Adopting the Simulation Mindset in Design

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.

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