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Transcript #56: Complete Design Thinking Crash Course with Luke Entrup

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Episode #56: Complete Design Thinking Crash Course with Luke Entrup, Partner in Evolution

Caneel Joyce:

Hi, this is your host, Caneel Joyce, and welcome to Allowed. Today, I’ve got something special to offer you. It’s one of our skill-building series. Earlier this year, we offered you a skill-building series about how to shift you and your team out of drama. And today’s episode is a little bit different. Today, I’m offering you a training that I’ve actually developed for a client, and it’s all-around design thinking. And design thinking is a powerhouse of a skill that literally can be applied to any situation where there is a problem to solve, and who doesn’t have a problem to solve.

So design thinking was created by firms like IDEO and the Stanford d.school where I used to be on faculty. I’ve done some coaching there, I’ve worked with their graduate program and I am just so into this field of work. I’m really excited to offer with you this skill, which is especially important to me because it’s really where I cut my teeth as a facilitator and a coach, and it’s where I discovered that no matter what tasks you’re working on, the work is always the inner work. That the breakthroughs come, not just in whatever your innovation is, whatever it is that you’re designing, but really in this internal opening of yourself when you’re most interested in how to serve, and how to best understand your users, and how to really, really serve them. And that’s where the breakthroughs come from.

So I’m very excited to offer this to you.

Now, this training is available to you, actually, it’s a whole series of videos that I developed with my colleague, Luke Entrup, who you met in episode two of Allowed. He was our expert in shadow. So you can go and check that out at caneel.com, allowedpodcast.com and it’s all available on our YouTube channel. If you go to this episode’s show notes, you’re right there in your description in the podcasting app, you can click through and we’ll take you to the series of videos.

And please, I encourage you to share this with your teams and anybody else who might find it interesting and useful, and there’s a lot more where this came from. So please click into the show notes for further resources on design thinking. If this turns you on, I would really love to hear from you. It’s very different piece of content and I think you’ll find it really interesting. Let’s get started. You are allowed to be whole.

Caneel Joyce:

Hi, I’m Caneel.

Luke Entrup:

And I’m Luke.

Caneel Joyce:

And we’re here today to talk to you about design thinking. This is one of the coolest processes and skillsets that I know of that you can apply to almost any problem. Design thinking was created initially as a way to create more innovative ideas, specifically in the area of product design and industrial design. But what has been developed is a really rigorous, but also very flexible methodology that now is being applied to healthcare problems, organizational problems, leadership problems, process design, service design.

 

Probably most of the things that you see and touch every day have been influenced in some way by part of the design thinking process, if not the entire thing. And a lot of the great work and resources that have been done around design thinking and really nailing this process down were done at the Stanford Design School, the d.school, the Hasso Plattner Institute of Design where I’m occasionally on faculty and there we’ve applied that to product design, also organizational leadership, strategic pivots, innovation roadmapping, a whole host of things.

 

Another great place to go for resources is the amazing design firm IDEO, and they have an incredible toolkit of videos, and lessons, and lectures that you can dial into, and you can even join one of ideo.org’s projects and start applying it in a social cause kind of a setting, which is super cool.

Luke Entrup:

Yeah. And I learned a lot of these skills myself through the healthcare industry, healthcare innovation and wonderful organization that’s bringing design thinking to healthcare is the Center for Care Innovations. And so all of these design thinking, this process, these skills, the goal with all of this is innovation. And just a word or two about innovation. Innovation is coming up with novel ideas, and there’s actually a skillset and mindsets that can help us come up with novel ideas.

 

Innovation is about applying an idea that exists out in the world in a new context. And so when we look at changing the context and really understanding a problem in a deep way, that’s when new and novel ideas emerge.

Caneel Joyce:

And what’s really neat about design thinking in particular is that unlike just a kind of blanket creativity process, it really helps you hone in on which of these ideas is going to be most useful to your target audience, and we call those your users. So what is your user really need and want? What are the problems that they experience? And how are they using your innovation in the real world? By answering all of these questions through this design thinking process, you really can remove a lot of the risk from your innovation.

 

And one of the reasons why organizations often don’t innovate is because of risk. Even in our own lives, we often don’t innovate on our own life patterns because it feels too risky to change things up. So we really want to invite you to think about where could you be using design thinking in your own life, where do you really want to shake things up and get some better results?

 

So we wanted to talk you through the design thinking process as a whole. After this video, we’re going to be diving deeper into each one of these specific areas and giving you some specific tools, and skillsets, and mindsets that you can apply in your own life and in your own job. So the design thinking process contains one, two, three, four, five steps, and this is a very iterative process, I want to say that upfront.

 

The first time in the design thinking process is empathize. This is where we really get to know our users and get to know the world through their eyes. Where we really want to feel their feelings and get into their environment, into their mindset so that we can create a better solution for them. The second step is where we’re defining the specific problem, so not from our perspective, but actually from the user’s perspective. So the empathy process helps us to better understand the problem and design it from their perspective, define it from their perspective.

 

After we’ve really understood the problem, only then do we begin to ideate, come up with new ideas. This is the big game changer of design thinking. So in lots of organizations, lots of creative work, we begin with ideation. And ideation is super fun, but we often don’t have enough information yet to design something extremely useful or extremely novel for a user who’s not us. So we really hold off on jumping to solutions until we get to this phase. And ideation, brainstorming actually has some guidelines, some rules, some best practices that research has shown that really make the process more effective.

