08 Jun All Humans are Born Design Thinkers
In today’s rapidly changing world, do we always have to stick to the conventional methods of solving business problems?
Is there a need to adopt new methods and learn new skills, or do we have these skills in us already?
A lot of people think that they aren’t creative and can’t be innovative for many reasons: they don’t know how to draw, they don’t have formal training, their brain doesn’t function that way, they just weren’t born with it—the list goes on and on.
But what does it mean to be creative and innovative?
What assumptions do people make about “creative and innovative people”?
Defining creativity only as the ability to paint, compose music, or do graphic design seems to be very limiting and has nothing to do with actual reality.
If we open the definition further, we can define creativity simply as the ability to have an idea. And to be innovative as the ability to get the idea done. That makes a whole lot of sense when we think about the fact that everybody has ideas. The hard part is usually to get it done.
You may have heard of Design Thinking which is a human-centered approach for creative and innovative problem-solving.
With Design Thinking, innovation can be managed, and full use of our creative abilities is encouraged. You can read more about Design Thinking here.
For some of us, Design Thinking may still carry a meaning associated with some sort of artistic eccentricity that does not fit our personality. And no, it also doesn’t mean you have to be a designer first. So let’s not stay stuck with the “not-for-me” syndrome.
What if I told you that we all are natural design thinkers? We were all born creative.
I believe that all humans are born with the innate ability to be design thinkers. But as we grow up, this part of us slowly fizzles out, confining us to think more rationally, instead of exploring and testing how far we can go.
Keep reading to find out exactly what I mean.
How Every Human is a Natural Born Design Thinker
All of us as humans, are born with the natural ability to think outside the box, and explore possibilities beyond what is there.
Let’s take a look at children, for example.
Children are curious about everything that surrounds them. Everything could be fun. Everything can be played with. They manage to turn even the most seemingly boring things into a toy-like object.
Think of the time you wanted to play with the box for hours instead of the actual gift that was in the box.
They make use of whatever they have in their vicinity to entertain themselves. This speaks exploration and creativity.
A child asks unending questions. A child could ask a hundred ‘Whys’ and ‘Whats’ in a day. They’re eager to explore and learn. They always want to know why something is the way it is. This is curiosity.
The imaginative abilities of a child are amazing. You could see a child having a full blown conversation with their toys, a little child arranges her soft toys and dresses them up for a tea party. This is imagination. To them, anything is possible. Nothing is ‘logical’ or ‘rational’.
It’s fascinating how children make use of whatever resources around to reach a goal.
Creativity is finding novel, practical ways to address challenges. – Duncan Wardle (Former Head of Innovation and Creativity at The Walt Disney Company)
A child wants to get to the top of the shelf and begins to place different things on one another, just to reach the shelf. They don’t mind how long it’ll take or if it will work out that way. They keep trying over and over again.
Children, and especially younger children, learn by their only option, which is trial and error, failing and repetition.
This can be compared to Design Thinking or any other business innovation framework, where we are not limited by conventional methods of getting things done. Instead, we give room for new ideas, inspired by our creativity, not minding if it doesn’t fit into the traditional mode. As long as it helps us achieve our business goal, we go for it.
Anyone who works in innovation knows that failure is an inherent part of the process of coming up with something new.
What matters is not that you sometimes fail — because you inevitably will — but rather how you respond to that failure and whether you learn from it.
What Blocks Adults From Being Creative?
As children grow older, society begins to teach them to act and think differently.
We are all born creative. We just got it educated out of us. - Tham Khai Meng
As soon as children conform to traditional environments such as school, they slowly stop using their mindset which is primarily built around creativity and exploration. Because society begins to lay down rules and structures they must follow.
Consequently, their imagination becomes boxed in, and creativity is not encouraged.
This is what happens to every one of us. As we grow older, the creative spirit in us begins to diminish, and we no longer make use of our imagination as often as we used to.
Furthermore, most people do not like change, and if their world is changing rapidly as it is doing today, they tend to hold on to what they know and feel comfortable with. And then there is usually no room for innovative ideas to thrive in the ever-changing world.
Although this might seem like a logical thing to do, it does not usually yield anything worthwhile. We can’t evade it by burying our head into the sand. Especially not with change happening in so many areas.
Rather, to create something truly inspiring and innovative, you have to think outside the box here. But this can’t happen, if our creativity is boxed in, and we’re unable to put our creative minds to good use. That’s why sometimes we have a great idea, but we’re scared to speak up, because ‘that’s not how things are done’.
In a business-like environment, it’s very often the case that creativity is by default blocked and prevented.
New ideas seem to disrupt efficient operations and threaten hierarchical order, status, and responsibilities.
The use of Design Thinking in a business environment allows every adult to be creative. Everyone can contribute and proffer creative solutions of solving problems, without being rebuked, harassed, or talked down. Everyone uses their Design Thinking skills to solve complex problems, using more of intuition, imagination, and creativity, rather than rigid rationality or logic.
Every contribution is welcomed, and every voice is heard.
How to Revive the Design Thinking Spirit in You
There are 3 important things to keep in mind, to gradually revive the innate Design Thinking spirit in you.
1- Remember that failure equals learning
In Design Thinking, any unsuccessful attempt is an opportunity to learn.
We ought to learn from our own mistakes, tweak our methods, and try again.
Never let failure stop you from bringing that fantastic idea to life.
We try again until we get it right.
2 – Embrace the creative process
Creativity involves stretching your mind to its limits, trying to see just how far you can really go.
It is thinking outside the box, not being confined by conventional and traditional structures.
This process might not always be smooth, but the beautiful results it produces is always worth it.
That’s why we should enjoy every bit of the process, and see every opportunity as a chance to learn.
With the right methods and framework in place, no idea is too big to execute.
3 – View all Challenges through the lens of Design Thinking
We should not always be too quick to continue with traditional working methods to solve complex challenges.
The world is rapidly evolving, and the old methods used might not be the perfect solution for increasingly complex business challenges we face today.
It’s high time we explored our creativity and look into other methods that would birth innovation while tasking our minds and having fun in the process.
With Design Thinking, focus is given, ideas are birthed, and clarity is gained. This ensures your vision and strategy is executed confidently. And in the process, we’re not confined to the traditional methods we’ve always used.
Instead, we get to use our creativity, our intuition, our imagination, and our curiosity. The team works together, and all ideas are welcomed.
Everyone is free to make their voice heard, and ideas are combined, to bring out something truly remarkable.
We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we're curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths. – Walt Disney
In Design Thinking, Diversity is Innovation. The ability of each individual to see things differently is what makes us unique.
And when we work together, with our combined creative abilities, and our imagination, curiosity and intuition is put to the fullest use, outstanding innovation is birthed.
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If you have any questions or are wondering which innovation framework is the right one for your business, please get in touch.