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Design Thinking for Business Innovation

Lesson 15 of 15

Q&A And Debrief With Students

Lee-Sean Huang

Design Thinking for Business Innovation

Lee-Sean Huang

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Lesson Info

15. Q&A And Debrief With Students

Lesson Info

Q&A And Debrief With Students

We've gone through at least one round, if not multiple rounds of this design-thinking process. From discovery, understanding things about Matt and other students here today, we helped it define some question around this idea of scaling up his work and finding ways to really reframe that or address it in different ways. We ideated, we came up with a lot of different ideas, then we narrowed down the ideas into one idea that we wanted to focus on and prototype. We brought that prototype to life. Quickly, cheaply, with ArtHeist. And then we got feedback. We tested the idea with Matt. And then we discovered new things. And we can see it, we can take it from there as another version of this prototype. Or we could do more research with more artists. But you see that this is just one loop around this iterative process that could go over and over again until it gets increasing high fidelity and then you can start bringing in other things like the business model and how this would actually work.

So as a debrief just wanted to review some of the concepts that we've talked about today. And played with today and we can open it up to any sort of final questions and feedback that you guys have. So we met Benny the Blowfish today, and really Benny is a way to help us think about being pliant and prickly in the creative process. And it's really about going between these different states. Having different mind sets. Sometimes we're just open to yes and whatever, whether its' people dressing up as a blowfish and hiding in cake and going to these really absurd ideas to sometimes being a little bit pricklier and really trying think about what's actually possible with geocaching and what's the minimum viable product prototype version that we can do without actually writing any lines of code to make it happen. So it's just going between these different mindsets that are both part of the design-thinking method and mindset. We talked about empathy and really thinking about the inner worlds of our users, of our clients. And thinking about what people are feeling, what they're thinking what they're doing and making inferences there. Throughout everything we've been doing today in our prototyping conversations or ideation conversations we've looked at the contemporary context. Whether it's what other companies have done in the area, what they've done around geocaching, what other artists have done. So we're always looking at these precedents and parallels to help inspire us. We also look in the past in terms of historical precedents, right? Like what has been possible before? What are things that we can emulate but with new technologies, with new contexts. And also future-casting. And there's a whole course just on this. And looking at the world that we're creating with a prototype and with a story. But really every prototype or every design concept is about a possible world, right? The whole point of this board-game skit prototype was not just to show the idea, but to demonstrate a world and make a world come to life. Where this idea, where ArtHeist is real. And to make it as real as possible. Even using these low-fidelity materials. And that is a possible future. And from that we can look at some of the social implications, commercial implications, whatever that is. But having this scenario as an instigator and having this story as a way to help us think through the world is a form of future-casting. And so, once again these are the different stages. This is not meant to be like you have to, you're only in one stage and then it's a linear progression. It's really about moving through these stages freely. Sometimes within the same meeting or within the same activity. But just hoping to ground the group to know like, hey you know this is when we're gonna be open-minded, this is when we're going to be a little more prickly and really make some choices to prioritize. So some final thoughts about Yes, And Thinking when we need to be open-minded. But also being prickly when you have to be and starting with empathy always. Earlier in the day we also talked about Silent Sponge, so when to shut up, and Paraphrasing Parrot when you wanna paraphrase to understand your user to make sure you're hearing them correctly. And then being the Probing Puppy as well to go deeper into their motivation, beyond what they tell you. To see if you can surface needs and norms that may not be at the surface but maybe reframe things in a new way. And so Design-Thinking is a buzz word, it is something that is out in the popular media. around design and around business. You may not even have to use this term, but it's really based on things that work. Right? It's not that different than the Scientific Method. It's not that different than child's play either. So hopefully you have some tools now, some shared vocabulary that you can incorporate into your own practice. And just also give specific words and terminology and mindsets to what you're already doing. So that you can bring in a diverse group of people to quickly, easily and cheaply come up with a lot of ideas prototype them, and then move forward and plug them into your existing innovation and business processes. A reflection that I had was that the amount of fidelity that you describe an idea, the prototype doesn't have to be at the level of detail that the idea is. In order to get the idea in high-fidelity across. Which, that's an interesting finding. And also just the process that feels a little bit round-about in the beginning ends up being in a... it coalesces down to something very specific that still retains all of the same elements. So I just, watching the process happen, in this kind of rapid sense was enlightening in that way. Awesome. Yeah How long did it take you to get good at doing this? and to kind of build the confidence that it takes that to go into a room, a stuffy full of people wearing suits who aren't used to doing this kind of stuff, to like... Yeah. I mean you're obviously a master at it now, but how long did it take to do that and were some learnings along the way in that process? I mean, I didn't you know, coming from a traditional design background and doing a whole masters we didn't like learn it like this with the terms, and all of these things. I think for people with design background, you might just already do this as an instinctive thing. And then I actually learned about Design Thinking as a way to actually facilitate it with people who may not have these natural instincts themselves. Or had these natural instincts overridden by their cultures. So when we do this in say like a corporate training. It can take place over say a half day or two day intensive. Where they go through a similar process. And maybe it's around solving some internal challenge that they have. Because it's a method and a midset it's also, it's not just about the recipe. Because the recipe you saw is super simple. The hard part is being able to replicate it, or make some of these judgment calls. [Audience Member 1] Mmmhmm. And so when we do it in person actually, we have a very high teacher-to-student ratio or coach-to-student ratio so say if there's like 20 business executives doing this there's one coach per four to six executives. That's embedded in as both a team member and a coach to help them on every step of the way. Because that is... you can see, it's fairly simple to see the recipe, but there's all these kind of instinctive things about like, hey when do we move on? And it's not just like a timekeeping thing. But it's really about like, okay what is a compelling How Might We statement, that's not assuming the solution too soon. So I guess it's really... you know you can learn the basics of this in a one day course, in a two day intensive course. But it's really about practice, over years to get it instinctively. [Audience Member 1] Okay. Yeah. [Audience Member 2] A reflection that I had Lee-Sean. I think people often forget about that mind-set, mind-set concept. And in a large... what I see in large corporations is that people try to tend to gravitate towards buzz-words. Mmmhmm. And use it and apply into what they're already doing instead of changing their mind-set. And I think an example was, I think you mentioned this is like a minimum viable product, a lot of companies tent to do MVPs as like a full-launch. As an initial launch, they kind of call it an MVP but it's not actually an MVP. Totally. And so I really appreciate like this exercise and this process. And, like adopting that mindset and that culture is huge aspect of business and innovation. Yeah, and like a key to that mindset and culture is like radical inclusion, right? 