 

Some of my research I did at Berkeley also was on ideation and the importance of constraints around ideation. So there’s a lot that we really understand about this process, and we’ll be diving into that in another video.

 

After we’ve gathered a lot of ideas and we’ve tried to really break the boundaries around what was possible, we begin to prototype. This is another thing that’s unique about the design thinking process, is that we’re going to make a really scrappy prototype, which is basically a test, an experiment, a really low fidelity, often pretty inexpensively done a mock-up of one of the ideas that we want to test out in the world. And then we take the prototype out into the world and we test it. Lots of different ways to test it out.

 

And the goal of this is we want to learn, how is this really being received? How is it being used? How is it being understood? Is it clear what you’re supposed to do with this and are people getting the value out of it that we’re wanting them to get? Is it solving the problem? So you can really think of design thinking as a massive learning process where you’re testing new hypotheses, you’re understanding things from a different perspective. And that’s where the innovation comes from, is this really getting into the user’s mindset?

Luke Entrup:

Great. Next, we’re going to explore what those mindsets are.

Caneel Joyce:

All right, let’s take a look.

Luke Entrup:

All right. Here are the design thinking mindsets. Curiosity is maybe the most important. This just simply means greeting it with questions rather than already know any answers. Another important one is rigor, making sure that we have the processes around this to really draw out the most novel ideas. Creativity, when a team can really feel creative. It’s much more engaged in finding these new fresh ideas and greeting all things with beginner’s mind.

Caneel Joyce:

Also really important and unique to design thinking is empathy. Really getting into the mindset and the heart of what it’s like to be our user and what they really care about. Learning focus and a growth mindset. So we’re always seeking to improve and we’re not seeking to be right or to justify our own idea. Contextual thinking, so when we’re getting to understand a problem or a user, we want to understand not just that in isolation, but in this whole entire social, and cultural, and emotional context.

 

And lastly iteration. In design thinking, the cool thing is, you’re never done, but you can be done pretty quickly. You can be done pretty quickly, and then you keep going, and you keep going, and keep learning, and adding, and iterating, and making things better. This is a highly flexible process. These mindsets by the way, are also extremely valuable for life in general. So enjoy getting into this really fun mindset and I think you’re going to have a really good time with the process.

Luke Entrup:

We’ll start to dive into some specific skills that can help you design new products or something new about your life. We’re going to take a little closer look at a tool used in the empathizing mindset, which is interviewing, end user interviews. This is really important for us to really be able to shape and form our understanding of the problem. And until we really have a deep understanding of the problem and the environment that the problem exists in, we don’t have an opportunity to create something new.

Caneel Joyce:

Great thing about interviews are very easy to do. They can be fast, you can do a lot of them in a shorter amount of time and there’s opportunities to do interviews all around you. So let’s dive into what this process looks like, Luke.

Luke Entrup:

The first step is really understanding the space that the problem exists in, so we want to start to narrow down our focus and really understand specifically what problem we want to start to solve.

Caneel Joyce:

And we’re going to keep it somewhat open where we’re focused on a problem, but we have that understanding that we might not know exactly what the problem is yet, but we have a space that we’re exploring that we’re going to stay focused on. Second step is identifying your users. So once you know what the problem space is you’d like to explore, you want to think about who does this impact? Who does it impact that I specifically care about? And then I want to solve the problem for, I want to find an opportunity to innovate for them.

Luke Entrup:

Yeah. The third step is once we’ve identified these users and these users may be users of a product or user could mean something as simple as the team that I’m leading or the people that exist in this problem space. So end user, think about it in a broad sense. And once we’ve identified them, the third step is to go find them in their native environment. Go be where they live.

Caneel Joyce:

I’ve done user interviews on the train, I’ve done them at coffee shops. I’ve done them on the street. I’ve done them inside of organizations.

Luke Entrup:

I’ve done them in on the Embarcadero in San Francisco. I’ve done them in waiting rooms in health clinics.

Caneel Joyce:

Right. You can take this anywhere. Okay. Then reason why native sitting? Why is that important?

Luke Entrup:

Once we see them in their environment and once we’re talking to them in the environment, they’re much closer to the experience and the problem. So rather than calling them after the fact, we can actually see their behaviors, the way that they’re moving through the space, which sometimes is really important.

Caneel Joyce:

Yes, hugely. All right. Step four, ask questions and observe. So they’re in their native space, you’re going to get to ask questions, but it’s not just an information gathering exercise. It’s also, as you’re asking the questions, observing them doing some activity, ideally, where they’re interacting with that problem space. So if I’m going to go out and design an onboarding process for my team of employees, I would want to observe actual employees going through an onboarding process and not just ask them questions, but see what’s happening there.

Luke Entrup:

What are some of your favorite questions?

Caneel Joyce:

Oh gosh. I love, “What are you doing there?” And then, “What does that do for you? Why does that part matter?”

Luke Entrup:

One of my favorites is, tell me more about that. Tell me more about what you’re doing there, or tell me more about why that’s important to you. Why is this important to you?

