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Design thinking for business processes

Design thinking for business processes © 2009 Jeremy Alexis 1

© 2009 Jeremy Alexis

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Our approach is fundamentally different compared to the way most business problems are solved

Typical approach:

List known options

Establish proof

Design planning approach:

Rapid solution to well defined / understood problem
Rapid solution to well
defined / understood
problem

Seek inspiration

Generate options

Establish proof

Seek inspiration Generate options Establish proof © 2009 Jeremy Alexis Creative solution to ambiguous

© 2009 Jeremy Alexis

Creative solution to ambiguous problem
Creative
solution to
ambiguous
problem

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Distinguishing four project approaches

Discovery

Distinguishing four project approaches Discovery Intuition Typical design approach (typical) business decision making

Intuition

Typical design approach

(typical) business decision making

Design planning approach

Management consulting (best in class B school) approach)

Facts

© 2009 Jeremy Alexis

Evaluation

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The approach should be selected based on the condition of the organization

Idea rich vs. Idea poor

the condition of the organization Idea rich vs. Idea poor Hypothesis driven, fact based Discovery driven,

Hypothesis driven, fact based

organization Idea rich vs. Idea poor Hypothesis driven, fact based Discovery driven, fact based © 2009
organization Idea rich vs. Idea poor Hypothesis driven, fact based Discovery driven, fact based © 2009

Discovery driven, fact based

© 2009 Jeremy Alexis

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Our role: generate a portfolio of non-obvious, creative (real) options

Degree of

uncertainty

Unfamiliar with market, and offering type

Familiar with

market, and

offering type

and offering type Familiar with market, and offering type Near term Mid term Long term Size
and offering type Familiar with market, and offering type Near term Mid term Long term Size
and offering type Familiar with market, and offering type Near term Mid term Long term Size
and offering type Familiar with market, and offering type Near term Mid term Long term Size
and offering type Familiar with market, and offering type Near term Mid term Long term Size
and offering type Familiar with market, and offering type Near term Mid term Long term Size
and offering type Familiar with market, and offering type Near term Mid term Long term Size

Near term

Mid term

Long term

Size of bubble = expected value

Implementation timing

© 2009 Jeremy Alexis

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The design planning approach is aligned with current high level, strategic thinking

is aligned with current high level, strategic thinking From: Deterministic view of strategy © 2009 Jeremy
is aligned with current high level, strategic thinking From: Deterministic view of strategy © 2009 Jeremy
is aligned with current high level, strategic thinking From: Deterministic view of strategy © 2009 Jeremy

From:

Deterministic view of strategy

© 2009 Jeremy Alexis

To:

Strategy as a balanced portfolio of initiatives

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To satisfy these rather high expectations, we need to leverage all three modes of design

• Conducting research

• Sketching ideas

• Creativity

• Prototyping

• Structuring information

• Working with others

• Structuring information • Working with others • Building coalitions • Demystifying complexity •
• Building coalitions • Demystifying complexity • Communicating ideas • Connecting value and design Design
• Building coalitions
• Demystifying complexity
• Communicating ideas
• Connecting value and design
Design
• Understanding strategic goals
leadership
Design
Design
• Optimism
• Empathy
skill set
thinking
• Options orientation
• Dealing with “mysteries”
• Everything is a system

© 2009 Jeremy Alexis

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Three topics for today

• Reframing problems

• Point of view

• Elegant systems

Three topics for today • Reframing problems • Point of view • Elegant systems © 2009

© 2009 Jeremy Alexis

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JC Penney was a different store back then….

JC Penney was a different store back then…. © 2009 Jeremy Alexis 9
JC Penney was a different store back then…. © 2009 Jeremy Alexis 9

© 2009 Jeremy Alexis

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Designers reframe problems at four levels:

From: To: • Industry focus • User focus • Generic, stereotypical view of the customer
From:
To:
• Industry focus
• User focus
• Generic, stereotypical view
of the customer
• Nuanced, complex view of
customers
• Perceived, assumed process
• Actual process
• Reductive reasoning
• Systems thinking
• Perceived, assumed process • Actual process • Reductive reasoning • Systems thinking © 2009 Jeremy

© 2009 Jeremy Alexis

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Examples of reframed problems:

Project

Original frame

Reframe

Troubled Buildings

How can we tear down vacant and abandoned buildings faster?

