19 Jul A Design Thinking Approach to Writing a More Engaging Blog Post

Design Thinking ApproachDesign Thinking is one of our favorite ways to approach problem solving at Navigate, so I wanted to write a blog post to share more about the framework with our readers. After wrapping up my first month on a new project focused on improving a client’s customer onboarding process, I had so many thoughts about Design Thinking that I didn’t know where to begin. So, I decided to approach my blog post through the development of a design challenge. In Design Thinking, we innovate or tackle challenges by asking, “How might we …” It’s effective because it facilitates creative thinking and forces you to focus on tangible outcomes. I began with, “How might we develop a more engaging blog post about Design Thinking?”

As I thought through the answer to that question, I allowed myself to become distracted by the ESPN ESPY awards, which I had on the TV in the background. Inspired by the stories and (occasional) humbleness of the speeches, I couldn’t help but feel moved to watch the late, great Jim Valvano’s 1993 ESPY speech. Once I wiped away the inevitable tears produced from that speech, I found myself floating around YouTube revisiting personal favorite speeches of mine. Yes, I fell into the YouTube rabbit hole that I’m sure many of you are familiar with. Before I knew it, I was back where I started, watching Jim Valvano ask me to “laugh, think, and cry every day,” and I realized a renewed appreciation and admiration for his leadership abilities.

As a problem-solving consultant, my brain naturally began to analyze those characteristics, and I started to see connections to elements of the Design Thinking framework. When I began writing this post, I wasn’t expecting to get sidetracked watching past commencement speeches; however, I soon realized that despite my procrastination I had gathered enough fodder for my blog post. Here’s what I learned through my journey:

Lesson 1: Inspiration can come from anywhere; embrace it.

My wandering through YouTube enabled my mind to disconnect and look at the broader picture, but most importantly, it let me take inspiration from external sources and use that to tackle the challenge at hand.

Lesson 2: Storytelling is a tool that enables ideation and iterative solution development.

The inspiration I was overrun with initially was the result of the great storytelling ability of Jim Valvano. His carefully crafted words enabled a smooth build-up of emotions and memories that connected with me, instantaneously making me recall memories of my own. This experience made me realize the true value in storytelling: Allowing someone else to experience what you see/saw, connect with it, remember something of their own, and then engage in shared dialogue.

Lesson 3: When you understand and have an appreciation of yourself, it will foster the ability to understand and appreciate others.

Watching Jimmy V share his personal stories and invite us into his life was not only inspirational, but a case study in vulnerability. In my opinion, vulnerability is one of the most under-rated leadership traits a person can have. But, what I hadn’t considered until writing this is how empathy is merely a form of vulnerability. A person’s vulnerability empowers their empathy and ability to connect with others. Empathy is a core component of Design Thinking to help us understand the pain points of our customers, so being vulnerable will help you open up to new ways of thinking and new potential solutions.

Lesson 4: Don’t be discouraged by failure; learn fast and learn often.

The last and certainly not least observation I made during this speech directly aligns with a core pillar of the Design Thinking framework, and it’s summarized by the most famous seven words in the whole speech, “Don’t give up, don’t ever give up.” While other problem-solving methodologies view failure as a negative, a design-led approach is founded in rapid prototyping and testing, feeding on the failures and improving the ultimate solutions. Don’t be deterred by setbacks or failures – just keep moving forward with new, improved iterations.

I hope you found my journey engaging, but most importantly, I hope this post provides you with some inspiration of your own to break down the barriers of traditional thought, taking inspiration from wherever it comes.

I’d appreciate hearing your stories of inspiration and am happy to explore any questions you may have about how Navigate utilizes our empathy-led and human-centered design framework to deliver transformative change. Please feel free to contact me at pschmoyer@navigatecorp.com or 484.824.8795.

Thanks for stopping by!

Phil Schmoyer, Manager
Phil Schmoyer Navigate

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Change Management Done Right
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