“The alternative to good design is always bad design. There is no such thing as no design.” –Adam Judge
Recently, there has been a move for people to learn design thinking skills to prepare for the possibilities on the horizon. Designers have always had a key role in society — finding innovative solutions to problems through creativity, empathy, and ingenuity. Now it is time for us all to find this designer within ourselves and take on challenges that come our way!
We need to have a design mindset to level up our innovation journey into the unfolding future.
The design (thinking) mindset will help us upgrade our skills needed for business design, digital product creation, service innovation and other applicable efforts. We need to sharpen latent, transferable skills by gaining design literacy. Gone are the days when Design (or designers) are equated to aesthetic, or things about beauty and the surface. The last one in a parade of strategic discussions, Design is taking centre stage in many board rooms.
1/ Design(ing) and its consequent mindset is the metaskill that we all should have.
What are these design skills? There are many skills that you need to learn or relearn. But, I believe these are the foundational and impactful skills that an individual needs to embody a design mindset. So, let’s take a page from this list and work towards a competency pathway.
2/ Empathetic (Empathic) — The designer’s approach is always rooted in empathy — understanding what needs are being addressed before designing anything at all. Are you solving the right problem?
Creative — Generating new possibilities for a given problem through different approaches, a designer is effectively imaginative and inventive.
3/ Collaborative — To solve problems more effectively the designer works closely with others to understand the need or challenge. Design is a team sport.
4/ Persistent (Flexible) — Designers must be determined to see through projects without giving up too soon. Despite setbacks they are able to keep going, adapting along the way.
5/ Maker and Doer — When you’ve crossed the threshold of thinking through from problem to the innovative solution, the designer-in-you-need to now build. Make prototypes or even pretotypes to test this against success metrics.
Presentation & Facilitation. This duo might be an oddity in a fairly straightforward list. And it might be two different skills of the spectrum. The common thread with these two is upping your communication skill.
Why do I need to have these design skills?
You, now infused with designerly mindset and skills, become a key asset of any team or organization that would be able to deliver greater value. These skills enable you to save money, time, and energy in your organisation or business. You are instrumental in crafting innovative products, processes or services that propel your team and business forward. These skills make you an intrinsic part of the transformation journey many companies are going through today powered by design.
More businesses are jumping into the well-researched and documented benefits of applying design in business. The value has been established by numerous reports and studies — McKinsey Design Index, Design Value Index, Design Council UK, and Forrester survey on the economic impact of design.
To secure your place in the team and an organisation believing in the efficacy of design thinking, you have to embrace this mindset and sharpen your design skills without any regard to your current function or role — accountant, marketer, or engineer.
So, what could be your action plan to acquire new skills and start rethinking that mindset? Research free and fee-based learning materials on design and all its variations. Attend workshops that not only give you the theory behind the design but offer an experiential and participatory learning experience that works best. Lastly, participate in projects within and outside of your organisation to apply these newly developed skills.
What’s your action plan to embody a design mindset and gain designerly skills?
= This Article was originally published on 7 Sept 2021 in Medium.