How can we prevent buildings from every becoming troubled?

Learning in Grand Rapids

How can we reduce the drop out rate?

How can we coordinate the efforts of all the learning related NGOs and GRPS?

Chicago Bike Federation

What infrastructure do we need to make commuting by bike easier?

How can we use mentorship and social networks to create a more supportive and inclusive biking community

Boeing

a more supportive and inclusive biking community Boeing How can we improve hygiene of airplanes? ©

How can we improve hygiene of airplanes?

© 2009 Jeremy Alexis

How can we improve well being for travelers?

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Imagine the two scenarios:

A new teacher brings a problem to the principal:

“This student is misbehaving in class - he should be moved to a new class”

What should the principle do?

be moved to a new class” What should the principle do? A general manager brings a

A general manager brings a problem to a design planner:

“We are getting killed by the iPhone, we need a touch screen phone right now”

What should the design planner do?

© 2009 Jeremy Alexis

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In both cases, a good reframer would…

A new teacher brings a problem to the principal:

“This student is misbehaving in class - he should be moved to a new class”

What should the principle do?

A general manager brings a problem to a design planner:

“We are getting killed by the iPhone, we need a touch screen phone right now”

What should the design planner do?

phone right now” What should the design planner do? • First have empathy for the problem

• First have empathy for the problem originator - understand why they have framed it in this way

• Recognize the problem as presented has only one solution; this suggests the problem frame is biased and incomplete

• Check the facts, gather opinions from other stakeholders

• Reframe so multiple solutions may be considered

• Recognize potential barriers to the reframe, including how to present it to the originator

• Recognize potential barriers to the reframe, including how to present it to the originator ©

© 2009 Jeremy Alexis

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Review: the skills / process of a successful problem reframer

Here is the problem, and the likely solution is…
Here is the
problem, and the
likely solution is…
Here is the problem, and the likely solution is… How can we reframe this in a
How can we reframe this in a bias free / solution free way?
How can we
reframe this in a
bias free / solution
free way?

Sponsor / client

Reframer / designer

o n s o r / c l i e n t Reframer / designer A

A good problem reframer will:

• Recognize bias in the original problem frame (remember, this is recognize, not manufacture)

• Restate the problem in a bias free, solution free way

• Use the new frame to develop creative options for solving the real problem

solution free way • Use the new frame to develop creative options for solving the real

© 2009 Jeremy Alexis

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Framing errors

Narrow Framing

Status quo bias

Anchoring

Anchoring Hidden assumptions Attribution

Hidden

assumptions

Anchoring Hidden assumptions Attribution

Attribution

Description:

• People tend to frame problems with a short term, tactical focus

• People overvalue what is happening now, undervalue impact of the future state

• People tend not to change their established behavior

• Framing may intentionally minimize possible change

• People often anchor to a piece of information (or an idea), early in a project, even if it is not relevant to the solution area

• Frames are often based on implicit assumptions

• These assumptions remain unarticulated, yet the drive decision making

• People often identify the wrong problem drivers - or what it causing the problem

• People rarely think they can be the problem

the problem • People rarely think they can be the problem © 2009 Jeremy Alexis Implications:

© 2009 Jeremy Alexis

Implications:

• Design often requires a long timeline

• most problems are not framed as true design challenges

• Design leads to change, which conflicts with this powerful bias

• People may not accept new ideas / new information if they have already anchored

• Can lead to surprises later in the project

• Forces you to act on incomplete information

• If we solve for the wrong drivers, the problem will not actually be resolved (and could get worse)

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Framing errors - examples

Narrow Framing

Narrow Framing Anchoring Attribution

Anchoring

Narrow Framing Anchoring Attribution

Attribution

Framing errors - examples Narrow Framing Anchoring Attribution © 2009 Jeremy Alexis 16
Framing errors - examples Narrow Framing Anchoring Attribution © 2009 Jeremy Alexis 16

