Let’s all go to Stanford d. school to get some great innovation and creativity education (for free!) – they started the design thinking trend and have mastered the skillset.

Hikmaty Discovery is all about mastering the core 21C skills of innovation and creativity. We are going to support your learning journey by guiding you to some great resources we include for our Discovery programs and we will be delivering a free webinar to guide you on how best to use them.

The world of 21C work is hungry for innovation and creative people. Employers constantly ask for more recruits with creativity skills and whilst it is one of the most overused words in LinkedIn profiles – there is a mismatch because whilst people use the word to describe themselves – they really don’t truly know how to apply it effectively in their lives.

You don’t just need to learn about innovation processes and creativity skills – you need to master them. It is no good saying ‘I am just not creative’ either – The book Innovators DNA suggests only 25% of your capability is down to genetics – 75% is about mastering some key behaviours, learning to use your mind and the right mindset. Mastery is about depth not breadth so we are going to direct you to the resources that will build your competencies but you need to do the regular workouts – applied knowledge = wisdom.

This months ‘Discovery Manifesto’ introduces the Discovery DNA traits and we are going to spend time looking at each element in more detail. However our ‘Discovery Dossier’ does not commence with DNA but rather at Stanford University (USA). Stanford is a great College to get an education and their d. school aims to be ‘the best design school. Period.’

Stanford established d. School as the hub for innovators – it is not one of their seven Colleges and it does not grant degrees – instead it is a resource for all the students to come and learn these key 21C skills together. Students and faculty in engineering, medicine, business, law, the humanities, sciences, and education collaborate on transformative learning experiences, knowing that inevitably the innovations will follow. d.school is evolving into a mash up of industry, academia and the wider world beyond campus through business collaborations and open course to use design thinking principles. They developed a process for reliably producing creative solutions to nearly any challenge that they call design thinking. A term used widely in business – these guys have mastered it.

Firstly, just get inspired by their ethos – they say on their website ‘Students come to the d.school with an intense curiosity, a deep affinity for other people, and the desire to gain an understanding beyond their own experience. …… our culture of collaboration means we move quickly beyond obvious ideas. We help each other even if it’s inconvenient. We ask for inspiration when stuck. We play. And we defer judgment long enough to build on each other’s ideas.’ This is certainly an ethos, mindset and value system worth catching. The d.school Manifesto of Intent:

Not long ago if you wanted a Stanford education you had to go be a student on Campus but now we all should be really grateful that some of these learning resources are available for you to use free online – so everyone can get a little bit of a Stanford education – wherever they are in the world. They help you learn to innovate and be more creative using both your left and right brains with 21C mindsets and skillsets.

The simple structured approach and toolkit that supports the process provide an amazingly useful introduction to innovation and creativity techniques. Master this toolkit and you are well on the way to getting a real competitive advantage to keep your business and career on track – these are tools you should know and understand how to apply as you seek to solve everyday challenges in your work and life generally. It is a way of being in the world which directly relates back to the Innovators DNA – the discovery skills.

So what is available?

The d.school bootcamp bootleg guide – described as more of a recipe book than textbook – a set of colour coded cards intended for graduates of their Bootcamp: Adventures in Design Thinking class. You can review it online and it is also available for you to download here for free. They are all shared under a Creative Commons license whereby d.school must be attributed and they are for non-commercial use (i.e. not to be resold).

They also have two 90-minute fun and fast-paced projects called the Wallet Exercise and the Gift-Giving Exercise that each take you through a full design cycle. Students pair up to interview each other, create a point-of-view, ideate, and make a new solution that is “useful and meaningful” to their partner.  The tools for these are available for download here

d.school have also published the book Spaces which is a great guide to creating innovative environments and how to kit them out.

How should you approach it?

Start by reviewing downloading the bootcamp bootleg guide. Initially just get acquainted with the d. mindsets, the 5 design modes and the toolkit of methods.

We then recommend that the best way to get to grips with design thinking is to experience it  and reflect on your learning after each exercise.

  • Pair up with a friend and do one of the two exercises (or both of themJ) – make it fun.
  • Then take on the role of Facilitator using the facilitation guides provided with a team you work with and do the exercises again.
  • Finally take the individual tools in the pack and work out how you might apply each of them in different modes in your work environment. For guidance on how to think this through also take a look at the ‘mixtapes’ and look at how they are structured.
  • Reflect on the process, the toolkit, your skillset and your mindset? How did it work for you? Reflect on what you learnt as a participant and as a facilitator? What are the benefits of the approach? What are the challenges? Can you adapt the tools to create your own toolkit? How can you create opportunities to keep practising so that you really master these tools not just have a working knowledge of them?

Finally going back to the d.school ethos what can you learn from ‘we help each other even if it is inconvenient’ – who could you help today?