Tag: Upstream Thinking

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:

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

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

27
Jun

Humantific at the BBC

Bringing Complexity Navigation Skills to the BBC in London

Humantific is working with the BBC bringing Complexity Navigation Skills to their User Experience & Design senior leadership team this summer and fall seasons.

Humantific’s Janet Getto and Elizabeth Pastor spent a week in London this past June with BBC’s User Experience & Design senior leadership team. The Strategic CoCreation program was focused on learning cross-disciplinary innovation process skills. The team was very engaged and enthusiastic and gave the whole experience a 9.1 average rating (over 10). Adam Powers, Head of User Experience & Design for Branded Experiences, had great things to say after the experience:

“Humantific were hired by BBC UX&D to deliver a four-day workshop. I am not overstating things when I say that Janet and Elizabeth’s work was transformational for the fourteen people that attended. Seismic organisational changes in BBC UX&D meant that all attendees were particularly open to new ways of thinking, problem solving and collaborating, but Humantific gave us shape and extraordinary focus. We left with practical tools and felt empowered to use them, along with a sense of shared purpose that unified a previously disconnected bunch of creatives. Many organisations can provide training in this Design thinking /Innovation space, but Janet and Elizabeth bring unique insights and approaches – and what’s more, they bring themselves. Inspirational.”

Humantific’s Elizabeth Pastor and Michael Babwahsingh will be back this fall for the second part of the program focused on Visual SenseMaking. Stay tuned!