'Cause anybody can make things with these materials. And it really doesn't matter your technical skills or production quality, right? And once you do higher, more higher-fidelity prototypes obviously you can bring in people who can code stuff. People who can make real artworks to really bring it to life in a way. But for this first iteration it doesn't matter. And everyone can have a say. Right? And I think that's important part of this and it also gets people out of the having-to-debate-everything culture, right? And that's where I think a lot of this... even though a lot of this is highly collaborative and social it helps avoid some of that like design-by-committee stuff where something is already debated to death before it has the chance to even blossom into something. Because you haven't given it enough space. Any other kind of questions or reflections on this process? Or thinking about maybe how to maybe take this home to your organization or your creative practice? [Audience Member 3] I have a question. Yeah. Facilitation-wise. That was a great question from Drew. And to build on that. How do you, how do you decide when is the right time to move on to the next activity? Or how do you, when someone's being a little bit, um... They're debating too much. They're using the No-But strategy. How do you pull them back in? What strategies to do plan on using? Yeah. Usually when I go through and facilitate early iterations of this stuff. We're super-strict about time keeping. And we'll come up with some creative brief that is just like a practice run that may have like nothing to do with the actual business challenge. It's really more of what we call creative cross-training. So it could be something as mundane as redesigning the morning routine. Or like for a lot of people who travel a lot for work another one we come up with is redesigning the airport experience, or like the commuting experience. And so these are things that pretty much everyone has had to deal with and like you might have even like, sat in traffic in your car like thinking about more efficient ways to direct traffic. Or standing in line in security thinking about that. So you're already kind of thinking about redesigning that. And for that one we deliberately have really tight time-constraints. Similar to the challenges we had this morning. Where it was like six minutes like, make something, or like five minutes interview your partner about his commute and then move on. Just so people get like, this is the stage we're doing discovery. This is the stage where you're defining something. Because you have to do something during that time. If you overthink it, that's where like, things start to balloon out of control. And people either get too negative and critical too soon. Or things, like the ideas get bigger and bigger on paper without it really making since. [Audience Member 3] I hate to ask you a monopolizing questions, but I did have one more question just about that. Yeah. The process that we're doing. We kind of started from scratch. Of just what is the baseline problem we could solve? Is there a way of applying this same technique. This same strategy and process to something that is a little bit more defined? Mmmhmm. Like you're with your team And you've got a very specific sort of feature you wanna build for your software. And is there a way of applying this to something that is a lot more narrowly defined. Than what we started with? I think that that's also a decision point to think like whether or not you actually need Design Thinking for a certain thing, right? Or is it more a matter of say, just, AB testing something. If it's just something super specific like, how do we get more email signups on our landing page? Like you don't need to go through this whole participatory process or play with like craft supplies. But if it's something that's more open-ended like How do we get more people in the Creative Live community? That could be solved multiple ways, right? So, usually if something like already has well-established solutions, you don't really need this. But in your case, you were like trying to scale up your art practice. And it wasn't about like how do I, you know, gross more revenue for my art. You know where that becomes too small of a thing, so there isn't a preliminary screener to see like do you even need to do this Design Thinking? Or is it more of like optimization or like AB test kind of activity? Carlos. Something I think came up in some of the last responses was about accessibility. Accessibility, like having tools, having a variety of tools and um, ways to play and get into play. And just thinking that a diverse team has varying skills. And how we approach problems may be very very different. So, but it seems like in order to get into the conversation and really try to get into it, we, you know, have to take that first step. And all our first steps might look a little different. And I think that that's just something I'm coming away with too, it's like you know there's the physical tools and what are like the other tools too? I mean, that's something I guess I wanna think about more for myself. I'm you know working in mental health particularly, and like in the healthcare setting. So then what are the tools that are already there? That we already have? You know, the ways that we have meetings or the ways that we come together? What are the things that are already there? And thinking about those specific touchpoints as things that you redesign. Or like could you redesign the staff meeting at your clinic? For example, or like make it even broader, like how do we share share information in a better way among clinicians? Or whatever it is that you're doing you would also bring people into this process. And what we've found too, in this process, is by bringing people in, especially in like, things that are service-based where it's really about individual people providing the service. And it's not all like digital and automated. Is just by having people go through this process they often deliver the service in a way that's more compelling for the users. So in this project that we did for New York City, that I alluded to in an earlier slide, we were designing ways to increase client retention in financial counseling. So designing ways to get New Yorkers in financial counseling to keep coming back to counselors. And so we did activities like this and facilitation and ideation pieces with the counselors and also did these kind of skits and role-plays. We also came up with specific solutions like, you know, a physical card that was like a membership card, some digital things that could be prototyped to help clients learn more about the service before they even get in. Because one of our hypothesis that was if people knew more about the service, they would stay in the service because they would know what to expect. What we found that was before we even rolled out the prototypes broadly among the clients, just because the service providers, the counselors had gone through this process. It just helped kind of increase their empathy. Not that they weren't empathetic before, they got into the business to help people, but because they were thinking about through this design lens and mindset they were able to make small tweaks even without a designer. Just even in things like how they conduct their intakes or how they greet their clients. Like things that are part of the client experience that don't necessitate, like graphic design or videography. And that sort of increased the client retentions. We've seen that with the city where in the two years that we worked with them, there was like a 13% increase in the client retention, even before we had rolled out the prototypes just from that shift in mindset, which is kind of really great. Alright it's been such a pleasure to share some of these Fundamental Principles of Design Thinking. Like I said before, it's simple but not easy and so the more you can practice this at home by yourself, at work with your teams, the better. And we have tons of resources you can look at if you subscribe to the course. And hope that you can just watch this again to also just get some of these things and practice, practice, practice. Thank you so much for having me here, it's really been an honor and a pleasure.