Caneel Joyce:

I also love to ask, is anything that’s challenging about this? Anything that you had to develop a work around for? Any kind of pain points here?

Luke Entrup:

How does this make you feel? Or why does this matter to you?

Caneel Joyce:

How did you learn to do this?

Luke Entrup:

If there was one thing you could change about this process, what would it be?

Caneel Joyce:

Right. I hear you.

Luke Entrup:

So these are some examples. So once we’ve gone through asking a few of these questions, we want to go to the most important step, which is step five, which is ask more questions.

Caneel Joyce:

Ask more questions. So it’s all about follow questions, you’re going to start with open-ended questions and just see where they go. And you want these questions to be ones that invite your users almost to tell you a story, to get really into their own personal experience. So the way that you ask them is critically important because you want them to feel really, really like you’re interested in them. That gives you the space to then ask a follow-up question. Do you have a favorite follow-up question

Luke Entrup:

It’s back to, oh, tell me more about that.

Caneel Joyce:

What else? Great.

Luke Entrup:

Yeah. And so once we’ve done all of that, then hopefully we have a much deeper understanding of the problem. Then we can start to think about understanding solutions, but until we’ve really understood the problem, we need to hold back on solutions. And we want to understand it from the point of view of the people we’re trying to solve for the people, our end users, whomever, they may be.

Caneel Joyce:

Now, a question I get all the time is, how many interviews do I need to do? And what I typically say is, you want to do enough interviews that you’ve talked to a variety of people in your user groups so that you’re getting some of the diversity that is there. But then once you’ve started hearing the same themes again, and again, and again, you’ve reached what I call a saturation point, and you’re done.

Luke Entrup:

I think we’re done.

Caneel Joyce:

Yeah.

Caneel Joyce:

Hi, I’m Caneel.

Luke Entrup:

And I’m Luke.

Caneel Joyce:

We’re here today to talk to you about user journey mapping, which is one of the most valuable skills in the defined phase of the design thinking process. And in this phase, your job as a design thinker is to really understand what is the problem that I’m trying to solve from the user’s experience. So I’ve just explored a big problem space, I’ve done a bunch of user research in the empathy phase, and now I want to zoom in and get crystal clear on where am I going to invest my innovation effort? And where am I going to start ideating. Before I ideate, I really need to understand the problem. This tool is really helpful.

Luke Entrup:

Yeah. And so in order to really understand the problem, I want to actually map the journey that the end users and those related to the end users take to really sketch out and understand most importantly, what are the critical pain points. Once we understand the pain points, then we can design solutions to address those pain points. That’s really the intention with this tool. We have an example here we want to share based on some recent experience we both had landing at LAX Airport and ordering a rideshare, an app-based ride. And if anybody’s had this experience, they know it’s ripe for pain points. Probably-

Caneel Joyce:

You just redone the whole entire thing and it’s quite an experience.

Luke Entrup:

Yeah. This is what we would call an epic failure from a design perspective. So we want to map out the users, first let’s map out the rider. So the rider lands in the plane and is ready to get to their location. Maybe their satisfaction is right here, they’re optimistic that they’re going to get where they need to go. The next thing they do is they easily order a car, this is their ordering and then they walk to the terminal. To the curb through the terminal, it’s a little far. Their satisfaction dips a bit. And then they’re greeted with-

Caneel Joyce:

Go to really far away.

Luke Entrup:

Get in this-

Caneel Joyce:

You need to walk way across the airport, no matter what terminal you in, and you need to go to this one central place. And that’s where every other single person is going to go, but you don’t quite know what’s going on. And then you go like way past the last terminal.

Luke Entrup:

And so you get on a shuttle or you walk into a very remote parking lot and-

Caneel Joyce:

There’s a guy playing the piano.

Luke Entrup:

Right. And so once you’re on this shuttle, they take you to this remote area, and then you see a mass of humanity with four lines, four queues. And based on which app you’ve used, you get an queue, whether it’s a taxi or one of the other apps. And the queue is quite long and it doesn’t seem to have any order. Your satisfaction is quite low at this point. Finally, you get to the front of the queue, you give your driver a code and he or she lets you in. And then finally you’re on your way, stuck in LA traffic.

 

This is the journey of the rider. It’ll look something like this. The driver maybe looks something like they get a notification that they have a new rider. They drop off their old ride, they’re happy about that. And then they discover it’s at LAX, so they’re probably not very happy, and then they wait, and they wait in the queue for quite a long time until they finally pick up a rider with the code and they’re on their way. And so you can see there’s a trending down in this general direction.

 

Other drivers, maybe we want to look at other people in the environment. Perhaps a driver has to drop off another passenger or is driving a bus and they are approaching LAX, and-

Caneel Joyce:

And this would be just be like a regular lay person. They’re not a rideshare driver. This is the problem that this new design was supposed to alleviate is all the traffic, right?

Luke Entrup:

All the traffic, so these are other drivers traffic on the road. And so they know they’re going to LAX, they’re not feeling happy about it. And perhaps they are greeted coming into the airport maybe with a little less traffic than they had before, but there’s still quite a bit of traffic, still some long lines. LAX will tell you that they made this process much smoother for the other drivers and they’re on the way. So this was the original design, was to alleviate traffic in general.

