A Hybrid Design Thinking Approach

Collaborative innovation needs a common framework in order to assure everyone has a common language and understanding on how to drive from Insight to Idea to Implementation.  A common framework, such as Design Thinking assures clarity around where to start and how to move on in projects, empowers teams to proactively seek out and solve complex challenges, assures that people are working on what matters and fuels momentum behind efforts.  In other words, it makes sure innovation gets done.

At SeriouslyCreative we practice IDEA Engineering™. It allows for innovation to be managed, directed and produced when needed.  It is not a linear process like so much of what business are used to; but it does have rules, direction and best practices that make it practical and repeatable.  It harnesses the inherent tensions that ignite innovation balancing iteration with direction, divergence and convergence, abstract and concrete, learning and creating, analysis and creativity.  This tension is what makes innovation fuzzy and sometimes intimidating but also what makes it a powerful agent of change.

Our framework is a theoretical understanding but a tested approach that builds upon the shoulders of great thinkers in how imagination is applied.  We have learned from the best of foundation processes in innovation like Osborn-Parnes CPS, PDCA, AcceleratedInnovation,ThinkX and Design Thinking to produce a framework that is memorable, practical and proven in the field.

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IDEA Engineering™ gives teams a directed trajectory and helps put focus where it is needed at different phases of innovation project.  Innovation is iterative and thrives on feedback and learning along but generally flows through four phases starting with Investigating for Insights to immerse teams in the challenge, discovering opportunities and reframing so that what you set out to solve is worth solving.  Teams also need to Design Ideas where they are given free range to develop multitudes of ideas that are then recombined and connected to make high potential concepts.  These are then Examined for Applicability as concepts are ramped up and improved against existing criteria so that they have the best chance of success.  Finally these potential solutions are Prototyped and Modified based upon real world learning and then launched better prepared to take hold.  Through these four phases we know that teams must modulate between learnings and creating – divergent and convergent focuses – and harness diverse perspectives that feed the ideas.