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State of Design Thinking in Portland

  2. WHAT IS THE STATE OF DESIGN THINKING IN PORTLAND? Motivated by curiosity and a strong conviction that the tools and methods of design thinking ignite innovative ideas and solutions, a group of Portland-based, like-minded practitioners set out to survey the local landscape. Our goal: to uncover the tactics, challenges, benefits and themes surrounding design thinking in our community. ! ! We found more than a dozen common themes and insights. Some of them speak directly to the benefits of a design thinking approach. Some express deep challenges to making that approach work in the real world. In all cases, we are pleasantly surprised by the conviction, passion, and commitment to overcoming those challenges and sharing the benefits of design thinking. ! ! Some of the results align with our existing experience and intuition and some are brand new. We hope that youʼll use this to invoke energy and support for using design thinking in your own work, as well as find other advocates and practitioners to connect and share with. ! One major outcome of this project is a realization that there is a clear and universal desire for more design thinking events, resources, workshops, and community activities. To help meet that need, we have committed to re-energizing a small, existing grass-roots organization called Design+Strategy. ! ! The goal is to pivot that organization into a broad, community-based center for design thinking to facilitate events, share learning resources, build and provide access to a network of practitioners, and promote the methods and tools of design thinking. ! ! FORWARD! FORWARD! 3! The State of Design Thinking: Portland Edition!
  3. TABLE OF CONTENTS! TOP FIVE THEMES! METHODS & APPROACH! •  45+ individual contributors •  More than a dozen organizations •  Multiple disciplines •  Several working sessions QUALITY! Collaborative solution development produces better results.! For more information! contact Design+Strategy:! ! Laura Allen! Kord Davis! Sada Naegelin! !! ! @designplusstrat! !! EXPERIENCE! Design thinking is experiential.! VALUE! The value of design thinking is not always apparent (to the uninitiated).! CULTURE! A culture of empathy, iteration, and acceptable failure is critical to a successful design thinking environment.! CURIOSITY! Tools, tips, tricks, learning and practice resources.! 4! The State of Design Thinking: Portland Edition!
  4. QUALITY 01! State of Design Thinking: Portland Edition! Collaborative solution development produces better results.. 5! THEME 01: QUALITY! The State of Design Thinking: Portland Edition!
  5. 6! THEME 01: QUALITY! “Clients are energized by the session; they walk out at the end looking at the walls saying, ʻwhoa, look what we did!ʼ” ! ! “Creates a shared learning”! ! “Creates more enjoyable work product and end result AND! itʼs fun”! ! “Builds a common ground to grow and move forward”! ! “Generates a shared vision to guide future action”! ! “Itʼs a relationship building experience”! ! “Go deep to go fast—it gets you better results”! ! “There is a cumulative beneficial effect to this approach: it might be harder or take more time in the beginning but down the road that work will pay off in faster and better solutions”! ! Participants universally acknowledge that design thinking methods and tools lead to better results. While common challenges were frequently shared, the overall perspective is that overcoming those challenges is well worth the effort. A sense of joy, accomplishment, and pride from generating elegant solutions and outcomes is a readily apparent trait of design thinking. Among people who work collaboratively with other disciplines, a sense of shared vision and deeper commitment to the overall solution is a common experience for cross-functional teams -- both internally and with clients.! Participants passionately believe that design thinking drove action more effectively than other methods. Given sufficient time and opportunity, teams experience a “boomerang” effect as their initial testing of hypotheses and prototypes result in increasingly powerful results. The cumulative effect of building on previous learning exponentially improves each iteration. A design thinking approach is more enjoyable, results in better work, and improves relationships. ! ! Find and share design thinking output examples widely: artifacts, captures, final deliverables! Show your work in progress often and ask for feedback— people support what they help build! Drive toward action! Do whatʼs right for the work! ! QUALITY! THEME01! HEARING! THINKING! DOING! The State of Design Thinking: Portland Edition!
  6. EXPERIENCE 02! State of Design Thinking: Portland Edition! Design thinking is experiential. 7! THEME 02: EXPERIENCE! The State of Design Thinking: Portland Edition!
