Monday, July 18, 2011

Are Design Thinking Courses Right For You?

So you’ve heard the term thrown around before. Design Thinking. Courses in Design Thinking. It sounds cool, doesn’t it? New. Cutting edge.
But before you sign up for that design thinking course, it’s best to know what you’re really getting into. Not that design thinking isn’t a good thing, or that design thinking courses can’t help you and your business out tremendously—they can. But blindly running into the fray like a headless chicken never really helped anyone.
Here are the basics:

Design thinking is a process for solving problems in new and creative, yet still practical, ways. It combines empathy, creativity, and rationality to meet user needs, drive business success, and improve things for the future. All good things, right? If that sounds a little too good to be true, that’s because that definition is what’s on the box. In all actuality, design thinking may not be as glamorous as it sounds, but it can still deliver on all those promises when done right.
Just think of it as the opposite of analytical thinking, a cornerstone concept when running any business. But unlike analytical thinking, there are no ideas that are too silly, too stupid (at least not early on, before details are hammered out), and thinking outside the box is held as the beacon towards which all strive.
Basically, design thinking is analytical thinking’s lesser known twin. Again, when done right, the two can go hand in hand, complementing each other all the way down the road towards your business’ success.
So, wait. Hang on a minute. People don’t usually take classes on analytical thinking. I mean, for the most part, it comes naturally. So why would you ever need to take a design thinking course?
Well, you’re reading this right now, aren’t you? Design thinking is still working its way into the hearts and minds of businesspeople everywhere. As organization and management theory, it’s still in its infancy, at least compared to other, more prominent concepts that we’ve been using and reusing since the day capitalism was born.
So, really, it is pretty cool and new and cutting edge, not just because it gets thrown around a lot, but because it’s actually useful. A little weird to wrap your head around at first, maybe, especially when you’ve been thinking analytically all these years, but actually a pretty solid process once you get the hang of it. Despite the fact that creativity and innovation is an integral part of design thinking, there’s no sitting around and waiting for inspiration to strike. You have a process to get through. And sure, that process includes a step called ideate, but even the most uncreative people can pop out really great ideas once they have lots of people and very little judgment to bounce off of.
So those design thinking courses you’ve had your eye on? Sign up. Check it out. If the whole idea is to think outside the box, then trying out that design thinking course is waiting just outside.

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