Design Thinking - Handout


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Introduction to design thinking and it's reference to (innovation) management. A presentation handout for my fellow students at Zeppelin University in 2009. The presentation can be found here:

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Design Thinking - Handout

  1. 1. Friedrichshafen, November 14, 2009Jan Schmiedgen (1st Semester / M.A.-CME)HandoutDesign Thinking – A »new« (Innovation) Management Approach?Course: Critical Reflection of Management Theories___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________The ProcessThe typical design thinking process does not exist. Moreover different process models of the same basicapproach are to be found, which are more or less varied in their granulation. Basically all of them consist ofat least four steps: develop Expertise plus Empathy and then proceed to the Exploration and Execution of thesolutions you came up with. In this paper the »« standard process from »Hasso-Plattner-Institut,Potsdam« (Plattner, Meinel, & Weinberg, 2009) exemplifies in short, how a typical design process normallyis executed. I have chosen this book and process, as you probably will come across it in the near future (inGermany). However I do not recommend the book. The (mostly) English literature mentioned in thecourse and during the presentation is more solid and well founded.
  2. 2. Handout »Design Thinking« | Course: Management TheoriesFigure 1: A typical »Design Thinking« Process (Plattner et al., 2009)The maybe most typical characteristic of all design processes is its non-linear and iterative character. In thefollowing Ill give just a very brief description of the process without details. Therefore it does not lay claimto completeness.UnderstandThe first step serves to carve out the problem, make sure that everybody (especially in a diverse team)understood it »right« and then goes further in trying to formulate a useful and »right« research question,that enables the team to select the appropriate methods for the next step. This step already is importantbecause usually the first differences between the team members emerge (different mindsets etc.), which canbe a good starting point for later insight generation, problem reframing and the therewith connectedlearning processes (Beckman & Barry, 2007).Further on in this step measurements for success should be developed (if possible) and priorities regardingthe project goals must be set. In addition the team should become aware of available project-time.ObserveTo develop a truly deep understanding of the formulated problem good designers embrace the use ofmethods that overcome the limitations of traditional market research (e.g. contextual inquiry focuses on the‚what’, ethnographical methods focus on the ‚why’ → richer and »valid« data), by getting into allstakeholders natural life world. This often yields insights that focus groups, interviews and the like cannot.Insights that uncover meaning, culture, context and practices. Mostly these methods are »borrowed« fromethnography, anthropology and sociology and then adapted to the particular problem. Very often the initialproblem formulation is reframed in several iterations during this process.OBSERVE – RESULTSMethods usedRapid Ethnography; Visual anthropology; Video ethnography; Non-participant & direct observation; Participantobservation; Formal ethnographic interviews; Intercepts; Informant diaries; Virtual ethnography (netnography);Story listening and many more … -2-
  3. 3. Handout »Design Thinking« | Course: Management TheoriesExemplary outcomesVideo- and Photo material; Sketches; Diaries; Day in life Timelines; Era analyses etc.→ either made by the researchers or the users themselvesPoint of ViewHaving collected all knowledge gained so far, the innovation (or strategy, or whatever ) team has todevelop a common position. This is the point where the problem reframing concerning the initial questionusually ends and where results are prepared in a way that everyone – even persons outside of the team – candevelop a shared understanding.POINT OF VIEW – RESULTSExemplary outcomesPersona descriptions; mood-o-grams; customer journey analysis;...IdeateThe ideation starts, when everyone agrees on the common point of view, has reconsidered its own basicassumptions and in a way has become free of his predetermined predispositions towards the problem andthe therefore deducted questions. In short, when every team member is able to see the problem throughusers/customers eyes.The ideation phase maybe nearly as free-form as the observation stage, but it finally adds the critical elementof synthesis to the process. It starts with the generation of countless ideas. Here apriori the rule of »quantityprior to quality« applies but in the latter process the ideas are whittled down to a few core [ones]. Thosethen start to take form in a process known as »low-res prototyping« (the transition to the »regular«prototyping is fluid). Often this part of the process is distinguished from traditional marketing-departmentbrainstorming and R&D prototyping by requiring consumers to be part of the process.IDEATION – RESULTSMethods usedAll kinds of creative techniques → usually brainstorming / heavy visualizationExemplary outcomesLarge amount of (temporary imperfect) ideas and artefacts → first low-res-prototypes -3-
