Blog

09
Aug

Virtual Visual SenseMaking

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In the Recording Studio

Humantific’s E. Pastor and GK. VanPatter having a few laughs working in the studio recording the new Visual SenseMaking virtual course as part of the new Future Work Skills Academy in collaboration with our friends at 4th Industrial Revolution.

Big thanks to Donna Eiby for all her amazing guidance and support in this new adventure. Designing and delivering virtual learning programs is hard work!

Virtual Visual SenseMaking Coming Soon!

Send us an email if you would like to be advised when this program launches. kickitup (at) humantific (dot) com

 

04
Aug

Design Thinking Futures [Part 2]

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PART 2 of 2:

GK VanPatter in conversation with Rafiq Elmansy

Rafiq Elmansy: What is your advice to design students in order to help to prepare themselves for the future business challenges?

GK VanPatter: In speaking at various graduate schools what we suggest in general is to look forward not backward. It is great and useful to understand design history and appreciate various design heroes but understand that the marketplace is in forward motion. The arenas of design are changing. First and foremost think carefully about what scale of challenges you are most interested in. There are serious methodology and skill building implications because there is not just one design thinking.

If you want to work on logo and poster size challenges then a 100% invisible, intuitive process might be perfect for you and that arena. If you want to work in the context of organizational change-making or societal change-making where there is high complexity and many disciplines typically involved then more process skill is going to be required. Understand that the diverse worlds of design focused at different scales of challenges, with their various neighborhood heroes, all have their strongly held opinions regarding the process or lack thereof. That will never change. You have to decide which neighborhood, which arena makes the most sense for you to belong to.

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To new generation folks, we also suggest thinking practically, realistically about which scale arena is growing and which is shrinking. Not often discussed in the graduate design schools is that some arenas are growing and some have already rapidly shrunk due to globalization. Some of your old design heroes might have practiced in a now greatly reduced in size arena.

Globalization has ravaged the fee structure of Design 1 and is on its way to doing the same with Design 2, product, service and experience creation. Thus Design 1 is a shrinking commoditized arena while Design 3 and 4 are growing arenas with vastly different fee structures. In part, this explains the movement in that direction by all the major design consultancies as well as the graduate business schools and their graduates.

The tricky part is those arenas also involve different skills and methods.

See the entire Part 2 of the interview here:

01
Aug

Double Diamond Method

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Understanding What was Missed

Humantific CoFounder GK VanPatter posts to his LinkedIn blog: Hello again Humantific readers. This week we are taking a short look at one of the most blogged about historical design community process models and that is the infamous Double Diamond circa 2005.

Recently I saw someone on LinkedIn offering up a critique of Double Diamond pointing out deficiencies and suggesting that Triple Diamond is really the solution today. :-) Others in the design community have offered a zillion redrawn versions of Double Diamond sometimes oddly grafting up to 14 steps within two diamond shapes. There seems to be an endless supply of blog posts on this subject, many coming from within the design community.

Of course method design experimentation can be wonderful AND what we find often missing from this particular exploration is any kind of meaningful historical context. To coin a popular knowledge management community phrase; it seems that often the Double Diamond experimenters do not know what they don’t know in terms of methods history. Never a great idea is designing innovation methods in a historical vacuum. :-)

See the entire post here on LinkedIn.

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27
Jul

Design Thinking Futures [Part 1]

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PART 1 of 2:

GK VanPatter in conversation with Rafiq Elmansy

Rafiq Elmansy: In one of your articles, MAKING SENSE OF: “Why Design Thinking Will Fail,” you classified design thinking into upstream and downstream design thinking. Can you clarify this taxonomy for our readers?

GK VanPatter: Yes certainly. We see a lot of articles online like the now infamous “Why Design Thinking Will Fail” post that you referred to. Our response, posted to LinkedIn contains a reference to the situation that I just referred to above. The impact of the methodology mess that now exists becomes clear in that article. (See link below.)

Regarding upstream and downstream, we created this distinction as one part of a larger taxonomy while researching and writing our recently published book Innovation Methods Mapping to convey important differences in methodologies. In the book, readers can see and make use of the entire taxonomy as a reusable analysis framework. Our goal in creating the analysis lens is not jargon-making but rather to introduce considerations and meaning not previously present.

