Tag: Evidence Based Innovation

22
Nov

Making Sense of Service Design

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Service Design Thinking: Confusion or Clarity?

Humantific CoFounder GK VanPatter has published another post in his popular ongoing “Making Sense Series.”

“Clarity or lack there-of is something that is often difficult to talk about in the design / design thinking community. Not everyone in the community of design communities is up for clarity. Lack of clarity often leads to a confused public. At the moment, mountains of confusion around the subject of design and design thinking exist publicly.”

“Contributing to the confusion we recently noted the UK Government’s launch of its “Design Principles”.

It is really none of our business but from a methods perspective, there seems to be some confused logic there.

Some enlightened person in the UK might ask:

Are these meant to be Digital Service Design Principles, Service Design Principles or Design Principles?

How did you get from “Design Principles” to “Don’t make assumptions” and “make things open” to “Service design starts with identifying user needs.”

Who said anything about presuming, predetermining that the challenges are service related?

This is an assumption often seen in service design logic.”

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Read the full post on LinkedIn here:

 

Related:

Making Sense of Design Thinking & Agile Method

Making Sense of “Why Design Thinking Will Fail.”

Building Strategic Innovation Lab Capabilities

Enabling Organizational Ambidexterity

26
Sep

Design Learning Imperative

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We appreciated the on-target blog post by Daniel Araya and Heather McGowan citing the need for broader recognition of a Design Learning Imperative.

Araya and McGowan touch on and recognize many themes well know in the organizational culture building business including: continuous change, adaptability, agility, problem finding, problem framing, innovation, opportunities, and design learning.

“The truth is that we can no longer afford to focus on graduating learners armed only with predetermined skills and (already existing) knowledge. The workforce is becoming far too global, too digital, and increasingly too self-employed. We must instead refocus on cultivating creativity, to include not only problem solving, but also problem finding and problem framing. Students and learners need experience with exploration, discovery, re-orientation, and most importantly, design thinking.

Evidently not so well known by the authors is the tricky part of design thinking methodology realities today. The attributes described by Araya and McGowan are those not of downstream situational design thinking methods where the vast majority of the graduate design schools remain focused, but rather of upstream meta design thinking methods where a still relatively small community of practices, some of which have executive skill-building academies themselves exist.

The starting points for upstream and downstream methods are quite different.

We could not agree more that challenge framing is extremely important but the fact is that teaching proactive upstream problem framing in the context of complex fuzzy challenges still remains relatively rare in the graduate design schools. Don’t ask the graduate design schools but the downstream situational methods have challenge type and solution type assumptions baked within. Upstream methods begin with no preconceived challenge or solution paths.

We certainly agree with Araya’s and McGowan’s observation: “Navigating this terrain requires adaptation and re-orientation.” This includes graduate design education itself.

Related Reading:

Making Sense of Design Thinking & “Agile” Method

Making Sense of “Why Design Thinking Will Fail”

NextDesign Futures Library

When [Old Design Thinking] LOVE is Not Enough

 

 

03
Aug

Making Sense of Design Thinking

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Making Sense of Design Thinking & “Agile” Method

Humantific CoFounder GK VanPatter just published another post in his popular ongoing “Making Sense Series.”

“Many organizational leaders have become a tad confused as various parties pitch methods in a competitive marketplace that now includes the graduate business schools and graduate design schools seeking to reposition themselves as innovation advisory consultancies..:-)”

“In this brief post, with an objective towards advocating clarity, we share how, from a practice based methods perspective, Humantific differentiates between Design Thinking methods, Product/Service/Experience Design Thinking methods and Agile methods. While they all add value, they each add different forms of value applicable to different contexts.

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Read the post on LinkedIn here:

Related:

Making Sense of “Why Design Thinking Will Fail.”

Building Strategic Innovation Lab Capabilities

Enabling Organizational Ambidexterity

05
Jan

HAPPY NEW YEAR FRIENDS!

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We are looking forward to working with our many existing clients as well as new ones in 2015!

Subscribe to Humantific quarterly.

Follow us on Facebook [we often post unique content there].

Follow us on Twitter.

For project and or collaboration inquiries send us an email: programs (at) humantific (dot) com

19
Nov

A Portrait of California 2014-2015

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Humantific for Good is delighted to announce the publication of A Portrait of California 2014-2015. This amazing series from Measure of America is transforming the role that data informed visual sensemaking and insight creation are playing in policy making and change making.

