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Is this the End of Windows?

Great article by Benedict Evans who shares a lot of good information on why Microsoft is going to die.

The apps that people want on smartphones are not being written for desktop Windows anyway. Uber doesn’t have a desktop Windows app, and neither does Instacart, Pinterest or Instagram. The apps and services that consumers care about are either smartphone-only or address the desktop using the web, with only partial exceptions for the enterprise. You can’t tempt developers to support Windows Phone by saying ‘it’s easy to deploy your desktop app to mobile’ if there is no desktop app. So Windows is not a point of leverage for Microsoft in mobile. Neither was Office. Few people really want to edit an Office document on a phone – a viewer is normally enough. And as Blackberry also discovered, enterprise support is not enough if the broader phone experience is sub-par. As Apple has added enterprise features, the appeal of Windows Phone has fallen away there too.

This is an unfortunate result of “Legacy Thinking”. After being entrenched with their Windows platform for the longest time, it is time that Microsoft slaughters their last “sacred cow” if they really want to reinvent their business in the age of the Smartphone.

A soon to be fantastic case study on how large organisations should (or should not) innovate.

Via: Microsoft, Capitulation and The End of Windows Everywhere

The Most Important Skill All Design Thinkers Must Have

Connecting the Dots
Photo Source: Flickr

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

Dealing with Feedback

150706.creativecritics-550x402

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.

Via: Marketoonist

When is Design Led Innovation Not Right for You?

We always want the best for our clients, so one of our key business tenets is teach our client’s to fish.

You know the old saying, “give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”

By doing what we do, we get out clients started down a sustainable path of innovation through a change in mindset (or culture), focus and process.

However this may not always be the right way.

I could not agree more with Bruce Kasanoff when he says: “When a person is starving, that’s not the time to fill their head with knowledge. The right thing to do is to first give the person a fish – banishing their hunger – and only then teach them to fish.”

In the context of a Design Thinking and innovation program, clients who are struggling with running their business, or are in the “red” should really consider the innovation “promise” carefully.

The human centric and iterative nature of Design Led Innovation naturally reduces risks in brining innovation to market, but due to the struggles he or she may have with the business, he may not have the mindshare to follow the Design Led Innovation activities through to the end.

Following on from our previous article, this is one of the key reasons why Design Led Innovation fails.

When face with such a situation, Design is first used to stabilise the business with ideas that can be easily and safely implemented. Some great examples include improvements to existing services as a result of customer feedback that was long ignored, or removing things from your offerings that people won’t pay for etc.

After that, Design can then be used to innovate by bringing in a longer-term implementation “arc” that would cover the more radical (and harder) solutions.

Implementing Design Thinking 4: It is a Full Time Activity!

This happens all the time.

After a game-changing workshop, where a whole host of innovative ideas underpinned by ethnographic research get plotted on an actionable plan, I call back a few months later to find out that nothing has happened.

“I believe we’ll have to have them full time, or else they’ll get sucked back into their ‘day jobs’. If we are going to make the skunkworks successful, then the participants need to be full time.”

Via: Innovation Management

Innovation requires a mental space to make it happen. What many organizations do instead is to assign the execution of the required changes to executives as something extra to do, something on top of their day job. Innovation then becomes an extra-curricular activity that cannot be prioritized over daily work. Firefighting problems are just too hard to ignore.

If you want results from Design Thinking assign someone to champion this, or anyone that will and can do this full time. Going one better would be to set up an innovation department with a mandate of making “X” number of Design Thinking projects happen in a year.

Implementing Design Thinking is a (not so) regular series of posts, where I share my thoughts and experiences in helping companies implement Design as a tool for business success and achieving Design Leadership. Check out the rest of my articles here.

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