Class Description

You know that one of the top trends in business innovation these days is design thinking. Only problem is, you’re not quite sure what it is. You’ve heard it described in a bunch of different ways, and you’re starting to wonder if no one else understands it either.

But the truth is, design thinking is one of the most effective new methods and mindsets for framing and solving problems. Top businesses, organizations, consultancies, schools and governments are adopting it as a way to innovate their processes and service offerings, using human empathy, design principles, action-oriented solutions, imagination, intuition and systematic reasoning.

Taught by Lee-Sean Huang, cofounder and creative director of Foossa, a community-centered design consultancy, this course will help you understand what design thinking is and how to apply it to your own work and life.

In this class, you’ll learn how to:

  • Identify the key design thinking techniques.
  • Utilize design thinking in your professional life.
  • Get hands-on experience with design thinking principles.
  • Become an advocate for design thinking within your organization.
  • Separate the truth of design thinking from the media hype.
  • Use design thinking to innovate and create new business opportunities.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Design Thinking Resources

Bonus Materials with RSVP

Getting Started with Adobe Stock

Ratings and Reviews

Student Work

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I loved it! It's amazing how ideas can be built up : )

Carlos Encalada

This course was exactly what I was looking for! As a psychotherapist looking to enter the world of design and facilitation, this primer for design thinking set up the facilitation workshop perfectly. Dynamic workshop. Grateful to Lee-Sean for sharing his process.


I loved it : )