A design thinker’s personality profile. Do you have one?

I was reading Tim Brown’s Blog when I came across the article he had written for HBR. In the article, titled ‘Design Thinking’, are his views on what constitute design thinking. In it, he wrote that many outside professional design have the natural aptitude for design thinking – black turtlenecks not being a requirement.

What caught my interest as I skimmed through the article was Brown’s idea of the design thinker’s personality profile. He lists down empathy, integrative thinking, optimism, experimentalism and collaboration as characteristics to look for in design thinkers. Design thinkers, based on this list, are people who can see the situation from multiple points of stakeholder views: from the client’s, the developer’s, the end users’, the supplier’s – and this helps to design a solution that is more desirable and relevant. Design thinkers also believe that no matter how challenging the situation is, there is a set of solutions that is better than the current alternatives. They also keep on experimenting, in order to continuously improve the proposed solutions. Finally, they go beyond working alongside multiple disciplines; they themselves have experience in more than one.

You can read the article here.

Ya, sure he’s describing the IDEO designers, who come from all walks of life and represents the perspectives of sociology, psychology, physics, and more. What I like about this list is that it’s true – one does not need to be formally-trained in design school to have a design approach in one’s thinking. The design approach helps in many aspects of getting work done.

I’m beginning to feel weary, though. I feel that I am one of the few ones that keep on asking questions, experimenting, pushing for awareness of multiple perspectives, exploring possibilities and eliminating unusable options, that I’m just tired. I’m not saying I’m so bloody great at it. What I’m saying is that if more of us learn to think this way, collaboration would be fun and brainstorming would actually yield cool ideas. I think my unconscious mind is listening to my words and is programming my body to react thus. I’ve been fighting a severe ear infection and horrendous headaches for 3 weeks now – a possibility that my body is experiencing some sort of dis-ease. I’m frustrated and angry and I need to suppress those feelings because it doesn’t do anyone any good if I lose it and just shout “just think, people – think!” and bring the team’s morale up. I don’t care anymore. I don’t even care if the work gets done or not. I just don’t care.

There. Finally I’ve admitted that to myself. What do I do next?


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