Design Thinking And Agile Methodologies For lnnovation

6 minutes
Written by: Cynthia Rubinstein
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Design Thinking is a perfect method for taking on complex problems in contexts filled with uncertainty… Does this sound familiar given the complexity of the times we’re living?

Kanba Design Thinking

In my work as a consultant, I apply Design Thinking as the main methodology when guiding the transformation of the structure and culture of organizations. The applications of Design Thinking are so diverse as transformative pillars that we can apply it to cultural change: from the revision of organizational policy to the collaborative design of protocols for returning to  work, and from the redesigning of physical work spaces to the consolidation of a new model of leadership. These transformations, among thousands of other applications, are possible when we have a clear goal: To produce purposeful, people-centered innovation. 

“These transformations, among thousands of other applications, are possible when we have a clear goal: To produce purposeful, people-centered innovation.”

Today we can affirm that when faced with a lack of answers, high levels of uncertainty and more traditional perspectives of the status quo that are no longer able to give valid responses to EVERYTHING, there’s a big possibility that things will change. With Design Thinking, specifically, we’re seeing a huge opportunity for those with the courage to explore new paths by stepping beyond their comfort zone.

What is Design Thinking?

Design Thinking takes on what we call “wicked problems”, frustrating problems that haven’t been solved by traditional methods. It proposes that we stop the act of compulsively solving problems that are rooted in the habits and paradigms of those working in organizations to instead create an understanding space and connect with others. When we’re present and listen deeply without prejudices, we create space for a explorative journey where we can diverge and converge in the search for possible innovative and effective solutions to solve complex problems with a different mindset: one that’s agile, disruptive and collaborative.

Mapa Mental Design Thinking

Design Thinking invites us to be forces of transformation and to understand that culture can be innovated when a collective commits to it as one and the solutions to problems deeply consider the implications for those who are impacted: everything can be transformed. Without methodologies like Design Thinking, run two basic risks, among many others: 

  • The first is that the solutions within our comfort zone–with traditional resolution strategies–repeat cultural patterns linked to the status quo, what “should be” and vertical power structures; in other words, they only patch up the problem, generating provisional and unsustainable solutions, frustration and desperation with the idea that things “aren’t changing enough”.
  • The second risk is that, just as with the childhood pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey game, the likelihood of finding the best solutions seems to come down to a chaotic game of chance. In this case, it can be fun, but we lose energy, tons of time and the likelihood of finding the best solution is ultimately incredibly low.

How is Design Thinking put into practice?

First, we ask that the protagonists of problems, who we call users, form part of the problem in two key moments: the first (empathy) and the last (testing). We want to receive all the relevant, deep information that’s connected with their emotions as well as their habits, beliefs, paradigms and experiences with the “wicked problem” we’re looking to resolve so that they are always at the center of our innovation process.

Trabajo de equipo de Design Thinking

We also bring them to testing so that they’re the ones who give us feedback on the co-created ideas and prototypes within the innovative proposal. This way, their voices are kept alive. They can confirm the process that was centered around their needs and see their voices in the solutions designed. Furthermore, we invite a diverse group of members from the organization–with different backgrounds and life experience–to form part of a team of designers so that the can design the framework for the process.

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Proceso de Design Thinking

They learn to listen with empathy, gain creative confidence and quickly start to be co-protagonists of the cultural changes: adding value, designing powerful questions, and getting involved in the future. An important point: because the solutions are co-created internally with the user present and heard, resistance to the innovation proposed with this methodology is minimal. The proposals generated are largely accepted and followed because they were designed honestly, with transparency and a commitment from coworkers with whom they share each day, as I like to say: “looking each other in the eye with a hand on our heart” 

Genially and Design Thinking as a way of life

Let me tell you a little about myself. My name is Cynthia Rubinstein. I’m Argentinian and a world citizen. I have two kids, and I live in the city of Buenos Aires. If you see me pass by, you’ll likely see me on my bike because I’m a big fan of bicycles for a world without cars. I’m a Organizational Development Consultant and facilitator, and I work on transforming the culture of organizations.When Covid – 19 is over and Argentina opens editorial houses again, my first book about Design Thinking will be released. I’m so excited! I’d like to tell you all a bit more about how I use Genially in my work using Design Thinking as a facilitator with a focus on transforming organizations’ culture.

Pasándolo bien
Cynthia Rubistein, experta en Design Thinking

Along with guiding organizations in their cultural transformation by using Design Thinking as a central pillar, I train consultants, coaches, and HR, innovation, and agility teams in Training Labs. In these Labs, we explore each step of the methodology experientially, empowering and encouraging attendees to implement these kinds of processes in their organizations and with their clients. Because our time in the Labs is limited, I use an incredible genially: a toolkit with 36 additional tools so that participants can keep discovering alternatives to the tools we work with during the training once the Lab is over.

Taller de Design Thinking RH Agile

That way, at the same time I use the genially to facilitate the activity, I can help attendees take their first steps using consulting material that I consider valuable to further expand their range of options.

I invite you to get excited and explore these new waters.  Design Thinking is pure action: an action that makes complete sense. And with this action comes a clear direction towards agile transformation that’s inclusive and bold…

Ideal for the times we’re living in !!

Cynthia Rubinstein
Cynthia Rubinstein
Great things never came from comfort zone
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