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.
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.
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.”
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.
Robert Brunner (the man more commonly known as the person who hired Jonathan Ives) has achieved something that I always hope to achieve with the clients I work with.
He has helped a fledging company build an awesome brand and thrive in a competitive market thought the use of great design. Not only that, the brand has since been acquired (with much buzz) by Apple for a mind numbing $3 billion dollars. That company is non-other than the headphones brand Beats by Dr Dre.
Amazed? I was. Now check out the video where he shares insights on how he did it.
Some great one liners like “Technology Enables Design Establishes” or “As Designers we give away our intellectual property too cheaply”, and lots of stuff on the role design plays in today’s business environment. Do enjoy the video as it’s probably the best one I’ve seen this year. Thanks for sharing Robert!