The pitfalls of Design Thinking(DT) workshop in Japan

A number of tools and methods in DT needs to be adopted much more for Japanese ethic and culture

Nowadays DT is booming across industries, particularly held the workshop with DT in multidisciplinary team yet not understanding about what DT does and where is DT comes from. Yes partially it’s a tool, it’s a methodology, and it’s a approach to solve problems. But don’t get it wrong, DT doesn’t help all kinds of issues. Each challenge has each attributes for instance, if you had teeth decay, you might go to the dentist rather than take the medicine yet works somewhat.

1. The progressive challenge makes better outcomes than the innovative ones

DT base workshop is actually more or less “KAIZEN” as implementation activity, which is better to have a clear agenda from single object, scope, and constraints. Like a who is the user, when did it happen, where did it take, why did that happen, what happened, how did it happen, things. Otherwise the result often might have less visible and less tangible outcomes if your alignments were blur or vague. Then if your challenge were something never existing services or systems, it might be spending more time and more resources afterward to launch in the market. But again still it works.

2. Shifting mindset via user perspective translates making culture

DT originally means the way designer work, or think in their roles. Design has never done without the users no matter design fields you are work. From understand the circumstance, define the object, create solutions, prototype feasibility, and test usability. What’s end up is make something meaningful or useful for the user and their life. In short, it means making culture. Imagine how much our products, architectures, and services has been influenced our life. This notion is behind DT.

3. Must to have the sponsor who has the co-creation ownership, authority to assign qualified participants, and to decide business

A lots of workshops stimulates attendees but not quite often reaching out PoC or PoB stages. It’s not because of their ideas bad, it’s mainly because of viability issues. Many project owners in Japan who decide to have DT session, they don’t have big authority as above, besides takes ages to execute the idea from DT due to needs to get permissions through internal long protocols for developing, financing, etc as usual silos in big enterprise. If not so DT workshop could be just disposable adult acting out for fun.

So if you one of those who will have design thinking related seminars/sessions as either a learner at internal fostering human resource programs or a practitioner at any types of commercial projects for solving wicked problem toward proof of concept, keep in mind these points.

Innovation won’t make it happen so easy as Rome wasn’t built in a day
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