Since 2006 Humantific for Good has been working with Measure of America, an initiative of the Social Science Research Council.

“Portrait of California 2014-2015 brings together data, innovative analysis, the American HD Index and visual sensemaking to enable engaging “apples-to-apples” comparisons of California’s counties, major cities, 265 Census Bureau–defined areas, women and men, and racial and ethnic groups.”

Created by authors Sarah Burd-Sharps and Kristen Lewis, A Portrait of California 2014-2015 is part of Measure of America social sensemaking book series as well as related conversations and interactive tools.

CONSORTIUM OF FUNDERS

Blue Shield of California Foundation
California Community Foundation
Conrad N. Hilton Foundation
Humantific For Good
The California Endowment
The James Irvine Foundation
The Ralph M. Parsons Foundation
United Ways of California
Weingart Foundation

Key Findings in A Portrait of California 2014-2015:

“Income inequality is in the headlines these days. But to focus on inequality in income alone is to take a narrow view of the problem. Mutually reinforcing inequalities in health, education, environment, neighborhood conditions, wealth, and political power have created an opportunity divide that higher wages alone cannot bridge.

If California were a country, it would rank thirty-fourth in the world by population and eighth by the size of its economy—big enough for a seat at the G8. So what happens in California has national, and even international, significance.

This 2014–2015 update of the 2011 California report allows us to compare outcomes from one place to another and to look at changes over time. The result is a comprehensive reference tool and a critical starting point for informed discussions on change making policy solutions.”

Related:

 Breathing Life into Numbers

Portrait of Sonoma County Launches

SenseMaking for ChangeMaking

29
Apr

Data Visualization as Innovation Fuel

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Contributing recently to the Markets for Good blog, Humantific CoFounder GK VanPatter wrote Data Visualization Meets CoCreation.

In this brief paper GK suggests to the philathropic community, taking advantage of what leading business organizations have already learned: that innovation involves equal amounts of challenge framing, idea-making and decision-making. Improving decision-making is not in itself, a formula for enabling cross-disciplinary innovation.

GK suggests moving beyond just data visualization and decision-making to utilize sense-making visualizations as fuel for cocreated innovation. In the organizations that Humantific works with sense-making visualizations are already playing key roles in every phase of the change-making process from the early fuzzy situation stages through to ideation and implementation.Continue Reading..

19
Dec

Beyond Brainstorming

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What Humantific Clients Already Know…

Andy Warhol was once asked in an interview what he thought about Jasper Johns. Andy replied that he thought Jasper was great. The interviewer then asked why he thought so. Andy replied, “Because he makes great lunches.”

Well that’s kind of a good way to think about brainstorming too. Practitioners of team facilitation with years of experience can see value in brainstorming and like Andy’s perspective shift on Jasper, probably not from the direction that you might expect and certainly not for the reasons being endlessly debated in the mainstream media these days.

Here at Humantific we often ask ourselves; what’s the big deal about brainstorming? Other than driving attention to websites what’s the hullabaloo in the media all about? The topic seems to translate into a lot of dogs chasing tails when with a little more context, a little more insight, that energy could be better invested elsewhere.

As we have pointed out to our readers on this blog several times: In this innovation enabling industry; “It is widely recognized that brainstorming has not been considered a stand-alone creative methodology or technique since the late 1950s. No leading innovation consultancy that we know of [including Humantific] uses any version of brainstorming as a standalone method.”

In most practice-based innovation skill-building programs, including Humantific Academy, brainstorming in its various reinvented forms is considered introductory skill, boot camp level knowledge. Once organizational leaders are engaged in their innovation journey they rapidly see that serious innovation capacity building is like building a house. Saying brainstorming is ineffective is akin to saying a hammer doesn’t work to build a house. Clearly you are going to need more than a hammer! Yes indeed you will need to conceive of the house design before you start building and once under way you will need an arsenal of tools in your innovation toolbox not just a hammer. In addition to a great design and multiple tools, you need the deep knowledge of the house building process. No organizational leader that we work with today operates under the assumption that mastering brainstorming is going to get the innovation job done.

To build that innovation house will not only require a variety of tools, you will also need to know how to use them effectively. As a skilled cocreation facilitator, you should have many tools and know how and when to use them. Walking around as a hammer is not very effective. As an innovation leader what you want to have in your back pocket is more like a Swiss-army-knife.

