Have a great week ahead!
Thus the task is not so much to see what no one yet has seen, but to think what nobody yet has thought about that which everybody sees.
-Arthur Schopenhauer, 1788-1860
Tom Fishburne shares a pretty funny comic on how to give and receive feedback. While this is from a Marketing standpoint, we can (as designers) also learn from this.
For us in the creative industry, getting buy-in to our ideas or concepts is paramount. I’ve personally have experienced every one of this feedback. Sometimes delivered in a rather unpleasant manner. As Designers and Design Thinkers, we have to seek creative ways to deal with such feedback that goes beyond just doing good work.
Often this includes being vigilant with meeting minutes or what agencies call “client contact reports”, identifying roles and responsibilities very early in the project, ensuring you understand the needs of all direct and indirect stakeholders and finally building a good rapport with your client to tease all of this information out.
This is a really nice and timely reminder to all, including myself.
One of the key activities in Design Thinking is doing design. Hence the irony that Design Thinking actually involves design doing. Not exactly in what designers do, but brainstorming solutions, prototyping them, learning and validating, iterating and improving. Rinse and repeat.
I like to use the analogy of simulating and experimenting during Chemistry lab to describe the Design activity in our workshops. For example the experiment of splitting “H” and “O” from H2O. I could never get my test tube with the Hydrogen to pop in my first go. I would need to try the process a few times before I get it right.
I found it therefore interesting when Ken Rosen explains (perhaps oversimplifying) how the differences of the Airbus A380 and the Boeing 787 could have been better determined through a simulation mindset.
Start a simulation mindset for major strategic decisions. Determine the minimum viable model you can use to represent your situation. Use that model to create a game, discussion, or workshop. Play.
That is Design Thinking at its best. Applied holistically to simulate scenarios of the hardest problems through the eyes of your stakeholders. Use a sketch, lego blocks, a game, full-size spatial mockups, anything that will give you a “quick and dirty” way to get real quick. With a little effort, you can learn so much about the wicked problems you are trying to solve.
Design Sojourn is an exciting strategic design consultancy passionate in helping our clients leverage on Design Led Innovation to make people’s lives better.
We have openings for Designers or Design Researchers with a strong background in Ethnographic Design Research.
Designer or Senior Designer
– Background in design from any discipline. Degree or diploma accepted.
– At least 5+ years or 8+ years (Senior) with relevant experience.
– Possesses a strong portfolio of projects underpinned by ethnographic research.
– Exhibits a good command of the technical design skills such as sketching, illustration, rendering, 3D CAD (optional) etc. in any combination.
– Please send an introduction of yourself via our contact page. Links to an online CV and/or online portfolio are highly recommended. Shortlisted candidates will be notified by email.
– Unfortunately due to local employment laws, we can only accept applications from Singaporeans and PRs. This role is based in Singapore.
We look forward to your wonderful introductions!