Sunday, November 04, 2007

Design Thinking: The Next Competitive Advantage

The role of design in business ...

"Roger Martin’s Design Thinking: The Next Competitive Advantage talk at Yahoo! this week outlined design thinking, why it is important, and how we can overcome conflicts that arise between design & business. My notes follow:

* How does our understanding of the World develop over time? Everything starts out as a mystery. As we analyze it, we turn it into a heuristic: a way of characterizing our thinking about something. When we understand it further, we turn it into an algorithm. In the late 20th century we added a fourth step: we began to code our algorithms.

* This process can be thought of as a knowledge funnel. As we move down the knowledge funnel, we leave things out. When something is a mystery, we consider everything. When it is an algorithm, we need to consider less things to understand it. Finally, when a computer runs code it thinks about nothing. It just executes.

* As we move down funnel, we create more efficiency. But the drawback is we leave things out.

* Example: Type-setting. Started with mystery of how to publish, became an algorithm, now it’s code. Requires no thought for most people. Designers add things back into the knowledge funnel. In type-setting, designers add kerning.

* Analytical thinking is refinement within an existing knowledge stage of the funnel. For example, refining an algorithm or a heuristic. Analytical thinking is:
o Substantiation based on past events
o Look at past, use it to tell you what to do
o Deductive: have a rule, apply that rule
o Inductive: take a lot of examples and deduce
o Use a limited number of objective variables
o Minimize judgment to reduce the possibility of bias
o Organized by: ongoing tasks managed over long time
o Mode of Reasoning: declarative –declare whether true or false
o Source of Status: managing big budget & large staff
o Dominant attitude: constraints are the enemy
o Goal is reliability: to produce consistent replicable outcomes

* Design Thinking is the advancement from one knowledge stage to the next knowledge stage. For example, from mystery to heuristic. Design thinking is:
o Substantiation based on future events. Can only be proven in the future.
o Logic of what might be: abductive. Inductive & Deductive does not determine new things.
o The use of a broad number of diverse variables. Not all can be easily quantified.
o Integration of judgment.
o Acknowledgement of the reality of bias
o Organized by: projects
o Mode of Reasoning: generative – logic of what might be
o Source of Status: solving wicked problems
o Dominant attitude: ), constraints add to challenge & excitement
o Goal is validity: the production of outcome that meets objectives"    (Continued via Functioning Form)    [Usability Resources]

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