In 'That sinking feeling' I hinted at the personal journey that people on innovation teams need to undertake in order to become a high-performing ensemble (in Tudor Rickards words "Teams from Heaven" or "Dream Team") creating products and services that benefit all concerned with that output (the stakeholders).
Most worthwhile innovation requires change and change is usually uncomfortable so anything we can do to facilitate the process should be welcome.
Design Journey evolved as a pragmatic response to a team in crisis (Tudor Rickard's "Team from Hell"). The original thinking came from observing the level of uncertainty that arose as the team began to realise how much they didn't know and our awareness of the tacit knowledge locked away in the minds of those people. So we needed a process that minimised the pain of change as people built a common motivating vision of what the project would deliver, ensured that they discussed and debated ideas to discover routes that could deliver on the vision; acted to create concepts that could be discussed and enhanced leading to definitions of the "best" one that can be demonstrated to a wider range of people and then deployed and launched.
In short we needed to put in place a process that supported teams as they ReThink what thay are trying to achieve, ReFocus on how they will achieve and ReEnergise people to ensure that products and services are excellent from all points of view.
Design Journey is a facilitated process that recognises that there is ambiguity between what is envisaged and initially what individuals think is possible; helps the team to co-create a strong vision, a story, of the experience thay will deliver and organise themselves to deliver on the story.
ReThinking is an observation and orienting phase where people move from abstract expectations of the teams' individuals, makes explicit the gaps between where they are and where they need to finally end up, and a outline of how to move forward. There are two steps to be taken:
1. Deciding on our Innovation project strategy- what is the business driver? who are we doing this for?
2. Discovering motivating Insights about our potential users
ReFocusing involves the team in running with the insights, creating initial ideas of routes that could be taken to address user needs and desires, and building a strong vision of the user experience that might be possible to enable through one route or another. Again there are two stages:
3. Describing ideas that might deliver in the form of a vision of the user experience
4. Defining valid concepts that can be shared with others and whittled down to a winning scheme.
The ReEnergising phase involves building prototypes that can be assessed for viability throughout the value chain; followed by the scale-up phase as the roll-out plan is put into place, i.e.
5. Demonstrating viable prototypes
6. Deploying the total solution.
One of the benefits of the Design Journey model is that you can plot your team's progress on it and help individuals understand that it is okay to feel uncomfortable as each person discovers what they know and don't know in the context of the project challenge.
If we think about the design technologies necessary to support the team's Design Journey then I always categorise them into 5 interrelated groups:
1. Design Digital Modelling
2. Design Simulation and Visualisation
3. Physical modelling and prototyping
4. Master Data Management
5. Collaborative Infrastructure
So by strategically selecting and exploiting these 5 meta-technology groupings, combined with the processes and tools of Design @ The Edge we can make a dramatic difference to the uniqueness and performance of our innovation portfolio. We endeavour (and succeed) to deliver on our stories, because we have a box of tools, technologies and techniques which is the opposite to Abraham Maslow's quote:
“If the only tool we have is a hammer then we tend to see every problem as a nail.”
But the challenge of change is making room mentally and schedule-wise to adopt, master and exploit this new stuff.. for “The main barriers to innovation are within the organisation and the key to innovation is not creating new ideas but escaping old ones.” -Bradley, von Bidder and Winter.
In other words we have to find a way to
Picture uploaded by Monkey [20after4]. Used with thanks under CC.