Ahoy There!

This is Week #2 of Applied Design Thinking with Mustefa Jo’shen of Design Cofounders.

This week’s session focused on applying solutions based thinking to build narratives that map out the path to achieving goals.

Solution based thinking evaluates the current (and possible future) situation and determines a practical and viable plan to get to a solution. The mindset is positive from the get go: I got this. Instead of dwelling on what isn’t working and trying to patch it up, energy is channeled into discovering what works, identifying strengths and potential resources. It works particularly well in collaborative environments where a team effort greatly reduces time and covers more ground.

The Macro Narrative

With that mindset, we jump into creating a macro narrative: it is the bigger picture / game plan / overall structure that shows us where we are headed along with a proposal of how to get there. It makes sure we are grounded at every step toward the solution especially when faced with changing circumstances or when discovering new learnings along the way.

The example used in class is the boat analogy: to get to the island you can get on a boat and set sail. The boat and consequent journey to the island / lighthouse is the macro narrative.

Sail away!
My solution to saving the world is to become a Citizen Designer (as per the Affinity Mapping exercise last session), making that my island / lighthouse. My macro narrative (aka boat) is to gain experience as a Strategist, seeking out social and commercial opportunities. 

With solution based thinking in mind the boat is simply a tool. With other mindsets, we can get sucked in on focusing on the boat. So much so, that it turns into a problem that distracts from the actual journey. We start fiddling with the boat, making the sails bigger, adding propellers, changing its color, maybe even having WiFi tech on board, ... etc. We end up focusing on the boat not going to the island.

Focusing on the boat didn’t get us anywhere.

Micro Narratives

Micro narratives are the phases or mile stones that make up the macro narrative, they make sense of what we are getting into (environment, surroundings, obstacles etc) so that we can move forward. Based both on research and experimentation (eg rapid prototyping), micro narratives utilize information (whether analytical, qualitative or quantitative) to help you move forward: by validating hypothesis, boosting confidence, solidifying context and / or identifying risks.

The trick is to be creatively objective.
Boat Journey:
job as a Strategist. Wind: acquire knowledge via courses and workshops. Lifebuoy: masters degree in Strategic Thinking.
Storm: Hostile environment/ policies esp toward immigration and resettlement. Fog: self doubt/insecurities. Rocks: lack of job / income that sinks my boat
Good luck!

It takes a bit of going back and forth to get the right narrative. What is important is to really lock down your end game. Is it really this solution you seek, or is there another layer bigger picture at play?