  4. 4. Handout »Design Thinking« | Course: Management TheoriesPrototype The goal of prototyping isn’t to finish. (Brown, 2008, S. 87)Also in this phase imperfection should be embraced. The most important function of prototypes is to makethe strengths and weaknesses of the solution tangible and drive the process further on:"When you rapidly prototype, youre actually beginning to build the strategy itself. And youre doing so very earlyin the innovation cycle. This enables you to unlock one of your organizations most valuable assets: peoplesintuitions. When you sit down with your senior team and show them prototypes of the products and services youwant to put out in two years time, you get their intuitive feel for whether youre headed in the right direction. Itsa process of enlightened trial and error: Observe the world, identify patterns of behaviour, generate ideas, getfeedback, repeat the process, and keep refining until youre ready to bring the thing to market.[It] rapidly accelerated the development of a potential [...] strategy, because the company could instantly give useven sharper feedback and help us refine it. Rapid prototyping helps you test your progress in a very tangible wayand ultimately makes your strategic thinking more powerful." (Brown, 2009)PROTOTYPING – RESULTSMethods usedCharettes, Role play, Lego, Computer simulation and the like → again, without any limitationsExemplary outcomesCustomer video journey, Product prototype, Business Model Prototypes → no limitationsTestThe last step includes the customers again. Here iterative improvements of the prototypes are performed.Therefore the process jumps back to the observation step to fathom out how the developed solution will beembedded in the practical use and daily life routines of its users. If necessary, the whole process could iterateagain. If the solution was successful and user acceptance is guaranteed, the solution/strategy is ready for themarket.IDEATION – RESULTSMethods usedBesides qualitative methods here quantitative measurements as well come into playExemplary outcomesSee »Observation« -4-
  5. 5. Handout »Design Thinking« | Course: Management TheoriesDesigners Attitude – Points of Difference toTraditional Management PracticeWhy is this process and its way of problem solving different from traditional business?Mode of ThinkingFigure 2: Reliability vs. Validity (R. L. Martin, 2009)THERE SEEMS TO BE A TRADE-OFF BETWEEN RELIABILTY AND VALIDITY IN TODAYS BUSINESS CONTEXT.Reliability → Result of a process, that produces a consistent and predictable result over and over. In order toenhance reliability you have to reduce the number of variables considered and you should use bias-freemeasurements.Validity → The extent to which a measure accurately reflects the concept that it is intended to measure. In orderto increase the validity of any process you must consider a wide array of relevant variables (as done in theobservation phase of the design thinking process)→ they seem to conflict. "The marketplace tends to discipline corporations so biased toward reliability that they produce mediocre products or services [because] buyers choose not to buy [their products]. This keeps reliability and validity at least reasonably in balance. (R. L. Martin, 2009)"_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ -5-
  6. 6. Handout »Design Thinking« | Course: Management TheoriesLogical ReasoningBecause of its hypothesis driven character (cf. the iterative loops in the process), design thinking heavily usesa method of reasoning, that often seems »unaccepted«: abductive thinking (a logical operation first coined byCharles Sanders Peirce). According to Pierce abduction is the only logical operation, that introducessomething new.DIFFERENT TYPES OF REASONINGInductionInductive logic — the logic of what is operative — reasons from the specific to the general . 1 → prove through observation, that something actually works...DeductionDeductive logic — the logic of what must be — reasons from the general to the specific . 2→ prove – trough reasoning from principles – that something must be...Abduction→ Abductive logic – the logic of "what might be" → Kind of inference characterized by probability.→ A conclusion reached by abduction is conjectural, and therefore only probable → but to the researcher ordesigner the conclusion seems totally plausible (knowledgeable intuition → Higgs Boson → LHC-CERN, Geneva).Without the logic of "what might be" a corporation can only refine its current heuristics or algorithms →leaves it at the mercy of competitors → Embracing abduction as the coequal of deduction andinduction!Figure 3: The Cycle of Design thinking (Dunne & R. Martin, 2006, p. 518)1 If I study sales per square foot across a thousand stores and find a pattern that suggests stores in small towns generate significantly higher sales per square footthan stores in cities, I can inductively declare that small towns are my more valuable market.2 If the general rule is that all crows are black, and I see a brown bird, I can declare deductively that this bird is not a crow. -6-