  7. 8! THEME 02: EXPERIENCE! “Until you see or witness it itʼs very hard to describe in advance—a full, day-long experience is the best way to ʻshow the valueʼ” ! ! “There is a “transformation” experience that happens in a design thinking session”! ! “Thereʼs a ʻmagicʼ to good collaboration”! ! “Project kick off meetings are now more like workshops”! ! “Start with insights directly from user, remove your assumptions, act with empathy, prototype, fail fast, use multiple discovery modes and co-create”! ! “Itʼs a process/methodology, not something you buy”! ! One common theme is that the value and experience of participating in a design thinking session is difficult to describe in advance. ! Creating a space for the experience to happen, in order to lead to more fruitful collaboration, is a fundamental aspect of design thinking methods and practice. ! Critical to this capability are participants who are curious, willing to engage, and be transparent about their success— and failures.! Individuals may be willing to “opt-in” and participate fully but can be locked out of the opportunity by organizational culture, project approaches, or uncertainty as to how to encourage or successfully operate in that mode. ! Once experienced, however, nearly all participants described a design thinking approach in terms such as magical, transformative, or valuable.! ! Create opportunities to participate frequently—default to including, not excluding! Document and share session activities and results widely: video, images, visual diagrams, sketch notes, capture documents! Everything is practice—planning, creating, exploring, designing, developing, delivering! EXPERIENCE! THEME02! HEARING! THINKING! DOING! The State of Design Thinking: Portland Edition!
  8. VALUE 03! State of Design Thinking: Portland Edition! The value of design thinking is not always apparent (tothe uninitiated). 9! THEME 03: VALUE! The State of Design Thinking: Portland Edition!
  9. 10! THEME 03: VALUE! “A room full of executives all day gets to be a very expensive meeting”! ! “There is a cumulative benefit/effect to this approach: it might be harder/take more time in the beginning but down the road that work will pay off in faster/better solutions”! ! “Sometimes you gotta go rogue and “steal” the time to research or (re)define the problem – and then show the client what you did”! ! “If somehow there was a way to demonstrate the value to the business side (finance, HR, marketing, etc.) perhaps we could structure projects/approach in a more “design thinking” way”! ! “Research is almost always skipped (clients struggle, wants to see things sooner rather than later)”! ! “Access to research/knowledge/resources is often limited”! ! “Finding a balance between managing the process (time, resources) and giving the team the space to do the work”! ! “Weʼve never had a single client tell us a design thinking workshop was a ʻwaste of timeʼ”! Managing team and client expectations are major challenges to operationalizing design thinking. Frequently cited is buy-in from leadership and stakeholders unfamiliar with the approach. Typically from disciplines tasked with management including client stakeholders, team leads, accounts, sales, and project management. ! To generate greater value, some participants admit to seeking “forgiveness rather than permission” in their approach.! To those unfamiliar with it, design thinking can be seen as risky. They often resist adopting the methods or try to mitigate the risk by reverting to more familiar approaches. ! For example, the perception is that limiting access to resources can reduce cost and time risks—while experienced practitioners know that increasing access to resources such as research, knowledge, and subject matter expertise is highly beneficial to generating greater value. ! ! Build a business case file to capture approaches and the value generated as a result! Ask for direct testimonials from everyone: participants, stakeholders, leadership! Encourage discussion about concerns, constraints, practices, methods, and tools! Do a simple-but-explicit “post-mortem” at the end of every session (what worked? what would you change?)! People know what they need—give them as much as you can! VALUE! THEME03! HEARING! THINKING! DOING! The State of Design Thinking: Portland Edition!
  10. CULTURE 04! State of Design Thinking: Portland Edition! A culture of empathy, iteration, and acceptable failure is critical to a successful design thinking environment. 11! THEME 04: CULTURE! The State of Design Thinking: Portland Edition!
  11. 12! THEME 04: CULTURE! “Works best when the whole process (from business development through delivery) is transparent”! “Corporate America is NOT doing it well (even big consultancies--they think innovation is something you can buy. Itʼs not, itʼs a process not an outcome)”! “It works best with an “all hands on deck” approach”! “Itʼs very hard to “change modes” – if clients see you as one thing, itʼs hard to get them to see you as another (the best way to make that change is through the work itself)”! “Freedom to fail in the room / “going back to the drawing board” is acceptable (not being right in the room).”! “How do you bring design thinking into an organization?”! “There are different levels of “fail”: in front of peers, in front of clients, big groups, small groups”! “Thereʼs a difference between an individual willing to do design thinking and an organization that is willing to permit it”! “Clearly defining roles and responsibilities (including the client) is critical”! CULTURE! THEME04! HEARING! THINKING! DOING! There is wide acknowledgement of a “spectrum of culture” from operating in “expert mode” (most common) to operating in “collaborative” mode (most desired, but least common).! Cultural challenges are viewed as obstacles to creating a more collaborative environment. Those obstacles are often expressed as “things to change” to provide more opportunity to create elegant and powerful solutions.! The value of that opportunity is clear and deeply desired by practitioners. ! There is a strong sense that the root cause of many obstacles is that people hesitate to operate more collaboratively as a result of cultural constraints including:! Seek first to understand, then to be understood! Model appropriate behavior (for example, be willing to fail)! Ask as many questions as you answer! Build the culture you want! “Yes, and…”! “How might we…”! •  fear of being perceived as not doing your job! •  poorly understood methods or tools! •  people who donʼt opt-in to the approach! •  lack of understanding of roles and responsibilities! •  projects hijacked for logistics reasons (budget, time, etc.)! •  lack of organizational support for the methods and tools! The State of Design Thinking: Portland Edition!
