Recently we launched a new features that digitizes the workshop experience to reduce time and increase productivity. The tool features a powerful brainstorming template. The next big release will feature digital design thinking templates.
We asked design thinking expert, Fredrik Heghammar, who has had tenure with Google in their Creative Lab, founded House of sparks, and worked with Hyper Island, about this school of thought, and why it is so impactful for so many different types of businesses today. When we sat down with Fredrik, we first asked him to describe what this thought process or project solving method really boils down to. Fredrik explained that design thinking is simply, “a method of getting the idea out of your head and into the wild”.
Sounds exciting right? But what makes it so powerful? Heghammar expounded upon what gives design thinking such a punch, saying “This method provides people with a very structured way to come together, to fail fast rather than fail big”.
What he means by this, is that the various types of design thinking workshops foster the generation, evaluation, and testing of ideas. Groups can then quickly determine which ideas will not work, rather than implementing them and investing serious resources like time, energy and budget only to find out that they will not work; ie failing big.
As with all workshops, and any time you get people together in a group. Fredrik mentioned that one of the elements that has the biggest potential to cause problems is the human element. Get any group of people together and you will have the potential for politics. Some members of the group will be natural leaders, while others are more quiet. Some will be more creative and some may think that they aren’t skilled enough or creative enough to submit ideas. This is only natural.
The right technology, in the hands of a skilled facilitator, can improve the workshop experience and its chances of success. By digitizing the workshop experience, for example, using the smartphone as a vehicle for participant engagement, the group becomes more democratized. Louder leaders have the same voice as the quieter more pensive team members. Those full of creative energy may inspire or show those who don’t feel equipped for the exercise that they too have experiences and skills that lead to powerful ideas.
With the addition of features such as anonymous voting or ranking, individual users don’t have to worry about with which person to align themselves. Instead they are able focus on which ideas will have the biggest impact.
Heghammar clearly enjoys what he’s doing. When we asked him what the most exciting aspect of his work with design thinking was he responded. “The beauty is that the community is it’s all about sharing”. He followed up by saying that being located in Sweden while doing this work is a blessing, explaining that people and companies are more willing to share and collaborate. There, one can move faster and more freely than in countries where there is a focus on maintaining control of intellectual property.
We have to agree with Heghammar there. Sweden has become a hotbed for design thinking, innovation, lean startup and more.