Blog

25
Jan

ReThinking DesignThinking in Madrid

Humantific at TeamLabs

 

GK VanPatter, CoFounder of HUMANTIFIC and NextDesign Leadership Network in New York will give a public talk on ReThinking Design Thinking at the experimental university campus TEAMLABS in Madrid on Wednesday February 7.

The talk will include key findings from the soon to be published book ReThinking Design Thinking. The book is a synthesis of research, commentary and visualizations undertaken over the course of several years as part of the NextD community sensemaking initiative.

The book includes the NextDesign Geographies Framework articulating the arenas of Design 1,2,3,4 as well as an overview of the challenges facing the application of design thinking methods in practice.

“Today the search for and synchronization of tools, methods and skills to increasingly complex problem scale is a quest underway in many disciplines around the world.”  GK VanPatter

For more information see the TeamLabs site here!

16
Jan

ReThinking Design Thinking

Coming Soon!

Long in the making and long overdue, Humantific will publish ReThinking Design Thinking / Understanding the Future That Has Already Arrived coming up in 2018.

Our readers will know that this community sensemaking initiative has spanned numerous years and resulted in many NextD documents, frameworks, blog posts, etc. some of which have been widely published. We decided to formally publish the synthesized key findings of this initiative in this book form that will be available on Amazon soon.

This publication combines observations on the state of design / design thinking methods and includes views into the already arriving, already operating emerging states of next generation design thinking at challenge scales beyond product, service and experience creation.

This book is meant to be a follow up on our previously published book: Innovation Methods Mapping: De-Mystifying 80+ Years of Innovation Process Design.

If you would like to be made aware when this book is published feel free to send us an email: kickitup (at) humantific (dot) com.

PUBLIC PRESENTATION

Rethinking Design Thinking presentation in Madrid

02
Jan

Public Workshop in Copenhagen

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Humantific in Denmark!

At the end of the month Humantific will be in Denmark doing a series of SenseMaking for ChangeMaking events at the Danish School of Media and Journalism. There will be workshops at both the Copenhagen and Arrhus campuses of DMJX.

On January 31 there will be combined presentation, Q&A and mini-workshop open to the public in Copenhagen (geared to the business community). If you are in Copenhagen drop by and say hello!

More info from DMJX on the public event here:
https://billetto.dk/e/master-class-med-humantific-for-dmjx-partnere-billetter-249207

For more information on Humantific SenseMaking and ChangeMaking workshops send us an email: kickitup (at) humantific (dot) com
20
Dec

Design Thinking Defined

DEFINING

MIND THE METHODOLOGY GAP

Hello again Humantific Readers. In this our last post of 2017 we are by popular request reposting our Design Thinking definitions that have previously appeared in many of our previous LinkedIn blog posts.

As the year comes to a close what we see around the subject of Design Thinking in the marketplace is alot of smoke and mirrors occurring that have confused zillions of people. The design community itself has created much of the confusion and unfotunately clarity leadership from the direction of graduate design education in particular has been less then ideal. Many have conflated Design Thinking Philosophy with Design Thinking Methodology, when in reality, one is not the other.

Humantific seems to be among only a few practices stepping up to point out that Design Thinking cannot be defined philosophically as an open aperature problem solving approach if the actual methods are assumption-based presuming/recognizing only product, service and experience challenges and outcomes. It is no secret that many diverse challenges in organizations and in societies exist that have nothing to do with creating more products, services or experiences. Any skilled methodologist can tell you that open apperture methods and assumption-based methods are two different things. They have different starting points and different outcomes.

This seems elementary but in fact is the central confusion in the marketplace presently, due in large measure to the slow methodology R&D adaptation of the graduate design schools over the course of that last decade.  The spinning and selling of philsophy as methodolgy has led to a now widespread Hocus-Pocus effect around the subject of Design Thinking.

The good news is that with organizational leaders becoming more knowledgeable, more savy the Hocus-Pocus Era of Design Thinking is ending. We are optimistic that a new Methodolgy Ethics Era is dawning.

As a practice we are already embracing that era.

[PS: If you are fed up with the Hocus-Pocus Era of Design Thinking and would like to join us in the future feel free to send us an email: kickitup (at) humantific (dot) com]

DEFINITIONS

UPSTREAM IN ORIENTATION:

DESIGN THINKING [Also known as Meta Design Thinking, Strategic Design Thinking and Adaptable Inquiry]

Key Words: Upstream, meta, iterative, human-centered, empathetic, nonlinear, creating, optimizing, insight creation, design research, data/information fueled, visual sensemaking, challenge framing, focus on right challenge, acceleration, adaptive, inclusive.

