The Many Different Flavours of Design Thinking

Design Thinking has been around for a while and many design groups, consultancies and organisations have developed their own ‘flavour’ of design thinking to meet their particular design needs. It’s interesting to see how this design thinking as a methodology and practice has evolved and been honed to be adapted to different contexts.

As a Design Practice Manager in IBM I have adopted IBM Design Thinking. IBM designers work within a global community of 400K people at the cutting edge of design, technology and service innovation and IBM Design in Austin has invested in developing a unique approach to design thinking that is used not only by its 1,300 designers but also by its engineers, developers and throughout the whole organisation.

IBM Design Thinking has been developed to enable disparate professionals and experts to focus on developing user-centric experiences and innovative digital solutions by working collaboratively with each other and with IBM’s clients. IBM Design Thinking is effective because its accessible, easy to adopt and flexible.

At the heart of IBM’s human-centred mission is the IBM Design Thinking framework. It’s a means to solve users’ problems at the speed and scale of the modern digital enterprise. IBM Design Thinking has its roots in traditional design thinking and more recently I have been working with a group of designer to extend IBM’s design practices to include and embrace Service Design.

Whether we’re re-envisioning the customer experience for a multinational bank, or just planning a product’s next release, IBM Design Thinking helps us focus on what matters to our clients and, importantly, their customers.

If you’re interested in the different approaches to design thinking then check out these links and explore the different ways groups and people have adapted design thinking and applied it in their businesses.

If you are new to Design Thinking, here are a few links to help you get started or if you’re familiar with Design Thinking you might be interested in how others are cooking with their own unique recipes.


Harvard Business Review:

Design Thinking and Innovation At Apple

A Harvard business case: Winner of a 2013 ecch Case Award. It describes Apple’s approach to innovation, management, and design thinking

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ir3E-TEUk48


FirstRoundCapital

How design thinking transformed Airbnb from failing startup to billion-dollar business

A fireside chat between Joe Gebbia of Airbnb and Phin Barnes of First Round Capital. Filmed at Design+Startup at IDEO San Francisco on March 14, 2013.

https://youtu.be/RUEjYswwWPY


IBM Think Academy

How It Works: Design Thinking

Trying to solve a problem or find better ways of getting work done? Get familiar with IBM Design Thinking and Agile. For more information on IBM Design Thinking, please visit: http://www.ibm.com/design

https://youtu.be/pXtN4y3O35M


A New Approach to Design Thinking

In 2013, IBM, one of the world’s largest technology companies, set the mission to create a sustainable culture of design.

https://youtu.be/c0el19EKXYU?list=PL_tdHfg_iV-NsHpFT0_Lolebp0HnVZXzn


Links to online resources:

LUMA empowers people to innovate everywhere, by transforming the way they work.

https://www.luma-institute.com/


 IDEO HCD – How It Works

https://www.ideo.com/post/design-kit


 IDEO Design Thinking – Methods

http://www.designkit.org/methods


IBM Design Thinking – with resources and methods practice guide

https://www.ibm.com/design/thinking/

Hope this helps… If you want to learn more about Design Thinking, Service Design and Digital Transformation please reach out to me here on Linkedin.

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The Design Trifecta

Recent research from the Design Council and other sources indicat that 51% of service design projects do not get implemented.

Design groups can fall into the trap of telling business  high level strategic stories using overly complex assets that present a nirvana.

They do not get implemented because they lack testing with users, fail to add value to the business and are not implementable.

In terms of innovation, teams need to understand if they defending, differentiating or disrupting and set strategy accordingly.  By combining service design thinking and business science in a participatory design process projects stand a better chance of success.

Clients do not need high level, ethereal and glossy design concepts. They need a trifecta of creative know-how, business acumen and implementation. In design thinking  this is the minimal viable product desirable, viable,  feasible and usable!