© 2009 Jeremy Alexis

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Framing errors - examples

Narrow Framing

Hidden assumptions

Attribution

Framing errors - examples Narrow Framing Hidden assumptions Attribution © 2009 Jeremy Alexis 17
Framing errors - examples Narrow Framing Hidden assumptions Attribution © 2009 Jeremy Alexis 17
Framing errors - examples Narrow Framing Hidden assumptions Attribution © 2009 Jeremy Alexis 17
Framing errors - examples Narrow Framing Hidden assumptions Attribution © 2009 Jeremy Alexis 17

© 2009 Jeremy Alexis

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Framing errors - examples

Status quo bias

Anchoring

Hidden assumptions

Framing errors - examples Status quo bias Anchoring Hidden assumptions © 2009 Jeremy Alexis 18
Framing errors - examples Status quo bias Anchoring Hidden assumptions © 2009 Jeremy Alexis 18

© 2009 Jeremy Alexis

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There are 10 indicators that we need a reframe; they are clustered into 3 areas:

Problem scope

Is it too narrow?

• Single data point

• Fighting fires

• I know there is something bigger…

• Off my pay grade

• I know there is something bigger… • Off my pay grade Solution orientation Is it

Solution orientation

Is it too specific?

• Solution in mind

• Routine solution, not a routing problem

• Role of the sponsor in the solution

© 2009 Jeremy Alexis

Alignment

Is it poorly defined?

• No one agrees

• Too many meetings

• Customer is everyone

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There are four strategies and ten tactics for reframing:

Make it tangible • Show past examples • Show surprising data • Visualize the new
Make it tangible
• Show past examples
• Show surprising data
• Visualize the new
project
Build empathy
• About content, not
people
• Understand areas of
push back
• Assume their
perceptions have value
Prepare real solutions • Be ready to walk away (with a plan B) • Create
Prepare real solutions
• Be ready to walk
away (with a plan B)
• Create a phased
proposal
Reinforce new thinking
• Build coalitions
• Change the space
• Create a phased proposal Reinforce new thinking • Build coalitions • Change the space ©

© 2009 Jeremy Alexis

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Three topics for today

• Reframing problems

• Point of view

• Elegant systems

Three topics for today • Reframing problems • Point of view • Elegant systems © 2009

© 2009 Jeremy Alexis

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Points of view (or the lack of) can be easy to spot

Points of view (or the lack of) can be easy to spot © 2009 Jeremy Alexis
Points of view (or the lack of) can be easy to spot © 2009 Jeremy Alexis

© 2009 Jeremy Alexis

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Old

Under 25

Hollywood example - result of an incomplete view of the audience

Movie segmentation:

of an incomplete view of the audience Movie segmentation: M e n Source: “The Cobra” by
of an incomplete view of the audience Movie segmentation: M e n Source: “The Cobra” by

Men

Source: “The Cobra” by Tad Friend: the New Yorker January 2009

“The Cobra” by Tad Friend: the New Yorker January 2009 Women © 2009 Jeremy Alexis •
“The Cobra” by Tad Friend: the New Yorker January 2009 Women © 2009 Jeremy Alexis •
“The Cobra” by Tad Friend: the New Yorker January 2009 Women © 2009 Jeremy Alexis •

Women

© 2009 Jeremy Alexis

• Movies must target more than one quadrant

• Preferences in each quadrant tend to be stereotypes

• Executives have a “playbook” that is leveraged to develop new movies

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And their evaluation methods often produce false positive and false negatives

methods often produce false positive and false negatives Receive the some of the worst screening score

Receive the some of the worst screening score in history

Receive the some of the worst screening score in history Receive the the best screening score

Receive the the best screening score in history

the some of the worst screening score in history Receive the the best screening score in

© 2009 Jeremy Alexis

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© 2009 Jeremy Alexis 25
© 2009 Jeremy Alexis 25

© 2009 Jeremy Alexis

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As planned

ORD example - beyond business and leisure travel

Lots of time

Entertain

me

What do I do now?

Get me

to my

gate

Help!

