Currently viewing the tag: "Assumptions and innovation"

The construction of an experiment

“To think like a designer can transform the way you develop products, services, processes, and even strategy”. – Tim Brown

Design thinking process must be seen as a system of overlapping spaces, (inspiration, ideation and implementation) rather than a sequence of ordered steps. Design thinking is a mindset that this Kyudo’ quote can help us to understand.

“Kyudo, the practice of Zen archery, is a form of meditation on move – and a unique martial art. The focus of practice is in “clear mind” instead of taking aim. The target becomes a mirror that reflects the quality of a mind at the time of release the arrow.

The problems are opportunities for inspiration that generate energy for the search for solutions. It’s like the target that we have seen when we have the bow and an arrow in hands.

Ideation is a process of generating, developing and testing ideas. Resembles a curve, which we imagine, designed by arrow path.

During the implementation we see all the way from design through to meet with people. It is time to release all of our energy and let the arrow leave.

“Working with the precision of form, develops a natural process by which the practitioner has the opportunity to see the mind more clearly. The target becomes a mirror that reflects the qualities of heart and mind at the time of the release of the arrow. “-

Similarly a design thinker reflects the emotions and the needs of the consumer/user by virtue of a natural relationship that establishes with the ecosystem where they are inserted.

As Claudia Kotchka (P & G) said “design thinking is both a process and a mindset, and that always begins with the consumer.”

Design thinking is not an exclusive of the designers but there are some features in the profile of those people who should be noted!

One of those is empathy. They can imagine the world from multiple perspectives with a people-centric approach and also can imagine solutions based on the explicit needs, not articulated needs or even hidden needs from these people. The observation of details of environment where people cohabit has an important role in the identification of problems.

To ensure that all information is treated in an appropriate manner to the satisfaction of people’s needs, design thinkers use integrative thinking. It is not enough to use the analytical procedures to be able to choose among existent possible solutions, we must identify the salient aspects, even contradictory, and build an option that goes beyond existing limitations. Instead of choosing between A and B, we built C.

In the same sense, that is, being a potential solution better than the existing alternatives, the optimism of design thinkers leverages victories over the challenges to be met, even if this means to break with incremental innovation and embrace disruption. It is often during experimentation that disruptive solutions arise.

Today, seems to be very present in our minds the idea of the increasing complexity of products, services and even some experiments that are proposed to us. To arrive at this point it was needed a job that no longer fit with the traditional figure of the inventor or creative genius and lonely.

Today, what is being proposed is the result of collaboration between several people representing different disciplines, from various points of the globe and this brings to us special colored solutions.

Designers, engineers, psychologists, economists, anthropologists, etc, meet to collaborate and to find, at the intersection of their ideas, proposals that are economically viable, technically feasible and desirable for the people.

It is not from one day to the next that this shift entails, such as the quality of our mind in Kyudo, but if we imagine an environment where ideas have the smell of sea breeze, where windows and doors of the organizations open, both for consumers and for design thinking, then we have an environment that is conducive to a culture of innovation.

In design thinking there is all the necessary dignity, to face the challenges presented by consumers. It is now a matter of removing obstacles.

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There is no doubt that …

A postulate or a proposition taken are paths to not have traps, but does not indicate that we are on the right track.

Transforming assumptions on hypotheses is the path of exploration, creativity and innovation and this must be the mindset of a leader in innovation.

Almost always a leader differs from a manager by the use that they make of assumptions because while the first questions the assumptions and seek to do the right things the manager in an incremental way tries to do things right, that is, follow the standards and company policy.

Of the many obstacles to innovation, the ones which are most dangerous are the assumptions because in addition to being a bad habit, alone opening blocker, they are often insidious and invisible or consciously concealed.

The assumptions inhibit the future while pure potential. The future builds on our creativity.

Often we have seen efforts of managers looking for better this or that part of the Organization on the assumption that this will be the best the Organization as a whole, but this may be false, because it often creates imbalances. The Organization must be seen as a whole, i.e. including the connections between the parties.

Ackoff says: “This is based on the false assumption that improving the performance of the parts separately necessarily improves the performance of the whole, the corporation. That is a false premise. In fact, you can destroy a corporation by improving its individual parts. Try putting a Rolls Royce engine in a Hyundai…this requires the design and drawings that require creativity.”

People make assumptions about their bosses, about the company culture, management etc., and also make assumptions about opportunities or about the problems which often affect the way they look for solutions.

To Ackoff’s creativity involves a three-step process:

-Identify the assumptions that prevent us from seeing the alternatives to those that we see at the moment. These are self-imposed restrictions.

-Deny embarrassing assumptions.

-Explore the consequences of refusal.

The assumptions on innovation are a problem and as such must be identified.

WE may have several names like mentality, blind spots or sacred cows but in fact are a set of assumptions and hidden regulations that govern the behavior of managers which often lead to the use of benchmarking or other revenue saved for problem situations, to the detriment of creativity and innovation.

Professor Constantinos Markiders from the London Business School can give us a help in understanding this “phenomenon”:

“I have in mind an English word that has four letters. It is missing the first letter but I know it ends with the letters _any. Can you think of a word that fits this description? Please take 20 seconds to come up with one before reading further.”

Most people have no problems to find it, after a few seconds going through the alphabet they come up with the word many. Consider now this next problem.

“I have again an English word that has four letters. It is missing again the first letter, but I know it ends with the letters _eny. Can you think now of a word that fits this description? Please take another 20 seconds to come up with one before reading further.”

In this second problem most people fail to find a word even when they go through the alphabet placing letter by letter in front of the word, and they get somehow surprised when you tell them the word is deny. The reason is that they usually try to find a word with the same vowel sound as in many. As Markides concludes “if one word is enough to bias our thinking in such a way, imagine what twenty or thirty years in a given business can do”

There are twenty or thirty years hidden assumptions, many consciously other submerged unconsciously and difficult to identify with the naked eye.

There are often 20 or 30 years to construct a belief that by their nature becomes hard to deny and thereby difficult to achieve the second step in creativity as Ackoff says.

When they consciously used in a hidden way assumptions are however a clear demonstration of lack of cooperation and inability to lead.

It is a refuge to avoid acceptance of responsibilities in taking risks or face uncertainties.


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