Design Thinking – What Could Be?

Design Thinking – What Could Be?

Last week, OPX’s Professional Development lunch veered from the norm. Our very own Steve Polo took the floor and discussed his passion — design thinking.

What is design thinking? It is an emerging business approach that uses design methodology to solve business problems and create new ideas. Consider Apple as an example. Steve Jobs was a design thinker. He conceptualized the iPad prior to the existence of a tablet market. He created demand for a product rather than fulfilling an established demand.

At OPX, we are design thinkers. We apply design thinking to our projects with the hopes that through our design we are able to not only help our clients work better, but to some extent, help our clients become design thinkers themselves.

Our Integrated Operating Environment (IOE) methodology begins by understanding our clients’ unique strategies, work processes and cultures to ensure the completed projects yield real bottom line results. The process not only uncovers a client’s current operations, but it allows the client and us to imagine what operations could be in the future space … and what the future space could be.

The first and most important step to design thinking is abductive reasoning—asking “what could be.” How could operations improve? How could the space accommodate future operational changes and growth? Functional Fixity often hinders our ability to see things differently than what we’re used to. As author Roger Martin points out in The Design of Business: Why Design Thinking is the Next Competitive Advantage, a conventional business goal is to systematically hone and refine current knowledge, rather than move from the current knowledge state to the next. This is where we come in. Through IOE and Transformation Leadership, we help clients imagine what could be and help them achieve those aspirations through design.

tin can

During his presentation, Steve challenged our own abductive reasoning skills. He told us to imagine that we were on a deserted island with a tin can and asked us to write down all the different ways we might use the tin can. In other words, what could the tin can be?

The following list was generated by OPX team members:

[one_third last =”no”]
1.  Cup
2.  Shovel
3.  Net
4.  Storage container
5.  Noisemaker
6.  Knife (when broken)
7.  Rainwater collector
8.  Reflector
9.  Bucket
10. Dumbbell
11. Maracas
12. Drum
13. Sheet of metal
14. Tube
15. Plate
16. Heating device
17. Friend (Mr. Can? Mr. Tin? Wilson?)
18. Build sandcastles
19. Fire starter
20. Trap
21. Ocean sound maker device
22. Ant house
23. Bird house[/one_third] [one_third last =”no”]
24. Toilet
25. Decoration
26. Game
27. Weapon
28. Tiny hat
29. Marker (geographically)
30. Colonial accessory
31. Signal for help
32. Bullhord
33. Stress ball
34. Protector of the elements
35. Mirror
36. Cookie cutter
37. Fish hook
38. Colander
39. Boat
40. Message in a can
41. Archaeology of prior inhabitant
42. Brick mold
43. Measuring cup
44. Bad hat
45. Bongo
46. Washing tool
47. Megaphone[/one_third] [one_third last =”yes”]
48. Tiny seat
49. Saw (unrolled)
50. Fan (unrolled)
51. Toy (kick the can)
52. Stamp
53. Bracelet
54. Dinner bell
55. Juggling device
56. Wind chime
57. Bartering currency
58. Post end
59. Razor
60. Weight
61. Rolling pin
62. Wheel
63. Spittoon
64. Water evaporation (salt)
65. Basketball hoop
66. Golf hole
67. Pillow (ouch)
68. Gauntlet to fight piranhas
69. Press
70. Car piece
71. Tail pipe patch/connector [/one_third]

Who knew there were at least 71 uses for a tin can?! What do you think a tin can could be?

Or what could your office be? What could your business be?

What could be??

Happy adbductive reasoning!

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