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.