  1. Is a meta, iterative, nonlinear, holistic, human-centered innovation process.
  2. Oriented towards multiple participant, cross-disciplinary cocreation.
  3. Begins with no preconceived assumptions regarding what the challenges, and opportunities are.
  4. Begins upstream in Opportunity Challenge Definition Phase.
  5. Begins with a fuzzy situation to be defuzzed.
  6. Contains empathetic research insight creation that informs challenge framing and opportunities for changemaking.
  7. Recognizes that a constellation of diverse challenges likely exist simultaneously that can be visually mapped.
  8. Contains a high degree of empathetic visual sensemaking that shapes insights for accelerated digestion by all participants.
  9. Contains the surfacing and orchestration of participant innovation behaviors.
  10. Contains the surfacing and orchestration of participant cognitive thinking style preferences.
  11. Like a Swiss army knife, is adaptive to various challenge types found in organizational and societal contexts.
  12. Serves as human-centered, adaptive toolkit/skill-set in the pursuit of organizational adaptive capacity building.

DOWNSTREAM IN ORIENTATION:

PRODUCT/SERVICE/EXPERIENCE DESIGN THINKING

Key Words: Downstream, situational, iterative, human-centered, empathetic, nonlinear, insight creation, sensemaking, acceleration, creating, optimizing, products, services, experiences.

  1. Is a situational, iterative, nonlinear, holistic product/service/experience creation process.
  2. Oriented towards a project team, or teams creating products/services/experiences.
  3. Begins with preconceived assumptions that the challenges or opportunities are product/service/experience related and will be outcomes.
  4. Begins downstream in product/service/experience Opportunity Challenge Definition Phase.
  5. Most often begins with a predefined product/service/experience brief.
  6. Contains empathetic research focused on insight creation that informs the creation of products/services/experiences.
  7. Recognizes product/service/experience challenges.
  8. Might contain a high degree of empathetic visual sensemaking that shapes insights for accelerated digestion by all participants.
  9. Most often contains no surfacing or orchestration of innovation behaviors.
  10. Most often contains no surfacing and orchestration of cognitive thinking style preferences.
  11. Like a hammer, screwdriver and wrench. Each applicable situationally to product, service or experience challenges.
  12. Can serve as a useful toolkit/skill-set in the pursuit of product/service/experience creation capacity building.

Hope this is useful to many.

Happy Holidays Humantific readers and goodluck to all!

 

Related:

Humantific: Methodology Ethics: Embracing a New Era 2017

Humantific: Making Sense of “Why Design Thinking Will Fail” 2017

Humantific: Clarifying Design ThinkingL Forbes vs Humantific 2017

Humantific: Making Sense of Design Thinking & Agile Method 2017

Humantific: Making Sense of “Design Thinking is Bullshit” 2017

Humantific: Is Service Design Confused?

Humantific: Innovation Process Design: Overcoming Common Missteps

Innovation Methods Mapping: De-Mystifying 80+ Years of Innovation Process Design 2016

 

06
Dec

Future Work Skills Academy Launching

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10 Future Work Skills

Humantific is delighted to participate in the soon to be launched Future Work Skills Academy being organized by the talented folks at the 4th Industrial Revolution. Getting set to launch is a new virtual learning platform uniquely focused on teaching the 10 Future Work Skills identified in the study by the Institute for the Future in California.

Those skills include:

SenseMaking

Adaptive Thinking

Transdisciplinarity

Design Mindset

Computational Thinking

Social Intelligence

Cognitive Load Management

New Media Literacy

Cross Cultrual Competency

Virtual Collaboration

Humatific CoFounder Elizabeth Pastor will be teaching the SenseMaking module in virtual classroom form, as part of the Future Work Skills Academy faculty.

You can see the program description here:

Fouth Industral Revolution: Future Work Skills Academy

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If you would like to invite Humantific to particpate in your organizations future work skills capacity building initiative send us an email: engage (at) humantific (dot) com.

 

Images Credit:

Photo Image by 4th Industrial Revolution. Diagram by Instiute of the Future.

06
Dec

Future Work Skills 2020

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Many of our Humantific clients work with us building next generation adaptive, changemaking capacity and are thus interested in the subject of future work skills.

Being involved in this arena for many years we recognize that there are multiple views of what the “Fourth Industrial Revolution” will bring and or require regarding future work skills. We are interested in all of those perspectives and often see commonalities between them.

We were delighted to see this version of Future Work Skills 2020 published as a top ten list by the World Economic Forum includes Complex Problem Solving, Creativity, Cognitive Flexibility, Ccordinating with Others and Emotional Intelligence.

The good news is that Humantific’s Complexity Navigation Program is geared towards teaching key future work skills that are also extremaly useful in the present!

