Design Thinking Overview
How do I design myself as a human being? So that's like a big deal. And so let's zero in on that last like one of the really big ideas today, as Chris said right at the top. So this design thinking is kind like the secret sauce. Tell us about the secret sauce Bill. (laughs)
Well, it's become a fairly popular phrase this idea of design thinking. It's a methodology we teach people to do, innovation.
Okay, everybody. So normally it's applied to products and services. We work with banks, we work with big organizations and we teach them how to do this, we teach our students this as well. It's a methodology that's fundamentally human centered. But to frame it, let me just explain to you, what's design thinking. There's lots of kinds of thinking, you know we are in the engineering school, the design program is in the engineering school at Stanford. So engineering thinking, very powerful tool in your tool belt. Think of these as not one replaces the other, it's just a go...
od tool. If you have an engineering problem, you wanna use this kind of thinking. So if you wanna build this bridge, right, you need to know the length of the bridge, the strength of the steel, and what's, how many cars are going to be on the bridge. But if you know all of those things, we have the equation that solves that problem. The original work it'll work for as long as the bridge stands. And if you take that exact same set of parameters and put it someplace else, this is a bridge in Oakland but you move the bridge to Boston it'll work there too, because this a very bounded problem and all the data is reliable. Now, if you went to business school, you were probably taught, well, what's called business thinking. A little bit different in that the data is not so precise, but you can get information and some data about business decisions. If, what do I wanna buy this company, you are now a company, or do I wanna buy this company? Well, I can look at the rate of return on their assets, I can look at their profitability, I can project forward. What do you think the value of their future earnings will be? So we have all these little figures of merit and we can optimize a decision, but again, lots and lots of data in that problem. Stanford, we do research, researchers uses the scientific method is really, what's sort of powered, you know, the humans since the dark ages in the enlightenment, you have a hypothesis, you form a very careful experiment to isolate a variable that you wanna test for, you perform the experiment, get a dataset, and then analyze your way into the solution. In that case, you can't change the hypothesis, that'd be cheating, 'cause if you've changed hypothesis to match the data, you're not a scientist you're, I don't know.
You're cheating, you're cheating. I'm gonna try to not make any jokes about the current administration and their lack of scientific thinking. But you see again, you have to be able to analyze the dataset for this to work, now you got people, now we've got people in the equation. When we first started using design methodologies to try to understand human centered design, we went to the anthropologist. How do you study people? How do you study people in an unbiased way? And we went to the psychologist, we said, what are was the hierarchy of needs, Maslow's hierarchy? And we started looking at that and we said, okay, well, this is very interesting 'cause people are at different situations, let's say, I had studied this group of people here, this table over here, I studied the strange tribe of cell phone users, and you all had different cell phones, and then I came up with all of the needs and I asked everybody what they wanted, and then I produced the perfect cell phone for you. But this is what would happen, I would show you my prototype, and you would say, yeah, I know I said I wanted that but now that I see it, you know what? I really, I changed my mind. It's maddening, this happens to designers all the time. (audience laughs) It's terrible, people change their mind. What happened is.
But you wanted it Bill.
