Gogul R G
This is the first article in the series of ‘Design-led organization’ writing about creative thinking as a practice in GAVS. It is the first step for the readers to explore the world of design and creativity. So, let’s get started!
First let’s see what is design thinking is all about
There is a common misconception that design thinking is new. But when you look back, people have applied a human-centric creative process to build meaningful and effective solutions. Design has been practiced for ages to build monuments, bridges, automobiles, subway systems, etc. Design is not only limited to aesthetics, it is more of a mindset to think of a solution. Design thinking is a mindset to iteratively think about a complex problem and come up with a viable solution.
Thinking outside of the box can provide an innovative solution to a sticky problem. However, thinking outside of the box can be a real challenge as we naturally develop patterns of thinking that are based on the repetitive activities and commonly accessed knowledge surround ourselves. It takes something to detach away from a situation where we’re too closely involved to be able to ﬁnd better possibilities.
To illustrate how a fresh way of thinking can create unexpectedly good solutions, let’s look at a famous incident. Some years ago, an incident occurred where a truck driver had tried to pass under a low bridge. But, he failed, and the truck became ﬁrmly lodged under the bridge.
The driver was unable to continue driving through or reverse out. The struck truck caused massive trafﬁc problems, which resulted in emergency personnel, engineers, ﬁreﬁghters, and truck drivers gathering to negotiate various solutions to dislodge the truck.
Emergency workers were debating whether to dismantle parts of the truck or chip away at parts of the bridge. Each of one were looking for a solution with their respective level of expertise. A boy walking by and witnessing the intense debate looked at the truck, at the bridge, then looked at the road and said, “Why not just let the air out of the tires?” to the absolute amazement of all the specialists and experts trying to resolve the issue.
When the solution was tested, the truck could drive with ease, having suffered only the damage caused by its initial attempt to pass underneath the bridge. It symbolizes the struggles we face where often the most obvious solutions are the ones hardest to come by because of the self-imposed constraints we work within.
“Challenging our assumptions and everyday knowledge is often difficult for us humans, as we rely on building patterns of thinking in order not to have to learn everything from scratch every time.“
Let’s come back to our topic “What is Design thinking?” Tim Brown, Executive Chairman of IDEO – an international design and consulting firm quoted design thinking as below.
“Design thinking is a human-centered approach to innovation that draws from the designer’s toolkit to integrate the needs of people, the possibilities of technology, and the requirements for business success.”
Now let’s think about our truck example. A boy with his fresh mindset provides a simple solution to address a complex problem. Yeah! this is the sweet spot. Everyone is creative and capable of thinking like a designer, and out of the box, to come up with a solution. This way of inculcating design as a mindset for a solution is known as Design thinking.
Yes, you read it right, everyone is creative…
We forget that back in kindergarten, we were all creative. We all played and experimented with weird things without fear or shame. We didn’t know enough not to. The fear of social rejection is something we learned as we got older. And that’s why it’s possible to regain our creative abilities, even decades later. In the field of design and user experience, there are individuals to stick with a methodology a while, they will end up doing amazing things. They come up with break through ideas or suggestions and work creatively with a team to develop something truly innovative. They surprise themselves with the realization that they are a lot more creative than they had thought. That early success shakes up how they see themselves and makes them eager to do more.
We just need to rediscover what we already have: the capacity to imagine, or build upon, new to the world ideas. But the real value of creativity doesn’t emerge until you are brave enough to act on those ideas.
Geshe Thupten Jinpa, who has been the Dalai Lama’s chief English translator for more than twenty years, shared an insight about the nature of creativity. Jinpa pointed out that there’s no word in the Tibetan language for ‘creativity’ or ‘being creative’. The closest translation is ‘natural’. In other words, if you want to be more creative, you should be more natural! So…be natural!
At your workplace, the complex problems can be easily sorted out when you find a solution using creativity with the mindset of design thinking. Creativity can be improved by following the below steps.
- Go for a walk.
- Play your favorite games.
- Move your eyes.
- Take a break and enjoy yourself.
- Congratulate yourself each time you do something well.
- Estimate time, distance, and money.
- Take a route you never have taken before.
- Look for images in mosaics, patterns, textures, clouds, stars…
- Try something you have never done before.
- Do a creative exercise.
- Start a collection (stamps, coins, art, stationery, anything you wish to collect)
- Watch Sci-Fi or fantasy films.
- Change the way you do things – there are no routine tasks, only routine way of doing things.
- Wear a color you do not like.
- Think about how they invented equipment or objects you use daily.
- Make a list of 10 things you think are impossible to do and then imagine how you could make each one possible.
- For every bad thing that happens to you, remember at least 3 good things that happened.
- Read something you have not read yet.
- Make friends with people on the other side of the world.
- When you have an idea, make a note of it, and later check to see if it happened.
- Connect a sport with your work.
- Try food you never tried before.
- Talk to grandparents and relatives and listen to their stories.
- Give an incorrect answer to a question.
- Find links between people, things, ideas, or facts.
- Ask children how to do something and observe their creativity.
Start doing the above-mentioned steps to inculcate a creative mindset and apply it in your day-to-day work. Companies like GE health care, Procter & Gamble, UBER practiced design thinking and implemented in their new product launches and for solving complex problems in their organizations. Be natural to be more creative! When you are more creative, you can apply design thinking for seeking any solution for a complex problem in your work.
This is the first article in the series of Design led Organization in GAVS. Keep watching this space for more articles on design and keep exploring the world of design-thinking!
- Creative Confidence by Tom Kelly & David Kelly
- The Basics of User experience design by Interaction design foundation
About the Author –
Gogul is a passionate UX designer with 8+ years of experience into designing experiences for digital channels like Enterprise apps, B2C, B2B apps, Mobile apps, Kiosk, Point of Sale, Endless aisle, telecom products. He is passionate about transforming complex problems into actionable solutions using design.