Tag: Upstream Value Add

29
Mar

Upstream Challenge Framing

Skill-Building Workshops Coming Soon! 

Are your teams burning valuable resources working on the wrong set of challenges? Are you making giant assumptions regarding what the challenges are? Are hidden assumptions embedded in the methods you are using?

Today, organizational leaders in all industries are faced with making sense of and prioritizing a vast landscape of challenges facing their organizations. In a continuously changing world, those challenges can range from mega to mini, from long standing to real-time emergent.

The ability to rapidly defuzz and order challenges visually in a way that is sharable has already become a key innovation leadership skill of the 21st century. At Humantific we call this strategic sensemaking skill, Upstream Challenge Framing.

What makes it different from product, software, service and experience related framing is that this is upstream from any preconceived notions of what the challenges and solution paths might be. In Upstream Challenge Framing, we open the aperture to the possibility that you might not fully understand what the challenges facing you actually are.

At the very least, you probably do not fully understand the challenge context. With openness of mind, we set out to defuzz, order and construct a visual map of the challenges that shows, often for the first time, the connections between challenges, from broad to narrow.

Before you go boil the ocean, or assume you just need yet another software tweak sprint let’s understand the challenge context. Turning the lights on in challenge landscapes is the purpose of Upstream Challenge Framing. Mastering this framing skill is not always a walk in the park, but its value-add is well worth the effort.

This is a real-time strategic framing skill that makes most sense to organizational leaders engaged upstream from run-of-the-mill (“Agile-like”) project briefs. This skill will be most valuable to leaders who have already figured out that “Agile” is assumption-based, weak on strategic framing and not a silver bullet. This session will provide an introduction to Upstream Challenge Framing. Our advanced Humantific Academy workshops provide advanced skill building.

This is a preliminary announcement for upcoming introductory skill-building workshops in New York, Los Angles, Madrid, Barcelona, Berlin, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, London, Singapore.

If you have interest in attending one of these upcoming sessions in one of these cities feel free to let us know. Attendance will be limited.

Email: kickitup (at) humantific (dot) com

Humantific Skill-Building

We receive many requests for training in Humantific skills. In this regard, some years ago we created Humantific Academy inside which is the Complexity Navigation Program containing three interconnecting streams of innovation leadership skill; Strategic CoCreation, Design Research and Visual SenseMaking. These are skills geared for organizational leaders facing continuous change and rising complexity in their marketplaces. Unlike “Agile” these are skills geared for business contexts where the challenges are fuzzy, complex requiring significant unpacking and inclusive multi-disciplinary stakeholder involvement. These are skills geared towards the creation of inclusive innovation cultures. For more info send us an email.

Related: 

Humantific: Design Thinking: Mind the Methodology Gap

Humantific: Methodology Ethics: Embracing a New Era

Humantific: Clarifying Design Thinking: Forbes vs Humantific

Humantific: SenseMaking for ChangeMaking

Humantific: The OTHER Design Thinking

 

27
Jul

Design Thinking Futures [Part 1]

4x4goodg

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:

22
Nov

Making Sense of Service Design

img_5297-1-300x300

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.”

linkedincover_servicedesign

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

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!