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React.js

React is a JavaScript library for creating user interfaces by Facebook and Instagram. Facbook built React to solve one problem: building large applications with data that changes over time. There are a number of frameworks out there including Angular, Node and Bootstrap (amongst others).  I’ve been talking to a few people about React (sometimes styled React.js or ReactJS) and I’m hearing good things. Here is a short but useful video that compares React with Angular that might be useful. React Vs Angular
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Open-Text Feedback

Veikkaus the Finnish lottery, betting, and online gaming company has over 2.2 million regular customers. Veikkaus use the Etuma Feedback Categorizer (EFC) to analyse open-text feedback from multiple feedback channels such as contact centres, web forms, and surveys. EFC provides key decision making information for the continuous development of customer services, products, and marketing campaigns. Using open-text feedback to identify topics, key words and analyse feedback supports ‘conversations’ with customers. Conversations are part of timely customer feedback, enable companies to engage with trending issues, concerns and opportunities while supporting authentic dialogue that builds trust. Authentic conversations impacts and builds brand equity. Please read the Etuma case study here. 
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Waterfall, Agile and Wagile

In the past two years here at Factotum we have started to use a leaner design and implementation process as part of an integrated strategic design and innovation methodology that is referred to as WAgile.

In the past there was a focus on phased approaches to design and implementation called Waterfall, where the phases of research, framing, insights, design and implementation were completed in sequence – this was typified in engineering, product design and software development.

Then Agile came along and the emphasis shifted to implementation through sprints and a series of ‘drops’ as the software or app  scaled from a minimal viable product (MVP). This works well for software products or new app development but it sometimes fails to include a research and insights process that identifies and engages with target users to understand core needs and how the app is a touchpoint in a larger and distributed service ecology.

Both Waterfall and Agile have strengths, weaknesses and their own merits, but used separately they are limited and flawed.

Wagile

HCD & Contextual Research

Understanding users needs and importantly their desires is key.  Increasingly  ‘wants’ rather than ‘needs’ motivate customers.  For example, customers ‘need’ to text messages but they ‘want’ an iPhone. Customers want a great experience and the social cache of owning a premium brand and awesome products. In short cusotmers are seeking self-actualisation and they are willing pay a premium for it.

To understand ‘wants’ and ‘desires’ we need to intimately know and understand our customers; their attitudes and values. To do this we need to undertake sustained research at the beginning and throughout the early phases of a project through ‘conversations’. However, we need to work quickly and with agility, without over committing resource to design directions that might fail in the market place. 

This is where WAgile becomes attractive.  It takes the best features and benefits of Waterfall and Agile to combine them with HCD and Design Thinking. WAgile is an iterative design and innovation model that employs contextual research driven insights, design thinking, business science and uses sprints to work with agility in cross-functional teams to implement quickly.

At the beginning of the WAgile process I use both contextual inquiry techniques and data analytics to discover who is the ‘customer’ and what are their desires, needs and goals. I balance this with the business needs as we seek new opportunities to disrupt.

This means working closely and dialoging continually with current and potential customers. The process starts with Contextual Inquiry (CI) using ethnographic research augmented with data driven strategies where we use data garnered from customer interactions through owned, paid and social media. Each point of contact with the customer is an opportunity to harvest information and data to gain insights.

User Stories – a common currency

An important tool in the WAgile process are User Stories; the common currency of design. We describe customers tasks and goals through user stories that in turn become features and functions to design and build.

Framing the problem, defining the opportunity areas and designing solutions are based on User Stories. Then workstreams and sprints are forumlated based on MoSCoW principles working with users and the core team. This is part of the continual dialogue and conversation model with customers.

Working sometimes only a day or two ahead of the software developers, the designers use ‘Evidencing’ to bring concepts to life. Evidencing involves creating objects or ‘props’ to act out scenarios and create Rapid Experience Prototypes.  The prototypes explore the way a proposed MVP and design concept will feel and perform. 

By ‘Evidencing’ concepts we can animate and interact with concepts to assess their usefulness in an iterative process with users. This results in tangible evidence (as wells as stills and videos) that enables the core team make early informed judgments about the implications of the design concept.

Based on the outcomes and insights of Evidencing, the user stories are refined and translated into detailed features and specs. The information architectures are refined, wireframes are created, GUI assets are created and coding begins.

WAgile is fast, efficient and enables the user to be involved while the team implements what the user wants.

 

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