  12. CURIOSITY 05! State of Design Thinking: Portland Edition! Tools, tips, tricks, learning and practice resources. 13! THEME 05: CURIOSITY! The State of Design Thinking: Portland Edition!
  13. THEME 05: CURIOSITY! “You absolutely must be curious”! “Creativity is an exploration”! “Where CAN I learn more?”! “Iʼm not sure I have a common understanding of what we mean by ʻdesign thinkingʼ”! “Please let me know what I can do to help”! “Why isnʼt there an organization in town focused on this?”! “I wish there were more events to teach people the tools”! “I wish I had more time to learn…everythingʼs moving too fast” ! CURIOSITY! THEME05! HEARING! THINKING! DOING! Share with others! Actively seek out collaborators! Curiosity was the most frequently cited characteristic of people who learn well. Resources for learning, however, are either unknown or a challenge to find. Participants consistently expressed a desire for more formal workshops, events, or organizational support. ! Examples spanned a wide range from more well-known and formal programs, such as the Institute of Design at Stanford (d:school) or XPLANEʼs Visual Thinking School to informal sources, such as design blogs or various threads on the popular site Reddit (known as “subreddits”).! The value of being a “T-shaped” person who exhibits a wide base of knowledge in many areas combined with deep expertise in one or two disciplines was often cited. ! Nearly all participants described themselves as self-taught and volunteered to help others learn, contribute to a community of practice, or participate in workshops and events. ! ! 14! The State of Design Thinking: Portland Edition!
  14. METHODOLOGY & APPROACH This report contains actual findings from real people. We collected data from more than 45 individual contributors representing nearly two dozen organizations & disciplines through focus interviews, multiple working sessions and an online survey.! ! Everyone was given an opportunity to contribute anonymously. Participants who opted-in to be identified as contributors are listed in the aggregate.! ! We recognize that the methodology of our inaugural report influenced the results. By sourcing participants from our personal and professional networks, our close colleagues and peers are naturally pre-disposed to a “pro-design thinking” attitude.! ! As design thinking becomes more broadly used, we plan to source client-side input for added diversity in future reports. We look forward to exploring and sharing more perspectives as the community continues to grow.! AFTERWARD! AFTERWARD! 15! The State of Design Thinking: Portland Edition!
  15. CONTRIBUTORS & PARTICIPANTS! Dino Citraro! Jodi Sweetman! Dave King! Roel Ulners! Sara Mesing! Stephanie Gioia! Matt Morasky! Adam Hoffman! Laura Allen! Sada Naegelin! Christian Bayley! Amy Santee! Jeanne Turner! Heather Penner! Matt Cannell! Martha Koenig! Cary Otto! Erica Hassinger! James Macanufo! Keiran Lyn! Producers, Project Managers, Recruiters, Business Development, Strategists, Senior Executives, Managers, Directors, CEO/Owners, Creative Directors, Senior Art Directors, Designers,VP of Client Services, Operations Directors! Barbara Holmes! Jason King! Erica Dillon ! Armando Manalo! Glenn Scott! Patrick Ezell! David Hughes! Betsy Reed! David Shaw! Ash Shepard! Denise Ransome! Scott Smith! Debbie Shaw! Verne Linder! Bryan Howarth! Tim Haskins! Tom Williams! Kellee Jackson! Ben Cerezo! Khris Soden! CONTRIBUTORS & PARTICIPANTS ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS! CONTRIBUTORS & PARTICIPANTS ACROSS DISCIPLINES INCLUDED:! 16! The State of Design Thinking: Portland Edition!
  16. Copyright ©2015 Design+Strategy! FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT DESIGN+STRATEGY :! Laura  Allen   Kord  Davis   Sada  Naegelin   @designplusstrat