The terms upstream and downstream relate to the assumed starting points of the methodology. Upstream means upstream from the “brief”, which is a framed or semi-framed challenge. In upstream contexts, one cannot and does not assume to know what the challenges actually might be. Part of the work is to create the interconnected constellation of challenges, often seen for the first time. The everyday context for upstream is complex organizations and societies where many types of challenges tend to exist. Why would anyone assume all challenges on the planet are product or service related? From our open innovation perspective that makes no sense at all.

Downstream is the brief business where much of the traditional design industries (and graduate design schools) have been focused for decades. Most often in downstream methods, the assumption is that the challenge to be addressed is pre-assumed to be related to product, service or experience design regardless of what the challenges actually might be.

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Both upstream and downstream methods are useful. The problems arise when downstream methods are force-fitted into upstream contexts. Today in a competitive marketplace, whether we all like it or not, many graduate design schools are, due to their slow adaptation over a decade, out pitching the quick-fix notion that down is up, that downstream methods are universal, that downstream methods are meta design. That is more about marketing than methodologies. This spin pitching has contributed, not to the making sense of the subject, but rather to the mountain of confusion that now exists and continues to grow. Ultimately that spin will likely undermine the credibility of those advocates, but hopefully not the subject and the interest in adaptive skills.

What we find is that the methodology related sensemaking that we do is welcomed by many and not appreciated by some who would prefer that these differences not be pointed out. Not everyone is going to be a fan of more clarity around the subject of design/design thinking. So be it.

See the entire Part 1 of the interview here:

13
Jul

Crediting “How Might We?”

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Humantific CoFounder GK VanPatter posts to his LinkedIn blog: “Hello again Humantific readers. In the spirit of proper crediting and on behalf of Dr. Sid Parnes [1922-2013] we are returning again to this slippery subject. It keeps popping up and up! An often seen crediting error that seems to keep repeating itself over and over again in the business community media, now in the government community media is in reference to where the now widely used invitation stem How Might We? came from.

Humantific readers will already know it came from Dr. Sid Parnes not IDEO.

Sid is no longer around to speak up for himself and IDEO never seems to step forward to correct the often appearing misdirected crediting. We have ourselves written extensively on this subject crediting Sid.

The most recent appearance of this misdirected crediting can be seen here in this article entitled “The Three Words That Make Brainstorming Sessions at Google, Facebook and IDEO More Productive” appearing on July 10, 2017 in the publication “Government Executive” written by Leah Fessler.

To be fair to Dr. Parnes we have repeatedly pointed out that How Might We? actually has its roots in the CPS (Creative Problem Solving) community, not the design community. Sid is internationally recognized as a pioneering figure in that community of practice. His contributions are many.

“How Might We?” “How Might I” and “In What Ways Might We?” were all first introduced publically some fifty years ago by Sid Parnes in his groundbreaking book Creative Behavior Guidebook published in 1967.”

See the entire post here on GK’s Linkedin Blog!

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28
Jun

Clarifying “Design Thinking”

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Forbes vs Humantific

Humantific CoFounder, GK VanPatter offers Humantific readers a deeper level of leadership understanding on the murky subject of “Design Thinking”:

“A recent article appearing in Forbes entitled “Design Thinking: Your Next Competitive Advantage” reminded us that the mountain of confusion around the subject continues to grow. Most articles on the subject of Design Thinking appearing in the business media are well intentioned but many miss the mark, adding to the public confusion on this subject. This seems to be occurring for several different, often overlapping reasons:

A: Many authors assume their specific neighborhood perspectives apply to all aspects of the Design / Design Thinking community, when they don’t. There is no one Design Thinking. Different parts of the design community are engaged in vastly different types and scales of challenges. Working on posters, toothbrushes or applications is vastly different from transforming organizations or problem solving in communities.

B: There is a constant self-reinforcing stream of overly simplistic depictions of Design Thinking in the media which parrot the promotional literature of the graduate design schools whether it makes any sense in the real world or not.

C: Often historical figures are quoted from eras when the operational arenas of design were much less strategic and considerably narrower then they are today. Some historical quotes no longer apply. Others are flat-out incorrect. As design knowledge expands some of these popular old quotes remain relevant while others fall away.

On the one hand it would be easy for us to jump on and go along with the promotional parroting train around Design Thinking but none of that is really advancing leadership level understanding of the subject.

For our Humantific readers we want to offer more. In the interest of clarity for our readers we offer here a different perspective on several dimensions of Design Thinking that were referenced recently in the Forbes article.”

