Facilitator’s Guide: 7 Things to Know When Introducing Design Thinking to an Organization

Sharing the learning from introducing design thinking to a software product organization

#1. Learn about Design Thinking (correctly)

In order to put design thinking to practice, you have to learn about it thoroughly. Go in to detail, experiment with it. You cannot facilitate a project collaboratively with other team members if you are not confident about yourself.

You can find the reading material about design thinking on d.School online portal.

#2. Invest more time understanding the problem you’re going to solve

The best way to understand the problem is to observe the real users and build empathy towards them. This might be a bit hard if you are not familiar with the context of the end users. Then you need to find subject matter experts and work with them in order to get a clear idea about the problem. The most important thing is to share your understanding of the problem with the team. Present it to them in an understandable format. A story board would help.

If you go in to finding solutions without having a thorough understanding about the problem, you might end up solving a wrong problem.

#3. Build confidence among the team about You and Design Thinking

While learning Design Thinking and about it’s concepts, you are building confidence about yourself and your capability of driving the change using Design Thinking. It’s time for you to build confidence about you and Design Thinking among your team. If they do not believe that it would work, it will not work.

The best way to build confidence is to use Design Thinking together to solve one of the real problems they face in day to day life. Solution might fail, but the team will see the process and how it opens up different ways to solve the same problem.

#4. Get the whole team involved

Always define the design challenge together. A team in a software company consists of individuals from various backgrounds. Everyone’s input is really important to understand the limitations of the solutions that you are going to design.

Always make the end users’ problem, the whole team’s problem.

If you throw a solution at the team, they will just work like machines and will have no passion in solving the problem. Whatever you do without any passion will not be a success.

Get everyone’s ideas and let everyone solve the problem in their own way. Then everyone can evaluate the solutions and select the best one or to combine many solutions together to come up with the best solution. After all they will be implementing their own solution.

#5. Make maximum use of time

If you take a lot of time from the team’s busy schedule in order to introduce a new process or a concept, there is a huge chance for people rejecting it. Plan it out well so that it will take minimum time as possible. Go for methods like “Crazy 8” to generate more ideas in less time. Name a decider from the beginning so that the team will not have to spend time wondering what to do when it comes to a point that a decision needs to be made.

#6. Externalize the designs

In other words, share the designs with everyone. This is very important when introducing Design Thinking to an organization which is not design oriented. You can share the designs physically by putting them up on the wall where everybody can see. This way you can get others’ ideas and refine your designs in a completely new way while inspiring others to try different things in the organization.

Even when you create a prototype, first get the team’s feedback on it. Then share it with other teams as well. But do not forget to get the most valuable feedback from the end users :)

#7. Do not be afraid to fail

If you are afraid of failing, you would not try anything new. Making mistakes plays a huge part in design. That is why design is iterative. Learn from your mistakes and do something better.

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