So you want to be a part of the design thinking community, but no one in your company is on board? Fear not, the world is full of design thinkers and design thinking groups who are eager to embrace newcomers. The trick is tracking them down — and here are a few ways you can do just that.
For those who enjoy a face-to-face experience, start with Meetups, the free global site where users can create or join in-person events with people with similar interests. You can find groups for everyone from bird-watchers and yoga enthusiasts, to UX design nerds and of course, design thinkers. A cursory search of MeetUps shows hundreds of groups dedicated to design thinking in cities across the globe, from Seattle, and Silicon Valley, to Bucharest, Sydney, and Jeddah. Can’t find one in your own town? Then start your own. Design thinking is a popular topic on Meetups and you are sure to find a bunch of like-minded thinkers nearby.
For those who prefer a virtual network, LinkedIn has tons of groups dedicated to design, design thinking, human-centered design, and adjacent fields. The largest, Design Thinking, (with 125,712 members) hosts conversations about Design Thinking strategies and innovation, and how to leverage these tools to achieve measurable business results. One thing we love about this group is that its number one rule is that all conversations must focus solely on Design Thinking (DT). “Not design, nor ‘thinking about design’,” which the moderators insist “is not even close to the topic of Design Thinking.”
If this group doesn’t fit your needs, there are 600 others to choose from, ranging from groups focused on specific regions, to those dedicated to how to use design thinking for different goals and outcomes, including how to use design thinking to build a personal brand, how design thinking can drive innovation in fashion, and even design thinking for museum professionals. You are bound to find something to fit your needs.
If you are in search of a one-off event, there are dozens of conferences and workshops on design thinking hosted throughout the year. While many occur in the spring, including South by Southwest, and IQPC’s Design Thinking USA, there are still a few you can check out later this year. These include DesignThinkers in October, an annual conference in Toronto for design professionals offering best practices in branding, design thinking, communications technologies and user experience design; and the Design Thinking Conference, in Amsterdam in October, where participants spend two days immersed in design thinking theory and practice.
If these don’t work for you, pay attention to the sessions and workshop line up at your current favorite conferences. Design thinking is such a hot topic, chances are someone will be talking about it no matter what event you attend.
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