Tag: NextDesign Leadership

27
Jul

Design Thinking Futures [Part 1]

IMG_5297-1

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.

NextD1b

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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:

26
Sep

Design Learning Imperative

photo1

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

 

 

28
Apr

E. Pastor Keynotes Design Intelligence

Screen Shot 2016-04-28 at 11.37.56 AM

“How Can Design Intelligence Open Our Mind & Help Us Explore What’s Next?”

Humantific CoFounder Elizabeth Pastor will be keynote speaker at Parsons Design Intelligence / Future of Work conference on Saturday April 30, 2016 in New York City.

“The Design Intelligence Conference will be held on April 30, 2016 at The New School and will feature a panel discussion, keynote, skill-based workshops, and networking opportunities for both New School students and the greater design community.

This year’s conference will be driven by questions related to The Future of Work. Through this immersive day-long experience we will explore this theme from various perspectives and sectors and through the course of the day have the opportunity to talk about design in the context of new design firms, new models and new work.”

 

18
Dec

Another OTHER Design Thinking

AnotherOther_PG26

Here at Humantific we are always delighted to see design education community change initiatives inspired by The OTHER Design Thinking 2013-2014, Occupy Reimagining Design 2011 and the body of work within NextDesign Futures 2002-2014. Are you ready to be surprised?

Yes that’s right, there is Another OTHER Design Thinking out there, just announced!

Last week the academically focused PhD Design discussion list, well known in the transformation practice community for being slow to adapt, least effective, and often unfortunately down-right nasty when it comes to the subject of design futures made what was for that group, a big leap forward. A few of its loudest, self-appointed leaders announced in a 3 page manifesto posted inside their debating group and across social media that they were finally ready to recognize a multiple part change wave occurring beyond the confines of their circle.Continue Reading..

19
Nov

Making Sense of Next Design Frontiers

This month and next we are republishing some materials from the Humantific Archives related to early views into the subject of rethinking design thinking, the value of strategic design, rethinking design education, etc.

This interview with GK VanPatter CoFounder of Humantific and NextDesign Leadership Network was first published in 2005.Continue Reading..

24
May

Design For Care Published

We are delighted to see the NextD Complexity Ladder utilized in the just published book Design For Care, authored by Peter Jones PhD.

Always interested in the application of NextDesign, Design at Scale, Systemic Design, ie: design thinking in the context of large scale systems, Peter uses the NextD Complexity Ladder to set the context for the scale of challenges found in healthcare today.

With the NextD Complexity Ladder as an assessment backdrop Peter points out the still growing recognition that different kinds of design thinking skill are required to address different scales of challenges. We call this skill-to-scale.

Inspired by the NextDesign Geographies vision?

If you have a project in which you would like to use the NextD Complexity Ladder materials and logic feel free to write to us at kickitup at nextd dot org.

Related

When [Old Design Thinking] Love is Not Enough

Understanding Design 1,2,3,4
The Rise of Visual SenseMaking

SenseMaking is Rising

NextDesign Geographies

Occupy Reimagining Design

Join the ongoing NextD conversations on LinkedIn NextD Leadership Network.

19
Nov

Elizabeth Pastor at ICADE in Madrid

Beginning Tuesday Nov 20, Humantific CoFounder, Elizabeth Pastor is in Madrid teaching cross-disciplinary Strategic CoCreation skills to MBA students at ICADE, one of Spain’s leading Business and Economics Universities. In the social business economy today we see interest in innovation, collaboration and sensemaking rising in every country and industry.

Strategic CoCreation skill-building is part of Humantific’s Complexity Navigation Program. These are 21st century leadership skills taught in experiencial workshops. It is a very different kind of experience from reading case studies! See how onboarding Complexity Navigation capacity can fuel adaptability & agility in your organization.

To inquire about having Humantific teach cross-disciplinary innovation skills, nextdesign thinking skills, complexity navigation skills in your organization or graduate program send an email to programs (@) humantific (dot) com

11
Aug

NextD Workshops: That’s a Wrap!

Our congratulations goes out to all attendees of this year’s NextD WorkshopONE, TWO & THREE. Participants from around the globe (6 countries in total) came together for 4 days of intensive facilitation training in New York City. It was an incredible few days for all involved, our special thanks to Humantific Strategylab leaders Elizabeth Pastor and Janet Getto for helping us turn our fuzzy problems into action!

Interested in Future Workshops?

Conducting NextD Workshops is only one of many work streams at Humantific. We are doing workshop based cross-disciplinary innovation skill-building on an ongoing basis with organizations in numerous countries. If you would like to consider bringing Humantific in to your organization to help with your innovation skill-building, innovation strategy creation, strategic thinking for leaders, feel free to let us know. Send email to: engage (at) humantific (dot) com