Tag: Humantific

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

27
Jan

Ambidexterity Skill-Building

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Humantific CoFounder GK VanPatter writes about the state of “Firm of The Future” Skill-Building. Ambidexterity often appears in numerous depictions of the arriving future originating in the managagement consulting community. What is missing from that picture?

“Hello Humantific readers. In this post we return to the subject of ambidexterity in organizations. The recent report entitled “The Firm of the Future” from Bain & Company is one of the latest management advisory publications pointing out the importance of and shift towards operationalizing ambidexterity in future focused organizations.

“We’re beginning to see what the next generation of successful companies will look like….The firm of the future will manage two types of businesses—“Engine 1” of its core and “Engine 2” of its more innovative businesses.” Bain & Company 2017.

Accenture, Deloitte, Bain & Company, Detecon and others have all recently been offering up similar observations and advice to organizational leaders. Others such as Charles O’Reilly & Michael Tushman of Harvard Business School writing in Harvard Business Review have previously written on the subject reflecting their own research. It is a capacity referred to under different names that include Ambidexterity, Dual Engines, Exploiting/Exploring, Double Excellence, Dual Innovation, Integrative Innovation, etc. With numerous different takes on the subject now tabled, some more practical then others, what they are all talking about is the notion of future oriented firms enabling two engines or streams of innovation, each with different characteristics.”

Read the entire post on LinkedIn here.

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11
Jan

DATA2GO.NYC Deadline Extension!

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DATA2GO.NYC Data Visualization Challenge has extended its deadline to the end of January!

DATA2GO.NYC is inviting visualizers, data lovers, changemakers and designers to create an informative and beautiful visualization(s) that helps illuminate strengths or challenges in NYC neighborhoods using unique data made available throughDATA2GO.NYC. A very incredible tool!

Continue Reading..

02
Mar

Future Not Working? Call SenseMakers!

We were delighted to see Cathrine Armitage’s article: “Call in the SenseMaker, The Future Isn’t Working” in the Sydney Morning Herald.

“Web designer? So last century.”

“In the future your children and their children will be doing jobs we can scarcely imagine now. Their titles will be as wacky to us as ”software developer” must once have been to a baby boomer. Try making sense of a ”virtchandise manager”, an ”outcome aggregator”, a ”data evangelist” or even a ”sensemaking analyst”…”

A quick scan of the online recruitment sites confirms the future is already here.”

Of course SenseMaking has already evolved into much more than “data analysis.” Today SenseMakers are already being called upon to make sense of many complex situations in organizations and in societies. Often those complexities are abstract and not data based. In fact data based sensemaking is a small subset of what leading Visual SenseMakers do.

SenseMaking has indeed become the 21st century FUEL for ChangeMaking!

The Rise of SenseMaking continues!

13
Feb

Humantific Inspires SenseMaking MBA Thesis

It’s always great to see graduate students inspired by Humantific. Attending the Executive MBA program at University of Reading Business School in Denmark, our new best friend, Sandra Greve, recently completed her thesis entitled, Towards an Understanding of How to Enhance SenseMaking in Organizational Strategic Change.

A big Wooooooo Hoooooooo for Sandra!

As the rise of SenseMaking appears on more and more radar screens, what we are seeing is that seasoned professionals from many backgrounds are becoming interested.

Humantific is delighted to be part of an ever-expanding community, engaged from many different angles, in the re-examination and reinvention of SenseMaking. We started presenting on the subject in 1998 at a Cooper-Hewitt Conference, here in NYC. Not everyone understood what we were talking about then, but, since that time, we have seen steady growing interest in the value of continous SenseMaking in the context of a continously changing world.

If you have an interest in this subject, and would like to attend a future SenseMaker Dialogs event in Copenhagen, Madrid, Barcelona, New York, San Francisco, or Sao Paulo, feel free to subscribe to Humantific Quarterly or send us an email: programs (at) humantific (dot) com

To view and or download a full copy of Sandra Greve’s MBA thesis (Courtesy of Sandra), Click Here

Related:

NextD Geographies / SenseMaking is Rising

Understanding Social SenseMaking

SenseMaker Dialogs on Facebook

Social SenseMaking on Facebook

16
Jan

Humantific Inspires PhD Thesis

We love to see others inspired by Humantific. Each year, we receive many requests from graduate students and PhD students who want to interact with Humantific, ask us questions, study what we are doing. Although we are not set up to accomodate all requests, we do meet with PhD students on a regular basis. Here is one example:

Silje Kamille Friis, a PhD student at Learning Lab in Denmark, studied Humantific, IDEO, Bruce Mau Design, and eTypes as part of her thesis focused on “Conscious Design Practice as a Strategic Tool,” published in 2008.

During her week-long stay in our Humantific New York office, Kamille had many face-to-face conversations with GK VanPatter and Elizabeth Pastor. She also attended NextD WorkshopONE summer session.

“The purpose of the “Industrial PhD” Conscious Design Practice as a Strategic Tool is to create new, in-depth understanding of how strategic design consultancies carry out design work, in particular the design methods and processes. It is a journey into new territory. The concept of strategic design is a recent development within the field of design, focusing on the strategic thinking important to identify opportunities for innovation and growth.”

For more information write to: programs (at) humantific (dot) com