  7. 7. Handout »Design Thinking« | Course: Management TheoriesHandling of ConstraintsA non-integrative thinker/manager (R. L. Martin, 2009) readily accepts unpleasant trade-offs (seems weselect between predetermined alternatives), while the integrative thinker/designer seeks creative resolution ofthe tension (think outside the existing alternatives and create new by the use of all modes of reasoning). “Business schools tend to focus on inductive thinking (based on directly observable facts) and deductive thinking (logic and analysis, typically based on past evidence). Design schools emphasize abductive thinking – imagining what could be possible. This new thinking approach helps us challenge assumed constraints and add to ideas, versus discouraging them.” A.G.Lafley, CEO of Procter&GambleSummarization and further DifferencesFeature From Traditional Firm . . . To “Design Shop”Mode of Thinking Deductive Deductive Inductive Inductive AbductiveDominant Attitude We can only do what we have budget to do Nothing can’t be done Constraints are the enemy Constraints increase the challenge → Decision Attitude and excitement → Design AttitudeFlow of Work Life Ongoing tasks Projects Permanent assignments Defined termsStyle of Work Defined roles Collaborative Wait until it is „right“ IterativeSource of Status Managing big budgets and large staffs Solving “wicked problems”Table 1: Points of Difference to »Traditional Management Practice« (Dunne & R. Martin, 2006) in Brief____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ -7-
  8. 8. Handout »Design Thinking« | Course: Management TheoriesNotesYour notes here ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ -8-
  9. 9. Handout »Design Thinking« | Course: Management TheoriesReferencesBeckman, S. L., & Barry, M. (2007). Innovation as a Learning Process: Embedding Design Thinking. California Management Review, 50(1), 25-56.Brown, T. (2008). Design Thinking. Havard Business Review, (June 2008), 84-92.Brown, T. (2009). Change by Design: How Design thinking Transforms Organizations and Inspires Innovation: How Design thinking Can Transform Organizations and Inspire Innovation. New York: Harper Business.Dirk, K. (2008, April 12). Defining Experience: Clarity Amidst the Jargon. UXmatters. User Experience Community, . Retrieved October 20, 2009, from, D., & Martin, R. (2006). Design thinking and how it will change Management Education: An Interview and Discussion. Academy of Management Learning & Eduction, 5(4), 512-523.Hasso-Plattner-Institut Potsdam. (n.d.). HPI School of Design Thinking. HPI School of Design Thinking. Retrieved November 12, 2009, from, C. (2004, October 20). Strategic Design: Warum die Designtheorie und die Designausbildung in Deutschland eine strategische Neuausrichtung brauchen. Unveröffentlichtes Manuskript, Vortrag an der Bergischen Universität Wuppertal.Kimbell, L. (2009, September). Beyond Design Thinking: Design-as-practice and designs-in-practice. Presentation Paper presented at the CRESC - European Academy of Management Conference 2009 - Manchester, Saïd Business School, University of Oxford.Liebl, F. (2003). Do Placebo Products Dream of Electric Sheep? Approaching “Strategic Design.” Do Placebo Products Dream of Electric Sheep? Approaching “Strategic Design.” Retrieved October 26, 2009, from, J. (2004). Design thinking - The Role of Hypotheses Generation and Testing. In R. Boland Jr. & F. Collopy (Eds.), Managing as Designing (1st ed., pp. 193-197). Stanford: Stanford Business Books.Martin, R. L. (2009). Design of Business: Why Design thinking Is the Next Competitive Advantage. Mcgraw- Hill Professional.Martin, R. L. (2009). The Opposable Mind: How Successful Leaders Win Through Integrative Thinking. Mcgraw-Hill Professional.Mintzberg, H. (1990). The design school: Reconsidering the basic premises of strategic management. Strategic Management Journal, 11(3), 171-195. doi:10.1002/smj.4250110302Oster, G. W. (2008). Derailing Design Thinking. International Journal of Leadership Studies, Regent University, 4(1), 107-115.Plattner, H., Meinel, C., & Weinberg, U. (2009). Design-Thinking. mi-Wirtschaftsbuch.Saffer, D. (2007). Design Schools: Please Start Teaching Design Again. Blog, . Retrieved November 6, 2009, from design-again/ -9-
  10. 10. Handout »Design Thinking« | Course: Management TheoriesShove, E., Watons, M., Ingram, J., & Hand, M. (2007). Design of Everyday Life (illustrated edition.). Berg Publishers.Simon, H. A. (1996). Sciences of the Artificial (3rd ed.). The Mit Press.Squires, S., Byrne, B., & Sherry, J., Jr. (2002). Creating Breakthrough Ideas: The Collaboration of Anthropologists and Designers in the Product Development Industry. J F Bergin & Garvey.Whyte, J., Ewenstein, B., Hales, M., & Tidd, J. (2008). Visualizing Knowledge in Project-Based Work. Long Range Planning, 41(1), 74-92. doi:10.1016/j.lrp.2007.10.006van Zyl, R. (2008). Buchanan’s Design thinking Matrix: Implications for SMMEs. Design Thinking: New Challenges for Designers, Managers and Organizations. Presented at the International DMI Education Conference, ESSEC Business School, Paris.AppendixPoints of Difference General Management Design