I recently found an article on Harvard Business Review* about Design Thinking and the role of leadership to enable it within project teams to overcome inefficiencies, uncertainties, and emotional flare-ups.
The challenge being that in work settings where employees are long accustomed to being told to be rational and objective, these methods may sound subjective and overly personal.
For a long time, DT has been part of the tools of designers, to create human-centered products, services, solutions, and experiences, by establishing a personal connection with the people for whom a solution is being developed. Designers seek a deep understanding of users’ conditions, situations, and needs by endeavoring to see the world through their eyes and capture the essence of their experiences. The focus is on achieving connection, even intimacy, with users.
With DT methods relying and encouraging divergent thinking to explore options that bring innovation, it may be potentially unsettling for people who are accustomed to valuing a clear direction.
Particularly when it comes to accepting the discomfort that comes from failure. Failure is an intrinsic part of the design process; it is the reason why we learn what works and what doesn’t. The iterative prototyping and testing involved in these methods work best when they produce lots of negative results—outcomes that show what doesn’t work. But piling up seemingly unsuccessful outcomes is uncomfortable for most people.
Failure is probably the most critical skill that any designer and now project-teams will need to learn if we want to discover greater new possibilities for change, improvement, and innovation.
Having the support of our leaders, to leverage empathy, encouraging divergence and navigating ambiguity, while rehearsing new futures, it will allow project teams to move faster and …
*March-April 2019. Harvard Business Review.