 

So what we want to do is clearly identify the pain points. We can do that by marking red, and so there are several clear pain points around getting to this remote parking lot and then waiting in the queues. And we want to think about designing to these pain points.

Caneel Joyce:

Without sacrificing these high points, which was the intention of the new design. So this lets us now look at like the entire ecosystem of what’s going on over time and figure out where do we want to zoom in? This helps us really define our problem, and now we’re ready to start ideating.

Luke Entrup:

Yeah. So whether you’re arriving at LAX, or you’re deciding what to have for dinner, or you’re looking at a way to roll out a new strategy in an organization to onboard new employees, or just create more alignment in your team, you can use this tool to really understand the journey of the user. So we’re going to walk you through some tools related to brainstorming. If you remember in our design thinking process, we’ve gone empathize to define, to ideate. This is the juicy part where we can actually start exploring and brainstorming new ideas.

Caneel Joyce:

Yeah. And there’s a lot known about dos and don’ts of ideation. So we’re going to share with you some of the stuff, and this is really grounded in research. There’s tons of data on this, so listen up, it can be really helpful. The first thing when you sit down to brainstorm is to frame the brainstorming session with a specific pointed question that’s grounded in insight. And one of my favorite question kickoffs is, how might we? And then you fill in the blank. So I might point back to some user research I’ve done and some customer journey mapping and I might say, how might we alleviate wait times for drivers at the airport?

 

How might we use technology to alleviate drive times at the airport? Would be even honing in even closer, so you can get as specific as you want. It’s really great at this point to bring some of that data into the conversation to this, bring everyone back to that place of user empathy and remind them of what’s been learned out in the field, talking to real users in their native context. You can also bring in inspiration from other sources such as competitive research. So what are some competitors in this space doing? Or from my favorite analogous areas?.

 

So it could be that one place where things are really highly, highly efficient is in an operating room. So what can I learn from that extreme environment? And I want to bring in as a facilitator to inspire people to come up with efficient ways of doing other things like doing a pickup at the airport, if that’s the problem that we’re focusing on. You can apply this logic by the way, to any problem at all that you’re focusing on in a brainstorming session, and we’re picking one example that from a prior video, which is improving wait times at LAX Airport for rideshare customers and drivers.

 

All right. So now you frame the question and insight and you shared some inspiration, and it’s time to facilitate your brainstorming session. Always begin with a creative warmup. Most of us are coming in pretty cold, we’re in a different mode of thinking and it’s time to warm us up and get us feeling comfortable with each other. One of my favorite warm up activities is, we all stand in a circle and everybody very quickly just name the movie. If your life was a movie today, what movie would today have been for you? Another one might be, if you were a superhero today, which superhero would it be?

Luke Entrup:

Hey Caneel, what’s your super power?

Caneel Joyce:

Oh, my superpower? Challenging people.

Luke Entrup:

It’s true.

Caneel Joyce:

What’s yours?

Luke Entrup:

Mine, if I was a superhero today, it would be one that could probably walk through walls, being cooped up in a studio all day.

Caneel Joyce:

Oh yeah. Right. Sounds good. All right. So we’ve done a warm up, now see, we’ve just gotten to know each other a little bit and it’s very real time, so I understand where he’s coming from, where I’m coming from. My energy is feeling a little lighter and I’m ready to have fun. Okay. Then I’d want to offer the rules of brainstorming as a framework. And I would put these up on the wall or give them as handouts so that everybody in the room remembers the rules of brainstorming. The first and most important rule is, defer judgment. What does that mean?

Luke Entrup:

Defer judgment is back to this piece around having an open mind and holding off on believing that our answer’s right or that it’s not feasible, that an idea is not feasible. There are no wrong ideas with deferring judgment. Right?

Caneel Joyce:

Yeah. Right, absolutely. I also don’t want to judge my own ideas. So we often get so in our heads, we’re scared to share our own ideas. Super important skill is letting go of that self judgment, let the idea out. You never know what idea it might spark in somebody else.

Luke Entrup:

And don’t worry, there will be a time when we actually do look at feasibility, otherwise, this doesn’t work. But for now we want to just… the idea is get as many ideas out as possible.

Caneel Joyce:

Right. And that’s another of the rules of brainstorming is, go for quantity, not quality. When you get a massive quantity of ideas out there, you have a much higher opportunity of one of them being highly original and highly useful, and one that nobody else would have thought of. So you need to get a lot of the predictable ideas out before you start getting into the really interesting, innovative stuff.

 

Third rule is, go for wild ideas. So you want to go for ideas that are very far in the extremes, things that are really risky, things that you think to yourself, that’ll never work, or they’ll never give us the money for that. And you also want to think of ideas that make you a little bit shaken up. So going for wild ideas helps you get to those original ideas.

 

Third rule build on each other’s ideas. So if Luke were to share an idea with me, I would want to then take that as a seed, how can I let that inspire me and build something else? And then what if we did this? And then what if we did this? Okay. Important for keeping the conversation on track is to focus on that key topic, so having it up on the board helps people keep coming back to it.

 

Then another rule is one conversation at a time. And brainstorming is one of those activities that really feeds the nervous system in a very exciting and positive way. It gives you a little bit of a rush, so we can easily get into a mode where we’re so excited we begin to interrupt each other, and now we’re having 27 different conversations at a time. This is why having a facilitator is super important. They can help bring back that focus.

