Drew Marshall, Primed Associates, LLC
Having run the ExperienceInnovation™ simulation a number of times I continue to be both amazed and delighted by the power of design thinking in action in transforming skeptical minds. Coming from a background where rational, left-brain thinking was the order of the day, and the way in which that often hampered creativity, I have witnessed how the framework for innovation revealed through the simulation challenges people to think differently about their own approaches.
During one of my early facilitation’s I had a group of participants that skewed quite firmly to an engineering, process-driven mindset. They were not only heavy doubters of the potential in design thinking, some were downright hostile. An indication of one participant’s displeasure was how closed down his body appeared. His arms were tightly folded. His legs were crossed. His body was hunched over. I think, if I could have seen his neurons that they would have been crossed, too. Needless to say, I had my work cut out for me.
Now, I’m not one to try to teach something to an unwilling participant, but I also know that sometimes people need to find their own way into the material. The great thing about the high engagement that the ExperienceInnovation simulation promotes is that there are more opportunities for team members to guide and influence each other in the context of the game play. That’s what happened in this case.
When the teams were deeply involved in the “Observe People” step of the “Inspire” phase of the ExperienceInnovation™ model this participant became highly engaged in trying to figure out why the characters he saw presented in the day-in-the-life photo journals were behaving in particular ways. He was piling assumptions onto assumptions. Before I could say anything, the other members of his team reined him in. They asked him for the evidence behind his assumptions. They asked him if he was basing his statements on his own experience or the observations.
I simply stood back and watched as the group created the most compelling “teachable moment.” It was wonderful to see. Better yet, at the conclusion of the day my initially origami-like participant was open, easy going and even said that observation of clients was his new method for diving deeper into his creative process. I don’t think I would have seen that kind of conversion without the benefit of the ExperienceInnovation™ simulation to provide a crucible in which that transformation could occur.