I know, but what happened is that you didn't know exactly what you wanted. You knew what you had and what was wrong with it, when I showed you the possible future that you could have, you said, oh, if that's possible, you know what I really want. And that just keeps happening. It's what psychologists call a wicked problem. But we've developed a way of solving those problems, we've developed a way of inventing futures, right? That's what we do as designers. We invent something that's never happened before. And then if it's successful, if it really hits a need and it resonates with our users, we have a product that's successful or a service or you know, anything. We're just redesigning financial services now, all sorts of things this way. So in design thinking we say, 'cause you don't have data that you can rely on and you can't predict the future, the only methodology for moving forward is to build. We build and we discover, and we discover together with users and that's really a fantastic methodology to use when you're designing your life, 'cause you don't know what the future holds and stuff can change rapidly. Your job could go away or a new promotion could happen suddenly, and you wanna decide whether you wanna take it or not. So in these uncertain environments, you wanna use this methodology, we have a little diagram, we say, we start with empathy. we start with understanding people and the problem in this case, understanding ourselves and how the world views us and how we view the world. We redefine the problem, we come up with lots and lots of ideas, and then we do this prototype test, prototype test cycle, we build our way into the future. So that's the method. That's the way we teach it, when we teach it in designing your life methodology, we had one step and that's accept. That's something that everybody has sort of partially bought into today, you accepted to come here and take this class, that means you're interested. You may not be completely bought in on doing all the exercises yet, but at least you got here and you started. Accept as important, Dave always says, you can't solve a problem you're not willing to have, I bet you have a friend, not you, but a friend who's been bugging. Every time you go out for a drink, they hate their job, they hate their relationship, they hate their boss and they just keep talking about it, but they don't take any action, right? So they haven't accepted, well, this is a problem I need to work on and I need to move forward into some solutions. So the accept is the first step in the designing your life process. And then we have this, we call it, you know, think like a designer. If you have the culture or the mindsets of a designer, you will act like a designer, it's just behavior, if you act like one, I can't tell the difference between you and a real one. So if you start with curiosity instead of skepticism, 'cause when you wanna invent the future, there's no reason to be skeptical, you don't even know what it looks like yet, and it's much more generative to start with curiosity, then reframe the problem. Most of the time people are working on the wrong problem, and if we can get you to think about the problem correctly, then get rid of this passion thing, get rid of this I'm late thing, then you're opening the solution space, and now there's more places for you to have good ideas, radical collaboration, that's why you're in a team of, we just mixed complete strangers in most cases together because your experiences are so different that when you collaborate together, something exciting will happen in the middle. And then design is complicated and sometimes you're diverging and looking for lots of answers, and sometimes you're converging and trying to test certain ideas, you wanna be mindful of the process so you don't get confused. And then the biggest thing is we have a bias to action. Since the future's uncertainty, you can't get any data about it anyway, why are you planning? What are you planning with that you don't have any data you're making stuff up. You know, I like to say no plan, no life plan survives first contact with reality. No matter what you plan, you know, the world is out there changing things all the time, so it's easier to just start and do something that's active. And we take that design thinking thing, which is the way we teach design and design innovation, and we put it in a little bit of a framework to make sure once again, that you know where you are and we'll keep referring to this framework throughout the day.
Yeah, it's gonna be sort of a visual syllabus to help us find our way around. Now when we thought of design thinking 55 years ago, he was really thinking about products that the program has originally called the product design program, but it turns out this innovation methodology works more broadly. Now when you're designing a life, that's really a much wider thing. So a couple more tools are needed, a couple more slots in that silverware drawer. And the top one is the meaning making layer on the top of your what's your point of view? What's your work view? What's your worldview? We'll describe these things in just a minute. You did some homework on that hopefully, they are organizing ideas that help answer the question, Is this really working for me, is this the real me? How do you answer those questions? And then how do you wanna even get to the information that you can answer those questions with? That's what the support layer is about. How do I discover and support what is in fact true for me? What of all those voices running around inside my head, which one's the real me and which one's still mom, you know, how do I figure that stuff out? How do you know when you know, you know, so there's steps that we can take, that help support, discovering the information, making good decisions and sustaining this process 'cause frankly, the only job we all know we're gonna have to get someday is the job of getting good at getting the next job. We're just gonna keep doing this life design stuff over and over again. You could actually make the argument that life design is what life is. We're all designing our life all the time. You make some big decisions you live for a while in a chunk, you know, okay, I think I'll these children, I brought them back from the hospital, I think we'll keep them from the next 20 years or so you stick with that, but it does change every single day. And so we're always doing these things. Now we need lots of ideas and tools to fill this out, So that's what you're going to get. So you're gonna get all these things today. By the time you go home, you get that, there're whole set. That's what we, so we have a lot of work to do. You know, normally that's only a 20 hour course over a ten week period of time, so in the next six, seven hours, we're gonna be able to cover all that I'm sure. So we're, it's really going to be a good busy day, hopefully you're gonna go home, with your bags full of tools that you can really use. Now, I got to say, we've already broken the rule at Stanford because we're designed teachers and design people do stuff, we don't talk about stuff. We literally don't lecture, we only allow ourselves what we call electorate, electorates run 12 to 15 minutes, I think we're a little over that, so I'm very, very sorry, it's time to do something but now, what do we do? What do we do is let's not worry about completely redesigning our lives right out of the box, by the way, design your life simply means design a better life, not necessarily a totally different one. So let's grab the low hanging fruit first, small changes are easier to get. So the low hanging fruit in this case might include a question we hear from almost everybody, a good place to start is the balance problem.