 

All right. Lastly, make it visual. The more you can bring visual aids and even tactile experiences into this, the better. So drawing pictures if you’re a drawer, using photographs. Even just using different colors stimulates the brain in such a way that you’re going to have more creative ideas.

 

Okay. One of my favorite tips that I want to talk about next is how to prevent group think. I know I’ve been in brainstorming sessions where one person’s really, really dominant and they say an idea, and then suddenly the whole group starts only focusing on that idea and building on it. Maybe it’s a person who has a lot of power like it’s my boss and everybody else’s boss, and so we really want to kind of follow that person.

 

It’s really death for the brainstorming process because we’re not going to get diverse ideas, which is key. So what I have them deal is everybody first writes down a bunch of ideas on their own without talking to each other at all. Just individual brainstorming. It might just only be five minutes, and then I have them share and begin to build on each other.

Luke Entrup:

Yeah. And so when we share, do you want to talk a little bit about maybe what is the process for sharing?

Caneel Joyce:

Yeah.

Luke Entrup:

Okay.

Caneel Joyce:

You want to talk about it?

Luke Entrup:

Let’s do it. Post-its, right?

Caneel Joyce:

Yeah.

Luke Entrup:

These are every design thinking hobbyist or experts friend are post-it notes. A few things about post-it notes. I’m guessing you can’t quite read this. There’s a couple of problems with this. We only want one idea per post-it note, so use as many post-it notes as you can, and you want to use a dark Sharpie, not a light Sharpie. So this-

Caneel Joyce:

Nice big thick one.

Luke Entrup:

… is the best way to do it. Use one idea with a thick marker so everyone can see it. And give everyone an opportunity to not only put their post-it note up on the board, or the wall, or the glass, but also as they do it to take just a moment or two and explain the idea. This is not a monologue or soliloquy, it’s just a phrase or two about the idea. And what that does is allows the opportunity to build on each other’s ideas. Right?

Caneel Joyce:

Cool. And as you’re putting up your post-its, you might start noticing that patterns are emerging for you. So maybe I’m noticing that there are a whole group of ideas related to best way or we’re building on the best way idea. I might want to cluster those together. Now, the cool thing about doing this in post-its is later on, I might realize there’s a different cluster. Like there are some of these ideas that are really, really expensive to pull off and other ones are really inexpensive. We don’t necessarily have a preference at this point, or maybe we do, but we can cluster them and keep rearranging them this way.

Luke Entrup:

You can’t move flip charts, you can’t move chalkboards, you can’t move dry erase boards, but you can move post-its.

Caneel Joyce:

Also, moving your body is one of the last tips I’ll get. When you’re up and active and you’re moving things, it helps stimulate the brain and get those creative juices flowing, keeps everyone awake, and it can be just a ton of fun. Great break in the workday, so have fun with the ideation stage.

Caneel Joyce:

Today, we’re going to talk about two by twos, which is a very useful tool for the ideate stage of the design thinking process.

Luke Entrup:

This tool comes a little later in the ideation phase where we’ve regenerated all of these, a lot of blue sky thinking. We have this massive volume of ideas, which is right where we want to be. Now, what do we do to start to… We’ve opened up, what do we do to start to narrow the process and really decide what are the ideas that are worth investing in and pursuing a bit further? So this is a really great tool to start to narrow that process and give us a filter and a lens to look at that.

 

So it’s a very simple, simple tool. We have an X and a Y axis, and we can really put anything we want on these axes. The two that I prefer that I think are most useful is high impact, so which of the ideas are going to have the biggest impact on our strategic direction, or on our organization, or on whatever problem we’re trying to solve? And on the other axis, how much time is it going to take? What is the time allocation? What’s the fuse on this? So these are quick and these are slow.

 

And then we take these ideas that we’ve generated in the brainstorming phase and we place them on this grid, the two by two grid. And so upper right is going to be high-impact ideas that are easy to implement. This is the classic low-hanging fruit quadrant. The lower right, high-impact ideas that maybe take a little longer to roll out. It’s just good to know that the… It’s not to say we don’t invest in them or pursue them, just good to know that they’re going to take a little bit more.

 

And then at some point, we draw a line around either not yet, we’re not going to pursue these ideas, or it’s really clear this idea here is not one we’re going to follow through on. Because it either is not… In this case, is not going to have the impact we want. So this is just a really nice filtering system and you can swap out anything on these axes. A few other things we like are resource, how much money is it going to take? How much time?

Caneel Joyce:

How much political support is there for this idea? How inclusive is the idea already?

Luke Entrup:

How long does it take to get to market or implementation?

Caneel Joyce:

Yeah. So you can really slice and dice this any way you want to, and you can actually do this multiple times after one ideation session to just get a real feel for which ideas keep winning regardless of the two by two?

Luke Entrup:

And there’s one other tool that you sometimes can snap onto this, which is the voting tool, which we’ll talk about in some of our trainings. But this essentially, everybody gets one or two votes or maybe three, and they can just make a little mark on the sticky note once they’ve seen it on the map. So then you get a little bit of a heat map about where everybody’s energy’s at, what is the group mind think around what ideas we should proceed with.

