There’s a thousand Design Thinking Methods in Stanford’s Boot Camp Boot Leg. Well, maybe not a thousand. More like 40ish. Close enough anyhow.
The document read like an organized list heavily inspired by Tim Brown’s Change by Design, not that that’ a bad thing, but I found my eyes glazing over some parts of it and my mind going blank to the point where I had to read and reread some sentences (I still didn’t get those parts. Boy, when my minds wants to stop working…) However, some parts had me sit up straight and take notice.
The first method, Assume A Beginner’s Mindset is one that constantly gets me. It’s a universal concept not unique to Design Thinking, and it addresses one of the most basic traits of our humanness, our tendency to see patterns and use them to make snap judgements. This trait is really handy in survival modes where one’s instinct can help one find dinner (or save one from becoming dinner), but it can be a hindrance in helping one navigate today’s daily challenges (don’t punch the angry customer in the face, for example). I really think my genetic mark-up holds some horribly crippling genes that survived thousands of years in accordance with Darwinian principles. These served my ancestors well but are useless for me in my 9 to 5 job and rush hour commutes. My genes want to hunt through dark forests, feast around a fire at night till I explode, and sleep many, many hours to have the ability to perform high intensity bouts of physical action or the occasional multi-day marathon hunt. This kind of stuff is useless in the office.
I’ve had to overcome a lot of bad personal choices, eating habits, broken relationships, etc… The best tool I’ve had by far is the ability to reset, or assume a beginner’s mindset. I’ve had to put on hold judging, including my self. I’ve had to question everything, including some deep set beliefs on religion, relationships and self-image. I’ve had to find patterns of what was chronically broken or consistently ‘good’ to be able to effect meaningful transformation in my life. I had to learn how to listen (mainly to myself and to others of course).
I said it was a broad concept, and one that I personally feel is so important
Back to Graphic Design and Design Thinking, I think the ability to assume a beginner’s mindset is the starting point that allows for all the other methods on the list to be learned and implemented.
I would discuss all other methods that peaked my interest by I do have to get back to real life at some point (it’s Superbowl Sunday), so I’ll discuss the ‘Stoke’ method.
Stoking is a way to break the ice and get the creativity juices flowing. I made a special note of that method because of my teaching experience: I love to foster a brainstorming environment for my critique or creativity lab sessions but sometimes instead of me infecting my students with energy and excitement I’ve had classes bring me down with there complete lack of enthusiasm and interest. These were the worst experiences in my teaching career. I hope I can now approach these sessions with a couple of aces up my sleeve (category, category, die?).
Thanks for reading.