For seasoned facilitation practitioners the key to extracting the value of brainstorming is to understand its ingredients, its DNA, the ‘what’s inside’ part and then know what is needed to reconfigure those elements in ways that bring to bear their full power. Experienced practitioners know how to get at the key ingredients and how to reformulate their value in the context of everyday work. This is “the great lunch” of brainstorming.

Years after brainstorming was created, Alex Osborn and Sid Parnes had already embarked on that reformulation road when they shifted towards a more powerful mash-up that included what we now refer to as root behaviors that operate inside an adaptable framework that is focused, not on ideation but rather moves from fuzzy front end through to implementation and today measurement. Osborn and Parnes recognized early on that much more than brainstorming was going to be required. Don’t miss that turn in the road.

Shift and build, shift and build more or less describes the continuous cycle of knowledge construction that has been occurring ever since. Many experts and non-experts have made contributions to that ever-evolving knowledge field at the center of this hybrid community of practice. If you miss all the shifting and building that has occurred it is unlikely that you will understand what’s needed and what’s possible today.

At this point, many additional tools, instruments, techniques, refinements and ways of working have been added or subtracted to that knowledge soup. Of course the hammer itself has also been redesigned many, many times and is today a shadow of its original self. For this reason, we don’t expend energy re-debating the effectiveness of the 1953 perspective as it has long ago been superseded.

From the early pioneering days of addressing relatively simple challenges to the current era of tackling highly complex fuzzy situations, integrating upstream framing and data/information visualization, there are two things that have remained constant. However you choose to slice and dice all of those many knowledge additions the principles of skills and behaviors remain key elements today.

It is mastery of root innovation behavior orchestration in the context of multiple disciplines that holds the possibility for organizations to create sustainable adaptive cultures today. Unless you are up for the long, painful route to house building, don’t miss that key ingredient.  Even if you seek to put your house on wheels or attach wings, a strong foundational platform is crucial to its success. In sustainable innovation culture construction everything builds from foundational root behaviors. It sounds easy. It’s the getting there that takes the real work.

If your organizations’ goal is to build capacity for proactive innovation, changemaking, adaptability, flexibility, fluxability, resilience, whatever you choose to call that, you will want to set your sights far beyond the capacity to simply generate ideas. Forward thinking leaders in every industry are busy on-boarding advanced innovation skills to the point where having them has already become an essential component in many next generation leadership programs. The truth is root behavior mastery is foundational to many advanced innovation skills. Mastering those behaviors individually and collectively represents an important step along the skills progression ladder, not the current end state of innovation capacity-building today.

Thanks again for the perspective shifts Mr. Warhol. Lets all have a great lunch on Andy today!

GK VanPatter & Janet Getto

Humantific’s 3 Universal Beyond Brainstorming Principles:

1. BrainFraming Preceeds BrainStorming

Unless you have undertaken some form of upstream framing with multiple participants there is a 75% chance that your brainstorm is being focused in the wrong direction, at the wrong altitude on the wrong problem. Before you begin, back-up and make sure you are pointing your brainstorm in the right direction. Conscious real-time participatory reframing is now possible. Understanding context of the challenge precedes getting to a strategic and meaningful launch point for ideation.

2. Everyday Innovation Trumps Brainstorming

Don’t wait for special occasion “brainstorming sessions” to skill your team from a behavioral perspective. Embed mastery of generative thinking as separate to evaluative thinking as one root behavior in your everyday innovation learning program. Do the work to understand that the behaviors appear in every meeting, in every organization, in every industry, in every country, everyday. Make an investment in understanding the dynamics of everyday innovation.

3. Practical Realizations Trump Media Slogans

Forget the endless sloganeering being generated in the media to attract readers. Stay grounded in real needs and practical realizations. Connect root behaviors directly into your already existing corporate values. If you have identified diversity and innovation as among your values you are half-way home. Now do the work to figure out how root behaviors are connected to these values. Doing such work represents a much smarter investment than reading yet another armchair experts blog post on “Let’s Kill Brainstorming”. Lets understand what trumps what and keep moving forward beyond individual techniques and towards inclusive innovation culture building.

Related:

Making Sense of Alex Osborn

Lost Stories Applied Creativity History

Teaching Complexity Navigation