Toolkit for Designers Working in Business Contexts

26 dic. 2012

Smile. You've got plenty of reasons to be happy!

My personal Design Thinking toolkit as a designer working as a manager in a business context, includes sense of humor and happiness and a positive attitude.  As Richard Branson, Virgin CEO, in his recent post , I believe too that happiness is a great measurement of success.

First inconvenient is that some colleagues believe that being happy is just the opposite of being "professional" because  they associate value creation and professionality with being serious and arrogant: I believe just the opposite (and thank God my boss thinks the same). Being happy and smile means that you are confident about what you do and the responsibility that you are assuming. It means that you care and respect  your audience. It means that you are focus in what you are doing. It means that you are going to accept errors and unexpected situations nicely. It means that you are stating that it's ok to make mistakes, we'll solve them. I'll go further: 

I don't know of any inspiring, visionary leader with no sense of humor...Think about it.

Being transparent about your emotions isn't a weakness, quite the opposite: Emotional intelligence is widely recognized as a leadership quality, and being confident about your emotions is part of it, but leaders are expected to maintain a poker face. I rather laugh and try to make sense through laughter. 

An a piece of advise: Don't mess with a happy person...don't get it wrong...It's a very common misunderstanding believing that "happys" are, no, very wrong! Acting appropriately at the appropriate time...

Designers and innovators need mental peace (and space), time, pace and a crystal clear state of mind to look upon our world, as Proust would say, with fresh eyes and develop new ideas  and insights... But creativity is a live learning, an exhausting and arduous process and it can be a long and sometimes dangerous journey if you have gone through learning the trial and error lessons! 
I'm not going to focus this post in the difficulties but in the joy of overcoming the obstacles that gave designers the opportunity to design their way out of them and learn some valuable lessons in return. 

These are My Top Tens reasons to be happy and have a positive Design Thinking Attitude:

#1 reason to be a happy designer 
The first and best victory is to conquer self. –Plato. 
This is a hard one but totally possible. It needs perseverance, will, empathy, modesty, forgiveness, acceptance, thrownness... This knowledge gained extends to everything you'd do. A creativity driven life needs a clear mind, free from past regrets so new ideas and insights would have space to grow.
(Ha,ha,ha...but this part was soooo difficult)

#2 reason to be a happy designer
Learning not letting yourself get frustrated by people. Sometimes don't fitting in a common stereotype can be so much fun! (Ha,ha,ha)

#3 reason to be a happy designer
Having achieve the ability to function in a hierarchy organitization while being a heterarchy at heart(Ha,ha,ha) Haven't they noticed?

#4 reason to be a happy designer
Perseverance in following your intuition and imaginatively thinking and take the risk of predicting a solution. (Ha,ha,ha)

#5 reason to be a happy designer
Be human, be empathic. Liking and trusting people, no matter what!!!! (Ha,ha,ha)

#6 reason to be a happy designer
Learning the difference between being nice and being weak...and leaning to confront the great amount of people that haven't yet learned the difference. Being tough or elegant when needed (Ha,ha,ha)

#7 reason to be a happy designer
Cultivating patience: Learning to wait the right time, the right moment is an art. (Ha,ha,ha)

#8 reason to be a happy designer
Courage to fight for your ideas, your believes, yourself...Yes! (Ha,ha,ha)

#9 reason to be a happy designer:
Deep beliefs and a smiling Know-How...why not? Making sense through laughter is not weird, isn't it? (Ha,ha,ha)

#10 reason to be a happy designer:
Taking risks, failing, even making a fool out of yourself is what???? Let's try one more time...(Ha,ha,ha)

And the happiest AHA moment: 

YES!  "I made it and I'm still ME ! Isn't it amazing?" (Ha,ha,ha, ha,ha)

Let them think you are a fool and laugh! 

Happy New Year!

My inspirations:

“The drama of original choice is that it goes on moment by moment for an entire lifetime.” by Brain Pickings

A Design Thinking Attitude

6 dic. 2012

Martin Heidegger (1889-1976) philosopher 
My favourite definition of Design Thinking it's got to do with finding the insight among chaos.My favorite insight  about Design Thinking is Martin Heidegger's THROWNNESS concept.

Design Thinking requires a set of professional skills grounded in operating in unstable contexts. Design Thinking mindset it's got to do with being able to coop with wildly different people from yourself and dealing with situations that are radically new... It's got to do with feeling comfortable with unexpected, unstructured and unpredictable; Design Thinking is about finding meaning and understanding out of human attitudes and mindsets that an unstable situation brings up.

Design-Thinking-Thrownnes is got to do with developing a survival intelligence applied to a constant evolving enviroment, totally focus on "think in order to act" versus think to "think some more"

Design Thinking it's got to do with THROWNNESS (German: Geworfenheit): It is a concept introduced by German philosopher Martin Heidegger to describe the interactions of the subject with its surroundings in the everyday life, that causes it to act upon instincts, immediate reactions to other people's language and actions, "flow with the situation," and immediate interpretations.
Once one accepts that not to act is also an action, Heidegger notes that one is 'thrown' into situations without being able to reflect on them first, for to reflect on them (not act) is also something that can be interpreted as an action. One therefore must rely on instinctual interpretations, and go with the flow.

Design Thinking is got to do with assuming that you are THROWN into a situation where you haven't been invited in most of the cases: It's about being ALWAYS AN OUTSIDER and feeling comfortable with it.

Design Thinking is about staying calm and focus under pressure: It's about listening to your instincts among the chaos and saying YES and NO clearly to you and the rest of the world.

Design Thinking is about finding synchronicity and serendipity. It's part of that Thrownness Mindset that needs to be on constant "alert mood", because it knows that sooner or later that knowledge is going to be needed: It is another kind of survival instinct.

Design Thinkers is about empathy: They know that they need to gain their audience trust in every single situation, therefore they need to figure out how to connect with people and creating meaningful connections.

Design Thinking is got to do with honesty. Experienced Design Thinkers know very well how to do their jobs...and one of them is understanding people and their social and emotional relationships in order to manipulate...but totally focus on an honest goal (Maybe this could be a nice definition of empathy: Being able to truly understanding other people's insights and weakness, and being respectful and honest about the use of that knowledge)

Design Thinking attitude is got to do with all written above. It's also the impossible search of understanding the DNA of millions of people...and  secretly say to oneself "I told you!"

This is a great video by Fred Collopy (Case Western Reserve University) and their project "Managing as Designing"


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