 

In this video, we’re going to dive into a tool used in the prototyping phase, which is storyboarding. Now, there’s a lot of different ways that we can prototype. Some of them are quite fun. We can make 3D models of things that we’re designing. If we’re working on technology, we’ll look at, we can do story or we can map out, prototype the UX experience where maybe we draw out, sketch out what the app or the tool looks like. In this tool, storyboarding, it can be used very broadly, which is why we wanted to teach it today.

Caneel Joyce:

Yeah. And the cool thing about the design thinking mindset is, we go for scrappy. We don’t need high fidelity. 3D model might actually be made out of toothpicks, and straws, and cotton balls. I used to have a big cart that just had a lot of different art supplies in it and you can literally gloom together and there you have a prototype, so you can test an idea out in the field. That’s what we’re trying to get to.

 

So our first objective is we want to be able to flesh out an idea that we selected in the ideation phase. Second objective is, we want to be able to flesh it out so much that not only do we understand it, but another potential user can understand it and they could interact with it in some way, so that we could learn in that test, is this really going to provide you value? So that’s really the bar. It doesn’t need to be pretty, and you’ll see, neither one of us is a skilled artist here.

Luke Entrup:

Definitely not.

Caneel Joyce:

But we were able to represent a journey that somebody might go through if they happen to experience using our solution, our idea. So a little bit of setup here. What were we trying to storyboard, Luke?

Luke Entrup:

We wanted to think about onboarding new employees. Generally the experience of onboarding in most organizations is pretty good with the exception of onboarding people into strategy. This is a problem we’ve seen a lot of different organizations. So we thought, what would it be like to look at onboarding through the lens of onboarding into strategy?

Caneel Joyce:

So we came up with a lot of ideas. And this tool, again, can be used in any context. It can be used to storyboard a new way that you want to do your morning routine. It could be used to look at how do we want to improve the car buying process. So there’s lots of different applications. We just picked this one example to walk through it because there’s not really a lot of good examples out there on how we can apply design thinking in an organizational context.

 

So in this idea, what we found out after just this vague post-it note idea, that we would look at the onboarding process to get better strategic alignment, we realized, okay, really this process begins in the job hunt. So we’re not really leveraging that opportunity right now. We could be. People are all sitting down usually at a computer and they’re reading a job description. That’s a great place for us to drop our strategic mission and something about our longterm strategic roadmap. And we don’t have to give any secrets away, but that’s here.

Luke Entrup:

And so, as you see, each phase in the journey is its own sheet again, with a dark colored marker where you can see it. It’s just a rough outline, it doesn’t need to be detailed. And the idea here is it’s a tool to do what Caneel is doing, which is to walk through, to pitch through this idea to explore it together. So this is each phase has its own sheet.

Caneel Joyce:

In the second phase, we’ve got the employee being interviewed here. They’re being told what the strategy is, ask some questions about how this person can contribute to the strategy. The person is really getting excited about it like, “Wow, I’d love to be a part of this. What an exciting company.” And then they can get really clear on, “Here’s how I can contribute.” In the third phase of our idea, it’s day one of the employee experience. They’re walking in on their very first day of working there and they’re given a swag bag that’s filled with a t-shirt that has the mission on it, and a really cool copy of the strategic roadmap and maybe a manifesto.

 

So these are some artifacts that they can bring home and have around with them and leave at their desk as well as references. Then they’re going to sit down with their manager. So there’s like… In that first initial handshake period where you’re really meeting your new manager for the first time, the manager is going to go over your strategic roadmap with you and walk you through not just what the strategy is for the organization and the team, but really you personally you, new employee, here’s where you come in, here’s where you can create impact, and here’s why you, in particular, as an individual is really, really valued here.

 

Lastly, there’s going to be a monthly meeting with the co-founders, where the co-founder gives a strategic update and really grounds everybody again in those core fundamentals of where are we going in the near term, the midterm and the long-term.

Luke Entrup:

So you can see with this process that Caneel’s just gone through, it gives me an opportunity to ask her questions. Maybe I have a new novel idea that is inspired by what could be in the bag or what roadmap might we use for this? So it allows a bit of an exchange, a bit of idea generation by going through each of these phases together.

Caneel Joyce:

Now, in design thinking, the tools are often really essential. So here we use individual sheets of paper. We’ve got some double-sided tape on the back. That lets us move them around and put them in a different order. It also allows us to scrap individual sections, so as we test it later on, we’ll be able to iterate. All right. See you in next one.

Luke Entrup:

Hey, it’s Luke.

Caneel Joyce:

And it’s Caneel.

Luke Entrup:

In this video, we want to give you some dos and don’ts around interview questions.

Caneel Joyce:

How to ask interview questions when you’re doing empathy in the field. Okay. We’re going to start with the don’ts. Hi, I’ve got some questions to ask you about how you currently organize your finances.

Luke Entrup:

Okay.

Caneel Joyce:

Do you like organizing your finances? Yes or no?

Luke Entrup:

No, not really.

Caneel Joyce:

Can you rate it on a scale of one to 10? Where 10 is I hate it, one is I like it.

Luke Entrup:

Seven.

Caneel Joyce:

Seven. Okay. What don’t you like about it?

Luke Entrup:

I don’t like the tension that I feel around it and the disorganization, I guess.

