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What is Design Thinking?

Image credit and copyright: Methodry
Image credit and copyright: Methodry

A few weeks ago, I completed a Design Thinking and Experimentation short course through the Australian Graduate School of Management, the Business School linked to the University of NSW.

The course was expertly facilitated by Nathan Baird and Rob O'Donnell.

"Design Thinking is a customer-centric, creative and experimentation driven approach (and mindset) to innovation and transformation, for surviving and thriving in a world of constant disruption."

(See my previous post on VUCA which covers the 'disruption' mentioned above.)

It is all about identifying what's Desirable from a customer point of view, Feasible from a tech viewpoint and economically Viable. Remember DVF? I covered it in this post.

The various stages of Design Thinking

The course highlighted the various stages of Design Thinking. In summary, it all starts with framing a question, that will drive the search for a creative solution. You then move to Discover and Distill, where you identify insights on what customers need. This is when creativity kicks in, and you start generating ideas. There are various tools you can apply to really unleash creativity and maximise ideas.

You gather your thoughts on the short-listed ideas on an Idea Canvas. This is when you start to explore solutions via experiments and build prototypes. You 'Test to Learn'. You are testing for customer Desirability. Through business modelling you further experiment to discover the Feasibility and Viability of the ideas.

The Ideas that pass the DVF testing stages are prioritised for development and launch.

Design Thinking helps to reduce the risk of developing and launching new products or services.

So what's the link with Agile?

Agile Ways of Working is about a change in ways of working (WoW), as much as a change in mindset. It is about customer-centricity; embedding an innovation mindset into an organisation's culture; encouraging creative thinking; and experimentation. These are all things shared with Agile WoW.

In future posts, I will dive further into some of these topics.


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