From 14 to 16 July 2010, Agnes Willenborg and I attended the ExecEd Design Thinking BootCamp 2010 at Stanford University’s Hasso Plattner School of Design, or in short: Stanford d.school. Along with 40 executive-level professionals, we worked through an intensive 3-day workshop program facilitated by a team of experienced d.school faculty members. Design thinking is the human-centered, prototype-driven iterative process of innovation that can be applied to product, service, social, and business design. Starting point in this process is the belief that creativity can be cultivated, and hence, taught.
Over the course of three days we discussed and practiced the principles of design thinking: empathy, problem definition, ideation, prototyping, testing, and storytelling. Key insights that we took away are related to the value of exploring deep consumer insights based on ethnographic research on extreme users, the benefits of very high-pressure, short time-frame “working gigs”, and the importance of non-PowerPoint storytelling. Another one of our gained insights relates to the instrumentality of the “search for tension”: tension between conflicting consumer needs, tension between prototyping variables and/or tension through “inverting” problem statements. It is often these tensions that offer opportunities for innovation.
An additional part of the program immersed us in the world of the Environment Collaborative, which is an ongoing project specifically aimed at designing the d.school customized studio space to foster radical interpersonal collaboration and creativity. We had a chance to take a look at, learn about and experience many of its great features, props and functionalities.
We look forward to welcoming our d.friends soon in Amsterdam @ PICNIC 2010.