Design thinking is not a design ‘land grab. It’s multidisciplinary teams putting people at centre. – Greg Petroff #uxaustralia
— S Slocum (@scslocum) August 28, 2014
The death of newspapers is sad, but the threatened loss of journalistic talent is catastrophic.
The other night at the Collective Impact talk I stood up and asked this question:
“How do you, as a business leader, sell design to your organisation? For example, if I go in and don’t have the answers and propose ideas that will fail, how do you, as a leader, convince others of my (design’s) value?”
There was general agreement that a design approach was good, but that wasn’t really my question.
So I rephrased the question. I’m pretty sure I heard someone behind me sigh.
Anyways, I think this is what I was trying to articulate (badly).
How do organisations deal with a bunch of designers coming in and working on big, hairy social problems? Don’t other project members say “Hang on, design = pretty things. Why exactly are the designers here, again? Must we humour them?”?
I didn’t really get an answer that I understood. I take responsibility that this is probably a deficit in my own thinking.
But I also wonder if perhaps what a design-lead approach may offer may not actually be well understood by business leaders. And I understand, that perhaps to academics and others in the audience, this doesn’t matter. But as a practitioner you need support from senior management to be effective in your role. Because, if you think about introducing a design process into a project or organisation where there has never been one before, there’s going to be inevitable toe-stepping, disbelief about methods and confusion about what the actual point is.
And more than that, to be honest, I’m still not really clear on what we, as designers, are proposing we actually bring to the table, either. Beyond a few design methods that may be useful, and frankly, anyone could buy a book about design methods and figure that bit out for themselves.
Here’s a possibly relevant article by Bruce Nussbaum – Design Thinking is a Failed Experiment
I think I’ve been trying to shoehorn design into something more than it is, and perhaps it is only ever useful when it’s tied back to artefacts of some kind.
Yesterday I read through some academic research on way-finding design in hospitals.
Today I got lost on the way to pathology and walked around and around in circles, feel overwhelmed.
I found it in the end, thanks to a nice volunteer.
My default is to think about design being tied back to a deliverable. Not always a concrete thing, but something (maybe a service, maybe something even more astract).
Maybe that’s wrong when thinking about design and ‘wicked problems’.