ThinkingDominant Attitude Decision Attitude Design Attitude Assumes it is easy to come up with Assumes that it is difficult to design a good alternatives to consider, but difficult to alternative, but once you’ve developed a truly choose among them → great one the decision about which Solve, existing stable problems with clearly alternative to select becomes trivial. → specified alternatives (usually through the use Problem as opportunity for invention that of analytical decision tools). includes questioning basic assumptions. → Strive after improving the state of the world because: The cost of not conceiving of a better course of action than those that are already being considered is often much higher than making the “wrong” choice among them. (Liedtka, 2004, p. 50)Interpersonal Aspects Often uncomfortable with interferences from Emphasis of empathy outside. Also with working styles, that could 1) understand users perspectives/needs, question your own world view. Typical 2) collaborate with peers and expand »Schmidt sucht Schmidtchen«-Problems. perspectives by collaborating with individuals unlike oneself. Traditional Firms (Oster, 2008) Design firms (Oster, 2008)Flow of work life Ongoing tasks and permanent Work flows around (temporary) projects assignments. → Daily routines focus upon with defined terms. → „People are judged regularly planned tasks by their ability to add value to it.“ (Roger Martin in Oster, 2008, p. 109) - 10 -
  11. 11. Handout »Design Thinking« | Course: Management TheoriesSource of Status Managing big budgets and large staff. → Status derives from building a track record of Size = Status = High reward finding solutions to wicked problems.Style of work Clear defined roles and responsibilities → Projects are assigned to teams rather to „Individuals are typically much more adept at individuals. → Charettes1 and constant describing ‘my responsibilities’ than they are at dialogue with clients describing ‘our responsibilities’.“ (Oster, 2008, p. 110) → Economic incentives are often linked tightly to these responsibilities.Mode of Thinking Two most common kinds of logic are Use inductive and deductive logic(cognitive aspects) rigorous inductive and deductive thinking. complemented by abductive thinking. → Reasoning or arguing outside of these two Inductive → Induce patterns through the usually is discouraged by: „Can you prove close study of users. that?“ Deductive → Deduce answers through the application of design theories. Abductive → Logic of ‚what might be’ → ‚Designers may not be able to prove that something „is“ or „must be“, but they nevertheless reason that it „may be“’ (Oster, 2008, p. 110)Dominant Attitude Constraints are the enemy, budgets are Constraints are typical prerequisites of the drivers of decisions. → We can only do what work process. → „[...] the dominant mindset we have budget to do. → „So much more is, “there is nothing that can’t be done. ”If would be possible if we had no budget something can’t be done, it is only because the constraints.“ → thinking around it hasn’t yet been creative and Constraints therefore are an undesirable inspired enough.“ (Oster, 2008, p. 110) → barrier to the generation and implementation Constraints therefore are embraced as the of ideas. impetus to creative solutions. They increase the challenge and excitement level of the task at hand. (Dunne & R. Martin, 2006, p. 519)My own findings Shareholder first End-user first Take the first-best solution, that meets all the Generate new alternatives, even when an requirements. apparently viable one has been found. → ‚make world better-attitude’Table 2: Points of Difference to »Traditional Management Practice« (Dunne & R. Martin, 2006) in Detail1 The French word "Charrette" means "cart" and is used to describe the final intense work effort expended by art and architecture students to meet a projectdeadline. At the École des Beaux Arts in Paris during the 19th century, proctors circulated with carts to collect final drawings while the students franticallyput finishing touches on their work. - 11 -
  12. 12. Handout »Design Thinking« | Course: Management TheoriesGlossaryAbduction → the process of forming an explanatory hypothesis→ only logical operation, that introduces any new ideaRule: All the beans from this bag are white;Result: These beans are white;Case: These beans are from this bagDeduction → from the general to the specificRule: All the beans in the bag were white;Case: These beans were in the bag;Result: These beans are whiteInduction → from the specific to the generalCase: These beans were in this bag;Result: These beans are white;Rule: All the beans in the bag were whiteReliability → see aboveValidity → see aboveWicked problems → characterized by their level of interconnectedness, by the presence of amplifying loopsthat produce unintended consequences when interfered with, by the presence of trade-offs and conflictamong stakeholders, and by the nature of their constraints. (Liedtka, 2004) → each problem formulationcorresponds to a different solution (context) → none is »optimal« (potential solutions are neither true/falseor good/bad) → strategy is a matter of choice rather than »truth« → all solutions are contestable - 12 -