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Design Thinking September 24, 2009

Posted by allenb120 in Design Thinking.
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A couple of common themes from the readings so far are: that innovation requires multiple perspectives on an issue and that it requires knowing the problem very well.  These multiple perspectives could be from empathy or integrative thinking—multiple perspectives generated by an individual—or through collaboration and experimentation—multiple perspectives gained through interacting with others or the environment.  Also, systematic innovation requires work to know the problem.  I am comforted by the latter point in knowing that the solution to a problem may take some time to develop.

I think the design process of moving between the practical and theoretical realms is an iterative process.  I think we form thoughts on the subject being observed and those thoughts in turn inform our further observations and that this iterative process continues until we find something else to observe.  I think this is important because it means that after evaluating the data we have collected we may need to go back for some more after we have thought about the data.  I also think that this “reflexive” process impacts the frameworks we can develop about a situation.  The observations we take and our understanding of them determine the frameworks we could develop.  If the observations and understanding were different, then the frameworks would be different.  I think this interrelationship is important to understand in addressing problems because it means that the solutions we develop are contingent on our understanding of the problems.  So it’s important to learn as much as possible about the problem to help ensure better solutions.

I appreciated the learning styles framework and understand that these learning styles are better suited for different parts of the innovative process.  However, how can one tell another’s learning style without test results?  I imagine working with someone for awhile would allow you some insight into that person’s learning style.  However, are there more queues other than those listed in the article to help recognize these different learning styles?  Also, how long does it take someone to switch from one learning style to another?  While I imagine it depends on the person and the environment, could the process be instantaneous or is it a long process?

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Comments»

1. Sara Beckman - November 28, 2009

Good observation about the interaction between framing and observation. Our frames, or as some call them “mental models”, bound the things that we are able to see when we observe. Changing them allows us to see things differently. This is one of the reasons why consultants and other outsiders can often add value to a company – they bring different frames or mental models to how they view how the company is working.
Good questions on the learning styles – there is a lot of work that has been done with Kolb’s experiential learning theory some of which may answer your questions. Learning to think differently, or strengthening a learning style that isn’t your strength takes practice and therefore some amount of time.


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