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“DESIGN LEADERSHIP" / 10 Questions to Ask

Assessment Criteria

Recognizing the rising interest in the notion of Design Thinking as a form of leadership we created this Humantific Design Thinking Assessment Criteria below. Its a simple list of 10 questions.

The widespread, popular narrowing misinterpretation of Design Thinking as assumption-boxed Product/Service/Experience creation makes the question of "Design Leadership" a little more complicated then it would be otherwise. Among other things it raises the question of which Design Thinking is being referred to?

Whether we all agree with it, or like it or not, there are lots of folks out there in the marketplace selling narrow-aperature, assumption-boxed Product/Service/Experience creation as wide-aperature Design Thinking including numerous graduate design schools. At this point many of the graduate business schools in copy-cat mode, rather than reinvention mode, are doing the same. Since that train left the station some time ago, and is often being heavily promoted, the least we can do is try to bring some clarity to the now rather messed up subject.

Suffice it to say we could see a need for a simple framework that reflected some of the many learnings that surfaced while researching and writing our recently published book Rethinking Design Thinking, Making Sense of the Future that has Already Arrived. It took us 7-8 years to write that book and much was learned that does not fit within the popular marketplace narrative on the subject.

I wrote about this in several previous posts, including Design Leadership: Ready for Which Context? We decided to repost the Assessment Crtiteria here on its own.

Recognizing that innovation leadership downstream is not innovation leadership upstream, that assumption-boxed methods are not assumption-free methods, that discipline-based challenge framing is not open-challenge framing here are ten questions to ask anyone pitching “Design Leadership” skill-building.:

Design Leadership Workshops:

10 Enlightened HUMANTIFIC Questions to Ask:

1. Is this product, service, experience creation leadership or organizational change leadership?

2. Is this design leadership program based on, built on product, service, experience design methods?

3. Are the broad philosophical statements in the marketing materials aligned with the actual methods being taught?

4. Is Complex CoCreation Facilitation part of the program?

5. Is Open Framing part of the program?

6. Is Navigation Compass mastery part of the program?

7. Is Visual SenseMaking part of the program?

8. Is Think Balance leadership part of the program?

9. Is Cognitive Inclusion-Making part of the program?

10. Is Innovation Coherence leadership part of the program?

The movement to rethink, redesign Design Thinking to be more codusive to complex contexts has been a slow train arriving in the design community, but today it is becoming more visible. We happen to be part of and contribute to that community as well as numerous other communities.

Of course not everyone is going to be ready to move beyond the "wallet exercise" and the complicated/complexity guessing game. Those approaches will no doubt continue while new avenues are opening, often combining knowledge from numerous communties. Its an exciting time to be in the rethinking business.

We believe having a diverse marketplace helps generate good choices for organizational leaders seeking change-making capacity to consider.

Good luck to all.

Images Credit: Rethinking Design Thinking, Making Sense of the Future that has Already Arrived: Humantific, 2019-2020.



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