In my past 12 years of conducing Design Thinking workshops and seminars, a mistake that organisations often make is to think Design Thinking as a one workshop wonder. There is a false expectation to start expecting results once the workshop is over. Quite often this does not happen.
The key thing is to practice and apply what one learns in these workshops. This takes time. It requires a certain amount of commitment and willingness to change at all the levels.
Two key aspects of Design Thinking that have become a part of my life.
First, is the notion of Empathy and ensuring that you view the world from a deep empathetic lens. Empathy has become a buzz word, and rightly so in today’s world.
As we grow, we lose the sense of empathy and then later we try to (re)teach it in a workshop. Empathy is the common sense for all, but often the most difficult mindset to develop, especially if you are more driven by aspects of capitalism and viewing the world through lens of benefits.
Second, is training the mind to constantly use the notions of Divergent — Convergent Thinking.
I often ask the participants in my sessions, which approach do you follow. Is it a) Divergent first then Convergent
b) Convergent first and then Divergent
Children have a Divergent first approach. Most adults have a Convergent first approach. As we grow older, we shift from a Divergent first to a Convergent first approach of thinking.
In my workshops when I pose this question on how many people think they are creative; only 10% of adult participants confidently say they are creative.
Quite often we hear people say, I was creative as a child, but as an adult I do not relate myself to be creative. The conclusion we have children are more creative and then as we grow older, we become less creative.
Brainstorming comes naturally as a child, but as adults we struggle with it. Children practice Divergent First, as they do not fear failing.
The great leaders of the world practice Divergent First approach.
Divergent first, also allows one to be not fixated with the first solution that comes to your mind. As humans, it is natural that we want to immediate jump to a solution, the moment we spot a problem. The later is an example of Convergent First approach to thinking.
In order to be more creative and innovative, I recommend to adopt a Divergent First approach. Look at your constraints, look at the system, explore your choices, and then converge to what you want to proceed with.
Only divergence is also no good. At some point one has to converge.
Convergent Thinking helps us to bring focus into what we are doing.
But it is important to have diverged before. If not, it leads to a feeling of not having tried enough and explored.
Diverge and create choices. Converge and focus.
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