Caneel Joyce:

Okay. And how do you share your financial records with your family? Like your spouse, your partner, your-

Luke Entrup:

How I share my …I don’t share much, I guess. Maybe just what’s necessary.

Caneel Joyce:

And when you share it, do you use electronic records or paper? Okay. That’s been done.

 

All right. So all this stuff I did wrong there was, my questions were totally close-ended. I didn’t give him any space to elaborate or for me to really learn anything at all about him. It was almost like I was conducting a survey and I was a robot. I also asked him a quantitative question that was really, really tricky to answer where he had to rate something on a scale of one to 10 and it felt really backwards the way I was asking it.

 

I dropped a thread, so he said something sort of interesting there in one of the questions and gave me a little bit more information that I could have dug into about his life, but I chose to just plow ahead and ask the next question that was written down for me. Also, you notice that my vocal tone was really, really flat and I didn’t seem that interested in him. I seemed much more interested in just getting through my interview.

 

I’m here holding my phone. I’ve got my iPad, I’m reading my questions and I’m just not engaging with him. So if he doesn’t feel like he’s interested in me, he’s not going to want to give me much information. Now, here’s how we could do it instead.

Caneel Joyce:

Hey, Luke.

Luke Entrup:

Hi.

Caneel Joyce:

I’m really curious about the way you organize your financial life. Is it okay if asked you a few questions?

Luke Entrup:

Cool. Sure, yeah.

Caneel Joyce:

Oh, you seem interested in that.

Luke Entrup:

Yeah, I’m happy to share. Yeah.

Caneel Joyce:

Do you do any organizing with your financial life or?

Luke Entrup:

Yeah, yeah. I have a budget and I use a couple of apps and-

Caneel Joyce:

Oh.

Luke Entrup:

… yeah, I signed up with a few different services that help me, and then I have an accountant.

Caneel Joyce:

Oh wow. That’s a lot of different things. This feels like it’s something that you spend quite a bit of time on.

Luke Entrup:

Yeah, it’s important.

Caneel Joyce:

Great. Important to you. I want to learn more about how it’s important to you. I’m also really curious about the apps that you mentioned and the services. Can you tell me more about those?

Luke Entrup:

Yeah. I use a planning app, I use a credit monitoring app to make sure that everything’s still… there aren’t any surprises or fraud. I use some stuff through the bank. I use some stuff to communicate with my planner and my accountant. So several different tools that help me just have a better handle on how I’m doing. And then I use spreadsheets for my own budget.

Caneel Joyce:

Are these tools and practices that you’ve picked up over time?

Luke Entrup:

Oh yeah. For sure. Yeah, yeah. No, it’s been … over years, working with different people over years.

Caneel Joyce:

At this point, you can see there’s so many threads open, I can go down any direction. I can be really interested in what he’s saying. I could ask about why it’s important to him. I could ask about, tell me a story of when you learned one of these things. I could get more interested in like the fraud element of it and why that matters to him. So there’s just a lot of different directions we can go, and part of it’s because I’m engaged, part is I’m asking open questions.

Caneel Joyce:

And also I am following the thread. And if I can’t follow the thread, I let him know, we are going to come back to this, because I want to validate everything he’s sharing to make him understand that what he has to say and his point of view is really, really important to me.

Luke Entrup:

And so to avoid having to have your head in a notebook or a laptop, you may occasionally ask if you can record the conversation. Some people don’t want it, or depending on the topic that’s not possible. Or maybe you just take a brief little cliff notes just as a way of staying really engaged and present in the conversation.

Caneel Joyce:

Hey, again, it’s Caneel.

Luke Entrup:

And Luke.

Caneel Joyce:

And we are back to talk about the final phase of the design thinking process test. So we have learned about our users. We have defined a specific problem. We have generated a bunch of ideas. We built a prototype of one of our ideas, and now we’re going to go out into the field and test it with the users that we empathize with in the very starting place. For this example, we’re going to be testing out a prototype for a brainstorming kit. So the problem we were approaching is how can we help organizations to be more creative? And the idea that we want to test is, why don’t we give them a kit?

 

Luke is going to play the part of my fearless user. I’m going to go and meet him at his workspace and give him this kit and we’ll see what happens.

Luke Entrup:

Come in.

Caneel Joyce:

Hi.

Luke Entrup:

Hey Caneel.

Caneel Joyce:

Hey, how are you? So good to see you again? We developed something and I wanted to have you take a spin and just see what you think of it.

Luke Entrup:

Okay, great. This is for me to help me to come up with new ideas?

Caneel Joyce:

Well, what does it look like it’s for?

Luke Entrup:

It has lots of markers. That’s great. What’s this do? Oh, okay. Yeah. Sprayed myself in the eye. Okay. So I can draw pictures with this.ooh, okay.

Caneel Joyce:

What were you trying to achieve there? You’re opening it up and-

Luke Entrup:

What is this?

Caneel Joyce:

… what were you trying to understand about?

Luke Entrup:

I was just wondering what it smelled like.

Caneel Joyce:

Okay.

Luke Entrup:

I guess I could… Okay. What’s in here? This box here. Oh-oh. Oh-oh. Okay. Okay. Yep. This things are kind of sticky. All right. Let’s see. So this one-

Caneel Joyce:

And what are you doing now?