You can read the World Economic Forum article here:

The 10 skills you need to thrive in the Fourth Industrial Revolution”

The World Economic Forum Report: The Future of Jobs can be read or downloaded here

For more information on Future Work Skills capacity building send us an email: engage (at) humantific (dot) com

See Humantific Case Studies here!

Coming Soon: 4th Industrial Revolution: Future Work Skills Academy 

22
Nov

Portrait of LA County Published

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Arriving Next Week!

Interested in Data-Driven Journalism? Next in its series of pioneering societal sensemaking publications Measure of America has wrapped up it’s Portrait of Los Angles County. It will be published and launched next week!

ABOUT THIS REPORT

“This report is the culmination of a nearly two-year collaboration project involving over one hundred Angelenos from all corners of the county. sectors and walks of life. Portrait of Los Angeles County is an exploration of how LA County residents are faring. It examines well-being and access to opportunity using the human development framework and index, presenting American Human Development Index scores for LA County places and demographic groups and examining a range of critical issues, including health, education, living standards, environmental justice, housing, homelessness, violence, and inequality.”

Humantific has been working in partnership with Measure of America since its first publication in 2008. Other publications include Portrait of Louisiana, Portrait of California and the national Measure of America Report. From the outset we loved the idea of this important data-driven work informing much needed policy level societal changemaking in the United States.

backcover

ABOUT MEASURE OF AMERICA

“Measure of America is a nonpartisan project of the Social Science Research Council. It creates easy-to-use yet methodologically sound tools for understanding well-being and opportunity in America and stimulates fact-based dialogue about these issues. Through hard copy and online reports, interactive maps, and custom-built dashboards, Measure of America works closely with partners to breathe life into numbers, using data to identify areas of need, pinpoint levers for change, and track progress over time. Kristen Lewis and Sarah Burd-Sharps are co-founders of Measure of America and co-authors of The Measure of America series of national, state, and county reports. They both previously worked on human development issues in countries around the world.”

To download the Portrait of Los Angles County (next week) go here:

Previous Measure of America reports can be found here:

07
Nov

Methodology Ethics

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Embracing a New Era

Humantific CoFounder GK VanPatter posts to his LinkedIn blog:

Hello again Humantific readers. This weeks tricky topic: Ethics in the context of design thinking. While reading a recent thread posted by someone in one of the LinkedIn Design Thinking groups on the topic of industry ethics I started to write a few comments on this always difficult subject. The tiny “comments” box was too small for my text so I will make this into a brief blog post here. Yes, somewhat by this accident I started writing about a subject that has been percolating in the back of my mind for some time. It is something that occurred to us when we were working on our recently published book: Innovation Methods Mapping: Demystifying 80+ Years of Innovation Process Design.

The topic of community ethics is a rather dry but important one and I was somewhat surprised by the focus of that Design Thinking group thread in which these questions were initially asked: What is the ethical grounding of design and design thinking? This includes what work one chooses to do as well as how one approaches the actual design. Are designers responsible for the ethics of their [output] designs?”

See the entire post here:

Methodology Ethics

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

26
Oct

SenseMaking Rising

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Beyond Data Visualization

Humantific CoFounder GK VanPatter posts to his LinkedIn blog:

Visual SenseMaking continues to rise and for us that’s all good news. Some of our Humantific readers will know that long before the “Big Data” wave arrived, Elizabeth Pastor and I first presented on the subject of how information informs innovation at a Cooper Hewitt Design Museum conference, here in New York City in 2001.

Since that time, we have learned more and more by working with organizational leaders using visualized information as fuel to help tackle complex challenges and drive change. By 2001 we already knew that SenseMaking in an innovation context involves more then just making sense of data. 🙂

The secret sauce of Humantific has always been the combination of SenseMaking and ChangeMaking, how to integrate various forms of insight directly into the cocreation or innovation process.

Being engaged in this work for a prolonged period of time certainly accelerated our understanding early on, regarding how methods need to change in order to be reflective of this information-based fuel. Writing an R&D type book on the history of innovation methods helped to drive home this realization. 🙂

For us the vast overblown overemphasis on “Big Data” has been a bit of a side show distraction but realization is finally emerging in the marketplace that data itself is not a magic bullet. Unless you widen the inputs beyond just data and integrate those insights into to a learnable changemaking process, nothing much is going to occur with just the data visualized.

In our Humantific work, data is not the king of the castle but rather is recognized as one form or one dimension of insight that we want to weave into the SenseMaking puzzle. In our Humantific practice we created the 5 Dimension model of SenseMaking that includes the integration of upstream framing, ie; making sense of the challenge or opportunity space……

What we are teaching is how to operate and move forward constructively in contexts where the challenges and opportunities are uncertain.

