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The Six Steps of Design Thinking (for non-turtleneck types)


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This month's HBR's Issue explored "The Evolution of Design Thinking," and yet much of the business world isn't sure how to actually apply this tool to a company's work. Alli McKee brings together the best of design (Stanford + alum) and business (Bain & Co. + Stanford GSB) to break it down into six measurable steps.

Published in: Design
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The Six Steps of Design Thinking (for non-turtleneck types)

  2. 2. TM | @LearnGlyph A Workshop to Build Creative Confidence with Visual Thinking Alli McKee, Stanford and alum GET IN THE RIGHT HEADSPACE Ÿ NO, YOU DON’T YES,WE’LLLETYOUMEASURE(SOMEOF)ITŸ HAVETOWALLOWINAMBIGUITYŸ NO,CREATIVITYISNOTAGIFTŸ
  3. 3. VISUAL DESIGN THINKING TM Source: Process trademarked by Blot, inc. August 2015 SIX VISUAL STEPS TO MAKE IT FEEL REAL, FINALLY. Whether you’re building a new product, starting a business, or developing a deck for a client, this is a process that you can use to manage just about any project requiring creativity and innovation. (Today, that’s everything.)
  4. 4. VISION DEVELOP A MEASURABLE This isn’t your ordinary vision- setting exercise. It’s oriented around quantifying the value at stake, setting clear targets, and understanding how you are going to measure success once you get there. This step is about qualifying and quantifying why you do what you do.
  5. 5. INVENTORY BUILD AN INFORMATION This is the fun part. Depending on your vision, you will amass a collection of primary research (talking to people) and secondary research (lit search and of course, Google). You’ll be searching for existing best practices (what are others doing?), your experience (what have we done in the past?), and your imagination (what could we do?). You are ruthlessly collecting and organizing information.
  6. 6. SYNTHESIZE SOLVE AND Creativity is not a gift. It is not a talent. It is not magic. It is a clear and deliberate process of making connections between two, three, four ideas that have never been connected before. By laying out your inventory visually (at IDEO we use giant black foam core panels and Post-its), you’re able to more easily make these connections to invent ideas. To give your new idea shape, you will build a prototype to test.
  7. 7. UNDERSTANDTHE USER Time to test it with a user. Not your friend. Not your coworker. A real user. Making them pay gives you better data than a survey. You want the bad news faster to save you time and money down the line. The faster you can fail, the better, so hand over your idea and open yourself up to that raw, honest feedback from a paying customer.
  8. 8. AGAIN!Get back on the horse. Another cycle of Inventory building, Synthesizing, and Understanding. Now, Adapt!
  9. 9. LAUNCHAND LEAD You’re done! Actually, your work has just begun. Launching is about selling your idea in a compelling way to achieve scale. Remember those metrics from your Vision stage? Time to pull them out, and start building your dashboard.
  10. 10. TM @LearnGlyph nspiration and Sources: Harvard Business Review September cover; Headspace logo
  11. 11. Alli McKee is an entrepreneur and an artist from Virginia in the US. At the University of Virginia, she studied Studio Art and American Studies before earning a Masters degree in Marketing and Management. After starting two companies in school, she started her corporate career at Bain & Company working for Fortune 500 companies in various industries, from Casino Retail to Consumer Packaged Goods.   After Bain, Alli moved to Johannesburg, South Africa to teach Entrepreneurial Leadership and Creative Arts at African Leadership Academy. At ALA, she ran the Student Enterprise Incubator Program, which housed 18 businesses with student entrepreneurs from 44 different countries.   Alli is currently an entrepreneur and a student in Stanford’s MBA/MA Education program working on her first book on visual leadership entitled See to be Seen. This year through Stanford’s Launchpad program, she founded Blot, inc. with the mission of making people more creative and connected in their work. She is now giving workshops in different countries teaching skills at the intersection of creativity, communication, and commerce and hopes to develop the next generation of visual leaders around the world.