Luke Entrup:

Just going to draw some happy little clouds.

Caneel Joyce:

Is that something that you like to do often?

Luke Entrup:

Marker’s not working. Yeah, I like to draw happy little clouds.

Caneel Joyce:

And why is that important to you?

Luke Entrup:

It just makes me feel peaceful. It makes me feel peaceful. But, It’s not really working and some of these markers aren’t working.

Caneel Joyce:

What’s the writing that’s on… I noticed there’s some writing on the side of that one. Did you happen to notice that at all?

Luke Entrup:

Yeah, it says, “Expo.” Okay.

Caneel Joyce:

What else does it say there?

Luke Entrup:

Water erase. Oh. Okay. So maybe I can… Okay. I can maybe do this. Uh-huh. Oh yeah, that’s really interesting. Okay, great.

Caneel Joyce:

And then, is that something that you’d seen or I just pointed out the text and?

Luke Entrup:

Yeah. No, I’ve seen it, yeah. And now I remember how this markers work. Great. Okay. That’s very cool. Yeah. I could definitely use these for sure. Some of them, some of them were kind of dry, but-

Caneel Joyce:

Great. Now, where do you think you would go with this next? So you’ve just opened it up, experimented with some of the materials. What do you think you could use this for if at all?

Luke Entrup:

If the markers worked and they weren’t so stinky, I could imagine using this in my office with my team to help come up with new ideas. It definitely needs a little work, but I do like the idea. There’s a lot in here I like.I would want more post-its with different colors, but yeah, I can definitely see the value, and yeah.

Caneel Joyce:

And what would the colors do for you?

Luke Entrup:

Because then I could have each color could represent a different category of ideas-

Caneel Joyce:

Okay.

Luke Entrup:

… or different things that we’re working on, so I could have categories rather than just one color.

Caneel Joyce:

Okay, great. Thank you. Thanks for taking a look at this.

Luke Entrup:

Thanks.

Caneel Joyce:

Now, I’d love you to keep it for a week and if you find a use for it, you want to test it out with your team maybe like you said you might use it, I’d love to get your feedback and I’ll call you back in a couple of days and see how it’s going.

Luke Entrup:

Yeah, that’s fine.

Caneel Joyce:

Great.

Luke Entrup:

Thanks.

Caneel Joyce:

All right. So that’s a little example, and there some of the skills that I was using was I was asking… I was mostly observing him. I was just watching it unfold. I didn’t interfere at all. As things started falling out or he was misunderstanding how to use something, if it had been something dangerous, I would have, from an ethical perspective, protected his eyeballs, but I knew that it was water and it was fine. I just wasn’t trying to guide him too much.

Caneel Joyce:

However, I noticed that he missed that detail about it being a water erase marker and I really wanted to see what it was going to be like when he tested that one out. So I decided, okay, I’ve given him some space to see if he can figure it out on his own or if he’s interested and he wasn’t. So I decided to just suddenly direct his attention there by seeing if he happened to notice the writing on the side there.

 

I wasn’t trying to specifically ask him if he liked it or if he didn’t. On his own, he told me that some things were useful, some things weren’t. And usually users will do that. They’ll give you some feedback easily. Now, had he been a bit more quiet, I could have asked even more questions.

Luke Entrup:

And so you notice, this tool is a lot different than something like collecting a survey. This is really based in the direct observation, the ability to understand the context, the ability to follow up. It’s one thing to send out a survey digitally, even if we’re asking more open-ended narrative questions digitally. It’s much different than what we’ve done here, which is live interactive, person to person experimenting with whatever it is that we’re offering.

Caneel Joyce:

And it’s done in his own context, so he’s actually at work and that’s a good place for me to test it. Lastly, this is very, very different from market research or seeing if he gets satisfaction, if he likes this and he’s the right user for this or how he would rate it. Really I’m here to learn just as much as I was in the empathy phase, because member design thinking is iterative. So I’m here with a very much a beginner’s mind trying to see what else can I understand about Luke, and his environment, and what he cares about, and this problem space by seeing how he interacts with this.

So I did learn some new things to bring home like he wants to have multiple colors of post-its. In my next iteration of this, I’ll definitely take that feedback to heart, especially if I hear it from multiple users. So it’s all about learning, and this is the final step. Of course, you’re never done. It’s always time to iterate in design thinking and I hope that you go out into the field and get your hands dirty.

 

Caneel Joyce:

Thank you so much for being here today and listening to today’s skill-building session on design thinking. I hope that this peaks your interest, there’s so much to learn when you apply this lens to the world. And if it gives you even a little bit more inspiration to open your mind to things that you may not have otherwise seen, to understanding your customers, your teammates, your employees better, then I think you’ve done your job here today. So you can check out again the videos if you didn’t get to watch them. They’re all available for you at allowedpodcast.com, as well as links to further resources around this topic.

If this was interesting to you, I have a lot more where this came from. I actually have done a ton of work and research in the fields of creativity, innovation, and design and I’d like to hear if this is something that you want to hear more of on Allowed. So please get in touch with me. You can leave us a review in iTunes or wherever you listen to this podcast. Thanks again. Thanks for being here and we’ll see you next week.

 

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