The Most Important Skill All Design Thinkers Must Have
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
Brian is the Founder and Design Director at Design Sojourn, a Design Led Innovation Consultancy. He is a multi-award winning design leader, and specialises in strategic design and innovation programs that drive successful organisations. Brian’s 20-year career in design, driven through a deep understanding of human behavior, spans over multiple domains such as consumer electronics, government, healthcare, non-profit agencies, hospitality, F&B, retail, online solutions and best in class service experiences.