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During my conversations with practitioners and pedagogues of ‘design thinking’, I have had many reactions. Some are outright enthusiasts and see its innate collaborative approach as a sinecure for problems of all kinds. But the sceptics look at the term as yet another new-age invention, something that wily consultants use to fleece unsuspecting corporates or institutions.
As an entrepreneur, one is familiar with the design theory - a creative process where you understand the evolving needs of customers and design solutions targeted to appeal to them. Using a human-centric approach based on empathy and experimentation, companies, especially startups, often employ the principles of design thinking to come up with innovative products and services.
The Innovation Village has organized a Design Thinking for Business Innovation program to give corporations hands-on experience in design thinking techniques.
This year, roughly a third of the winners prioritize the environment, ranging from a converted coal power plant to a device that transforms salt water into electricity. As the effects of climate change become increasingly visceral, spreading fires, hurricanes, and other disasters around the globe, design is becoming a crucial tool of adaptation. “Designing for human survival will become the new necessary field of design,” says Slow Factory Foundation founder Céline Semaan in a special Fast Company report on where the industry can have the greatest impact in the next decade.
I recently found myself thinking about what I would write this article on and realized how difficult a task making a decision could be at this point in time — especially for those of us in HR who are mired in operational issues that need our undivided attention. With the added stress of the pandemic, you may find that your thoughts are scrambled, your mind is foggy and your time is a rare commodity to the extent that you stop reflecting on your experience, and it becomes difficult to view things from a different perspective.
During more than 15 years working in telecommunications, MIT Sloan senior lecturerPaul McDonagh-Smith observed a recurring issue: employees approached the same problem from different angles. People in research and development, engineering, and human resources all wanted the same outcomes but they weren’t able to connect, and weren’t taking advantage of lessons learned in other domains.