We went back to the CDC again today, but this time we didn’t go to help with the design thinking bootcamp (I didn’t even know it was called that until today). Today there were only 4 of us representing the Disney Cohort as well as the 4th grade safety patrols and a freshman advisory. We didn’t personally do a lot of design thinking, but we listened to Fred Dust speak about IDEO and what he finds important about design thinking. Mr. Dust has worked with many other companies such as Nike, Stanford, and The American Red Cross, plus many others to help them improve their products and business style so he is pretty qualified to speak about innovation. Most of these companies come to IDEO with this question, “What is the future of _____?”
I really liked how he said, “The people who are distrusting are designing the future.” It was a nice verb choice. I was also fascinated by his philosophy on observing. He was saying how asking questions doesn’t really help you get to the core of what people are thinking. When asking a question there are tons of assumptions that are factored in. It isn’t that people purposely tell you a lie, but often times people don’t know what they think about situations. He was saying to find out the truth, you have to just observe a typical day in that persons life. An example he gave is when you ask people what type of music they usually listen to when they are alone in their car, most people said classical. However, we know that isn’t true, but when they put some device in the car with people that actually recorded what people listen to when they are alone, they got different and more accurate results. I found this funny because one of our school norms is “start with questions”, and it is good to start with questions when design thinking, but I think we may be missing this deep observation part while at school. Mr. Dust specifically was saying how in order to really see an entire system, you must spend lots of time there because that is when you notice interesting deeper things. With ID we get to go on trips sometimes, but the rest of the school doesn’t always get to, and even we don’t always just sit and observe outside people.
With design thinking a question I have always struggled with is how do you find a good problem and users? IDEO is a company with a diverse group of designers, but they don’t usually go out and find problems on their own. Usually companies come to them saying, “can you help us with ____”. From there, IDEO teams go and observe people that would be considered extremes. He gave the example of when working with Nike they would look at a person who runs all of the time because they probably have a lot of systems and tricks figured out, and then to also look at people who hardly ever run to discover why they may buy a “running” shoe anyway.
Finding something your passionate about is good, but I think the better skill is to be able to use what you are passionate about to connect to a problem that may not typically be connected.
I don’t think I’m explaining this the best, but since our trip I have just been thinking about how hard it is to actually find a problem to work on. You don’t want to innovate just to say you’re innovating something.