Read the complete post on GK’s LinkedIn Blog.

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26
Jun

Future Work Skills Academy

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Coming Soon!

Humantific’s Elizabeth Pastor will be the Skills Coach for the SenseMaking portion of a new virtual learning program being organized by The 4th Industrial Revolution and designed around Future Work Skills 2020. Among our clients we see considerable interest in on-boarding Future Work Skills.

The 4th Industrial Revolution is a digital platform that brings together the world’s leading contemporary thinkers and practitioners in the 10 skills identified by the Institute for the Future’s (IFTF) 2011 report: Future Workskills 2020. The goal is to enable you to find and refine the humanness that sets you apart from machines. In a computational world where the rise and rise of the machine continues unabated the 4IR.org provides a key to unlock  your potential as a human being and find your place in the workforce of the future.”

“We do this through 30 Masterclasses – online, using the latest training techniques and technologies. And available to you 24/7 to be consumed as you want it, when you want it.”

Elizabeth will be sharing her insights as an cross-disciplinary innovation leader, designer, facilitator and educator with a unique expertise in Visual SenseMaking and Strategic Co-Creation.

See the overview here: http://ow.ly/y6LV306OddW

For more information send us an email: kickitup (at) humantific (dot) com

For information on Humantific’s Complexity Navigation Program containing skill-building in Strategic CoCreation, Design Research & Visual SenseMaking see here.

05
Jun

Data Visualization 1817

20170605090658_00001We love sharing the amazing history of Statistical Diagraming later called Information Design…later called Data Visualization. Also called Visual SenseMaking (broader subject).

This is a series of diagrams from Geographia Sacra 1817 published by Robert Wilkinson in London. We are most interested in HOW the diagrams were being made in that early era 200 years ago!

Above shows: Early “Chrono-Genealogical Chart” of the “Second Age of the World” showing the “Origins of Languages” Geographia Sacra 1817 Humantific Collection New York City.

20170605104419_00001“Chrono-Genealogical Chart” of the “Third Age of the World” Geographia Sacra 1817 Humantific Collection New York City.

20170605104450_00001“Chrono-Genealogical Chart” of the “Fifth Age of the World” Geographia Sacra 1817 Humantific Collection New York City.

RELATED:

HUMANTIFIC: Making Sense of the Early SenseMakers

HUMANTIFIC: Lost Stories in Information Design History

HUMANTIFIC: Making Sense of: “What Killed The Infographic?”

HUMANTIFIC: SENSEMAKING: The Karl Weick Question

HUMANTIFIC: Isotype: Building Bridges

HUMANTIFIC: Data Visualization 1890

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

23
May

Philanthropy Metrics Workshop

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Bringing together leaders from the world’s largest companies driving societal investment strategies, the annual Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy (CECP) Summit is underway here in New York City.

Humantific was invited to design and this afternoon will deliver a hands-on interactive session leading Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) leaders through a series of activities focused on resourcing and accelerating corporate responsibility in their organizations.  Today Corporate Social Responsibility leadership often requires a reporting style that is concise and shows return on investment.

Lead by Humantific’s Elizabeth Pastor and Amanda Greenough the session helps participants rapidly make sense of CECP’s industry-leading guidance for scorecards and better understand the role that data driven insight metrics can play in helping to gain traction specifically with senior leaders and CEO’s.

How do you find your vital few metrics that show visible value?

Exploring this question is the focus of this interactive Humantific workshop session.

 

30
Mar

Visual SenseMaking in Context

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Elizabeth Pastor’s new LinkedIn post clarifies important differences between Visual SenseMaking and Graphic Recording.

“We have been practicing Visual SenseMaking at Humantific since our inception in 2001, and I have personally been practicing it for 20+ years. About 10 years ago, there was a boom in visual thinking. We see this interest continuing to rise in how visual thinking can contribute to complex change-making in organizations and societies. We are happy campers!

However, what has come with that rise of visual thinking is also confusion regarding the value and differences between various visualization techniques and approaches.

In this short post, I will share how we see the key differences between Visual SenseMaking and the popular activity known as Graphic Recording. Both add value but they do so in very different ways. One is not the other.”

AAEAAQAAAAAAAAvAAAAAJDQ4ZjY1MTU5LWU3NDAtNGU5OC1hYmUyLTRhMzIxNGRkODI0YgSee the entire post on LinkedIn here: