Scrappy Design Thinking – Simple Rules, Practical Tools

In another article I rambled on about how design thinking’s powerful combination of tools and techniques produces outcomes beyond the predictable. Here I’ll share an approach that integrates key elements of design thinking with a Scrappy Project Management© style. Using this approach will generate new possibilities that you’d never discover using traditional problem-centric approaches. 

Scrappy Design Thinking Overview. Both design thinking and Scrappy Project Management© share an obsession with “the customer”. And both start by “thinking from the future” rather than getting stuck in the current situation, hampered by self-limiting beliefs about what’s possible. Rather than using the classic design thinking model of Empathize – Define – Ideate – Prototype – Test, let’s use a cycle that’s a bit easier to remember: Why? – Who? – What? – How?

  • Rather than instinctively jumping to HOW to solve a “problem”, start with WHY – Why is this project important? Why work on this? 
  • Next explore WHO – who cares, who’s impacted, who’s involved, and who’s judging the success of your project? 
  • Then move on to WHAT – what outcomes would go beyond “solving a problem” to surprise and delight your stakeholders? 
  • Then, and only then, design and prototype HOW to achieve these outcomes and delight these stakeholders. 
  • Go through the entire cycle again, expanding, revising, and refining your prototypes repeatedly, until you collapse in an exhausted heap, worn out, but with a self-satisfied smile on your barrier-shattering face. Hmmm . . . perhaps I overpromise. Let’s see what happens.

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Kimberly is a wonderful blend of energy and creativity melded with a keen mind that knows how to get things done. She is constantly looking for possibilities and then devising ways to bring them to life. She enjoys helping and mentoring others, and I am delighted to know that she is doing that now for organizations ready to go to the next level.

Books in the Scrappy Guides™ Series

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