Design Thinking is a Dynamic Constructive Process

by Idris Mootee

Design Thinking is a Dynamic Constructive ProcessI was visiting the biggest modern art gallery DOC (Centre for Contemporary Arts) in Holešovice, Prague. It was first opened in Oct 2008 and now going through some interior work and will be re-opening the other half in a week. It was developed by architect Ivan Kroupa and the idea was to reconstruct old factory buildings from the19th century and to build new ones interconnecting as an art gallery. It is like Idea Couture’s office in Toronto where three historic buildings were interconnected.

I am a big fan of contemporary art particular when it stretches the boundaries and interconnecting art, design, culture, media and technology. I am not an art for art sake person. I will add business to art, design and culture. That’s what my magazine M/I/S/C is about.

The current exhibits include Petr Kví?ala’s collection of his older paintings and his Zig Zag Corridor paintings on the wall which creates optical effects on the big space – a 22m long corridor. Adding my pink shirt I feel like I am part of the exhibition. The newer works are more accurate or precise and resemble computer generated graphics guided by an algorithm expressible in mathematics. He is probably one of the most popular Czech abstract painter and artist. For the last 15 years, he has undertaken commissions for architecture-related projects which he collaborated with a number of leading architects both from the Czech Republic and abroad. The best part I like about his work was often the topics were initiated through rhythmical repetition of nature-based details.

Spent half a day at the museum and met some new friends there who were well connected with the design scene there, so I am thinking may be a future section for M/I/S/C magazine on Prague design.

Looking at Petr Kví?ala’s work and to some extent his paintings that are determined by the surrounding space, I can relate that back to Design Thinking. It is disappointing for me to see consultants that barely understand the core values of Design Thinking but quickly turn that into a product/process and oversimplfy it into a few phases including observation, visualization/prototyping and business design. This is Design Thinking kindergarten level and barely scratches the surface of Design Thinking.

Design thinking itself is a dynamic constructive process that is iterative in nature. It requires ongoing definition, redefinition, representation, assessment, experimentation and visualization. It is a continuous learning experience arising out of a need to obtain and correctly apply knowledge and insights to achieve goals that may change as more in depth knowledge of the problem and its context is acquired and new behaviors unfold. Here, prototyping and the creation of tangible “sharable” artifacts becomes an import piece of the design thinking tool kit. The art of what/when/how/why of prototyping is barely understood by these consultants. Everyone throw the word “prototyping” around without knowing the answers to the what/when/how/why at all. What it is not a white board brain storming session sponsored by 3M sticky notes.

Design Thinking should be part of an organizational culture and can bring enterprise knowledge management to the next level. It helps to foster a creative intelligent culture that embraces questioning, challenge and discovery including frequent reflection-in-action, celebrating creativity, embracing ambiguity and visual sense making (interactions with physical objects as well as people). A Design Thinking organization creates strong “inspirationalization” and “creative bonding” to give tangibility to the emotional contract that employees that can have with the organizations.

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Idris MooteeIdris Mootee is the CEO of idea couture, a strategic innovation and experience design firm. He is the author of four books, tens of published articles, and a frequent speaker at business conferences and executive retreats.

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