What we are not teaching is downstream assumption-based Design Thinking methods. By 2001 we had already figured out that in the context of complex organizational and societal contexts, assuming up front that you know what the challenges are does not make much sense.

Participants in our Complexity Navigation skill-building program receive this workbook. We are trying to decide whether we should publish a public version of this book this year so if you would like to send us your vote feel free!

See the entire post here:

SEnse1

01
Oct

DesignThinking Arguments Roundup

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Making Sense of  “Design Thinking is Bullshit”

Humantific CoFounder GK VanPatter posts to his LinkedIn blog:

Hello Humantific readers. Summer is winding down here in New York City and a new season peaks around the corner. This week we are sharing some reflection that we undertook during the summer regarding the near and dear slippery topic of Design Thinking. Between client projects we were reflecting on the nature of various arguments seen over the last few years. As a company we don’t actually sell Design Thinking but the founders of Humantific come from design backgrounds and the changing nature of design remains central to our practice.

Those of us who have, in addition to presenting at conferences, also been participating in community discussions here on the global LinkedIn platform, seen a lot of proverbial water pass under the Design / Design Thinking bridge since the fire-hose of discussions began numerous years ago, particularly online. As a steady stream of new people have entered the subject terrain and old-hands decide, for one reason or another, to weigh in from various directions, arguments tend to appear, reappear and rereappear. At this point, a vast avalanche of arguments pro, con, and somewhere in between are well known to many of us.

In our reflection we were thinking that a little roundup of arguments and some analysis might be useful to share at summers end when several readers directed our attention to a presentation made recently by Pentagram’s Natasha Jen provocatively entitled “DesignThinking is Bullshit”.

Forceful, critique oriented and dramatically delivered, we noticed that inside the Pentagram presentation were numerous argument streams that have appeared at various moments in the online discussion groups over the past few years along with a few not seen before. Not sure exactly what the intention was meant to be but Pentagram was now in 2017 tabling one specific set of neighborhood assumptions and the interconnected arguments in high-profile conference presentation form.

I was reminded of how diverse the design community of communities is in all its richness, certainy and uncertainty, understandings and misunderstandings, perfections and imperfections. Clearly the certainties of one design neighborhood can become very uncertain when transferred to another.

Without the understanding that different design neighborhoods, tackling different scales of challenges with different methods do now exist the picture around Design Thinking commentaries could look very confusing.

Digesting all of that we decided it might be most useful to our readers at this point in time if we published our Design Thinking Arguments Roundup as an alternate perspective on the subject. Not meant to be Pentagram vs Humantific this is more like Many Others + Pentagram + Humantific…:-)

Indeed we discovered that there was a certain cathartic relief in divergently assembling the roundup, instead of focusing on agreeing with or debating one or two arguments. We were guessing that gathering and setting multiple arguments in context might in itself bring some new perspective. We wondered what that writing on the wall might look like.

During the roundup assembly we noted that some arguments have been around for a long time while others are recently arriving. Some arguments are well known to be deeply embedded in the design community. Others are being imported from outside by various parties entering the now extremely activated subject terrain.

Some are strategic arguments while others are focused on tactics. Some suggest challenges, some deny or deflect them. Some offer critism while others suggest solutions. Many are neighborhood specific while others are universal. Some are funny, odd, or nonsensical, while others are seriously serious. Some arguments make no sense at all.

Many have significant implications for both practice and education that are not always widely understood by everyone in the moment. Some arguments have caught fire and gained traction while others were completely ignored by various constituents. Many arguments appearing here we do not subscribe to at Humantific but we are certainly aware of their presence in marketplace conversations.

What became clear in creating this Design Thinking Arguments Roundup is that the subject of Design Thinking remains quite a mess and will likely stay that way for some time as many different parties, with often-conflicting business interests are now, for better or for worse, involved in impacting the conversation.

Right now in 2017 the topic of Design Thinking seems to have evolved from the initial idealized uptake years and is now in the more difficult, more critical; lets see how the rubber hits the road phase..:-) In this phase too, the various arguments keep piling up.

It seems probable that our readers will recognize many, perhaps not all, of these arguments. Suffice it to say that if you want to be involved in a simple, tidy, straight-forward subject, Design Thinking isn’t it!

At the end of this post, as part of this sensemaking exercise we take a shot at mapping the 50 arguments along with 10 Humantific arguments in hope that the story of the arguments in total is perhaps more important then any one argument. It seems likely that many additional arguments do exist.

PS: It’s good and indeed useful to take a deep breath and have a robust sense of humor before reading these 60 argument summaries. Some are rather bumpy. Hope this is useful. Enjoy! 🙂

Design Thinking Arguments Roundup 2017:

ARGUMENTSROUNDUP