What design thinking taught me about problem solving

What David Kelley, founder of IDEO and designer of some of the early Apple products, Dave Evans, founder of EA (Electronic Arts) and the first Apple mouse and Bernie Roth, co-founder of the Stanford d.school taught me about Design Thinking in an exclusive workshop at Stanford University. Plus some extra hot stuff I scraped together from the internet to make this article worth your time.

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A Million reasons why… not?

For adults, these constraints end up being reasons why our ideas and solutions won’t work. We stop the creative process before it even started. Bernie Roth, co-founder of the Stanford d.school has a big sign that says:

Photo by Nicholas Pryde on Unsplash

Just do it!

Tell me you read this slogan and didn’t think about Serena Williams, Roger Federer, Tiger Woods or another athlete. Many of you might even have an elevated pulse or dilated pupils just from reading this slogan. Why? Because it speaks to the fast-thinking part of our brain, which is system 1 (system I is impulsive, automatic and intuitive while system II is thoughtful, deliberate and calculating). But guess what? Read it a few more times and it loses it’s effect because you’re starting to push it over to system 2 of your brain, the slow thinking part. You start picking it apart, thinking about what it truly means, while all it truly means is not to do what you just did — picking it apart.

Silence is better than bullshit (or critique)

The reality is that we hate silence — it feels awkward and unwanted. The problem with our war on silence is twofold:

  1. The second problem is that our attempts at filling the silence with the spilling of our thoughts end up leaving no room for the ideas and creativity of others — another lethal threat to the creative process.

Specificity = authenticity

Now, say you’ve opened up the creative process, ideas are flowing, everyone on the teams feels heard and enough raw ideas are on the table. This is the time where you slowly introduce the constraints of physics, financials or logic back into the thinking process and you slowly reduce the number of potential solutions back to a select few. This is where specificity in the form of a basic game plan comes into play.

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Where do you go from here?

This is where my notes end and innovation starts. For all of you, who have made it this far, I collected some more curated resources on Design Thinking:

Deputy Director @Open Austria, Product Nerd and Podcast Host https://www.buzzsprout.com/1036294/