Little time

Unexpected
Unexpected
do I do now? Get me to my gate Help! Little time Unexpected © 2009 Jeremy

© 2009 Jeremy Alexis

From:

• A global airport for the 21st century

To:

• A curated Chicago experience for the traveler

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A point of view consists of five elements

1. Who is our primary user?

2. What are their needs and activities?

3. Who is responsible for implementing the solution?

4. Who is the audience for the project deliverables?

4. Who is the audience for the project deliverables? A point of view: • Acts as

A point of view:

• Acts as a North Star, guiding the project

• Helps you make trade offs and decisions

• Does not determine research subjects, but for whom you are designing

• Can occasionally change if required (and enough evidence is produced)

• Once agreed to, reduces ambiguity

change if required (and enough evidence is produced) • Once agreed to, reduces ambiguity © 2009

© 2009 Jeremy Alexis

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Three topics for today

• Reframing problems

• Point of view

• Elegant systems

Three topics for today • Reframing problems • Point of view • Elegant systems © 2009

© 2009 Jeremy Alexis

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What my grandmother thinks is elegant…

What my grandmother thinks is elegant… © 2009 Jeremy Alexis 29
What my grandmother thinks is elegant… © 2009 Jeremy Alexis 29

© 2009 Jeremy Alexis

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This is elegant

This is elegant © 2009 Jeremy Alexis 30
This is elegant © 2009 Jeremy Alexis 30

© 2009 Jeremy Alexis

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So is this

So is this © 2009 Jeremy Alexis 31
So is this © 2009 Jeremy Alexis 31

© 2009 Jeremy Alexis

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Insights from social science can be elegant

“In public paces, people tend to sit where there are places to sit.”

- Holly White

be elegant “In public paces, people tend to sit where there are places to sit.” -

© 2009 Jeremy Alexis

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So can insights from physics

e = mc 2

So can insights from physics e = mc 2 © 2009 Jeremy Alexis 33

© 2009 Jeremy Alexis

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Boats can be elegant

Boats can be elegant © 2009 Jeremy Alexis 34
Boats can be elegant © 2009 Jeremy Alexis 34

© 2009 Jeremy Alexis

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So can fonts

Helvetica

So can fonts Helvetica © 2009 Jeremy Alexis 35

© 2009 Jeremy Alexis

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What about cars?

What about cars? Hint: this is the Fleetwood D’Elegance © 2009 Jeremy Alexis 36

Hint: this is the Fleetwood D’Elegance

What about cars? Hint: this is the Fleetwood D’Elegance © 2009 Jeremy Alexis 36

© 2009 Jeremy Alexis

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Or airlines?

Or airlines? © 2009 Jeremy Alexis 37
Or airlines? © 2009 Jeremy Alexis 37

© 2009 Jeremy Alexis

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So, what do we mean?

Smallest number of elements creates the greatest impact

No unnecessary elements

Makes sense as a whole

Urbane

of elements creates the greatest impact No unnecessary elements Makes sense as a whole Urbane ©

© 2009 Jeremy Alexis

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Forces acting against elegance

Randomness

Forces acting against elegance Randomness Overly complex Elegant solution © 2009 Jeremy Alexis Over simplification 39

Overly

complex

Elegant

solution

Forces acting against elegance Randomness Overly complex Elegant solution © 2009 Jeremy Alexis Over simplification 39
Forces acting against elegance Randomness Overly complex Elegant solution © 2009 Jeremy Alexis Over simplification 39

© 2009 Jeremy Alexis

Over

simplification

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There are different “types” of elegant

Form / aesthetics
Form /
aesthetics
There are different “types” of elegant Form / aesthetics Structure / system © 2009 Jeremy Alexis
Structure / system
Structure /
system

© 2009 Jeremy Alexis

Logic / idea
Logic /
idea

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“Innovation can become parasitic by increasing the complexity of our lives”

- Jay Doblin

“Innovation can become parasitic by increasing the complexity of our lives” - Jay Doblin © 2009

© 2009 Jeremy Alexis

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Denovation: the attempt to simplify or reduce the number of products without reducing the service performed

the attempt to simplify or reduce the number of products without reducing the service performed ©

© 2009 Jeremy Alexis

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