The Four Phases of Design Thinking

Saturday, 31 July 2010
What can people in business learn from studying the ways successful designers solve problems and innovate? On the most basic level, they can learn to question, care, connect, and commit—four of the most important things successful designers do to achieve significant breakthroughs.

Having studied more than a hundred top designers in various fields over the past couple of years (while doing research for a book), I found that there were a few shared behaviors that seemed to be almost second nature to many designers. And these ingrained habits were intrinsically linked to the designer's ability to bring original ideas into the world as successful innovations. All of which suggests that they merit a closer look.

Question. If you spend any time around designers, you quickly discover this about them: They ask, and raise, a lot of questions. Often this is the starting point in the design process, and it can have a profound influence on everything that follows. Many of the designers I studied, from Bruce Mau to Richard Saul Wurman to Paula Scher, talked about the importance of asking "stupid questions"—the ones that challenge the existing realities and assumptions in a given industry or sector. The persistent tendency of designers to do this is captured in the joke designers tell about themselves. How many designers does it take to change a light bulb? Answer: Does it have to be a light bulb?

In a business setting, asking basic "why" questions can make the questioner seem na├»ve while putting others on the defensive (as in, "What do you mean 'Why are we doing it this way?' We've been doing it this way for 22 years!"). But by encouraging people to step back and reconsider old problems or entrenched practices, the designer can begin to re-frame the challenge at hand—which can then steer thinking in new directions. For business in today's volatile marketplace, the ability to question and rethink basic fundamentals—What business are we really in? What do today's consumers actually need or expect from us?—has never been more important.

Care. It's easy for companies to say they care about customer needs. But to really empathize, you have to be willing to do what many of the best designers do: step out of the corporate bubble and actually immerse yourself in the daily lives of people you're trying to serve. What impressed me about design researchers such as Jane Fulton Suri of IDEO was the dedication to really observing and paying close attention to people—because this is usually the best way to ferret out their deep, unarticulated needs. Focus groups and questionnaires don't cut it; designers know that you must care enough to actually be present in people's lives.

Connect. Designers, I discovered, have a knack for synthesizing--for taking existing elements or ideas and mashing them together in fresh new ways. This can be a valuable shortcut to innovation because it means you don't necessarily have to invent from scratch. By coming up with "smart recombinations" (to use a term coined by the designer John Thackara), Apple has produced some of its most successful hybrid products; and Nike smartly combining a running shoe with an iPod to produce its groundbreaking Nike Plus line (which enables users to program their runs). It isn't easy to come up with these great combos. Designers know that you must "think laterally"—searching far and wide for ideas and influences—and must also be willing to try connecting ideas that might not seem to go together. This is a way of thinking that can also be embraced by non-designers.

Commit. It's one thing to dream up original ideas. But designers quickly take those ideas beyond the realm of imagination by giving form to them. Whether it's a napkin sketch, a prototype carved from foam rubber, or a digital mock-up, the quick-and-rough models that designers constantly create are a critical component of innovation —because when you give form to an idea, you begin to make it real.

But it's also true that when you commit to an idea early—putting it out into the world while it's still young and imperfect—you increase the possibility of short-term failure. Designers tend to be much more comfortable with this risk than most of us. They know that innovation often involves an iterative process with setbacks along the way—and those small failures are actually useful because they show the designer what works and what needs fixing. The designer's ability to "fail forward" is a particularly valuable quality in times of dynamic change. Today, many companies find themselves operating in a test-and-learn business environment that requires rapid prototyping. Which is just one more reason to pay attention to the people who've been conducting their work this way all along.

Provided by Harvard Business Review—Copyright © 2010 Harvard Business School Publishing. All rights reserved. Harvard Business Publishing is an affiliate of Harvard Business School.

Robert Kiyosaki - inspirational words of wisdom

Thursday, 22 July 2010


share the wisdom of Robert kiyosaki

Russell Simmons on Innovation and Business

Sunday, 18 July 2010

Accountability for Green Economy

Wednesday, 14 July 2010
Accountability is a key element of business as it charts the growth of a business and then offers solutions on how the future should be. From an environmental perspective it looks at novel ideas relating to pressing issues like climate change, research and innovation into greener ways of managing the world's resources.This accountability should encompass the globe and not apply to only the top economies of the world. The developing nations and their "infant" economies have to be protected from all forms of exploitation from within and without. Union carbide in India and BP Oil Sleek in Louisiana attest the need for accountability. Accountability should espouse engagement,explanation and clarity of expectation- as propounded by Chan and Renee as the key elements of Fair Process.
-Engagement where individuals are involved in strategic decision making
-Explanation where everyone involved and affected should understand why final strategic decisions are made as they are.
-Clarity of Expectation where managers clearly state the rules of the game after a strategy is set.

building greener cities (buffalo)

Saturday, 10 July 2010
The city of buffalo is going green acknowledging green projects from smart independent worldwide consultancy through the leadership John Howell of arrow gram part of Nxtarrow, and the Mayor of Buffalo project program to foster green innovation and business ideas from all corners of the world that have a competitive advantage and added value to buffalo stakeholders in reducing energy and enhancing a clean environment for green world. Nxtarrow is owned by John Howell a business development incubator welcoming business ideas from all sectors. Nxtarrow develops these ideas from paper to reality adding value to through training, providing mentoring support and guidances to achieve your destiny. Buffalo is setting a green example to all cities the need of a green environment powered green technology to play a vital role in measurement and control, yet alternative methods in eliminating the toxic waste . Buffalo is the leading city in green research and development thanks go to the team involved and major shareholders sponsoring these projects let this be a good example to all cities in world in taking the initiative to save the planet earth to be a better place to live .
thanks once again
Jackson mutebi

building your personal brand and measuring it

Saturday, 3 July 2010
Brands are described by Paul stobart as the sum of the functional and emotional characteristics that a consumer attributes to a product or service.For instance, take a good example of a bottle of sugared, flavoured,fizzy water and a bottle of coca-cola.

Personal Branding

involves personal beliefs ,attributes core values and elements that make individuals tick. Madonna, Beckham are personal brands yet global brands building their core values and personal beliefs by extending personal activities to different areas to maintain and add value to their personal brands. We all have personal brands; our natural talents, elements or components that make us tick or achieve success. But how many have have gone far in exploiting these natural talents bearing in mind the potential we possess. We are all blessed in one field or another and have the capacity to become heroes, opinion leaders, singers, preachers, musicians, entreprenuers, marketers, doctors or indeed excel in whatever field of human endeavour we channel our efforts to.

Steps to build personal brand

1. write down 5 fields that interest you or areas of interest
2. research these areas of interest/fields for information on what is needed to get moving
3. set a plan of how to achieve these program with goals, targets strategies,budgets timeframe ,tactics feedback and adjustment
4. Select advisory teams; these may include managers, coaches, business angels, venture capitalist mentors,teachers,consultants to help in training, guidance, supporting financial needs.
5.Set up a time table for your program. Make sure its not interupting or conflicting with your daily time table
6. Measure your achievments, activities day by day, month by month or hour by hour depending on field or interest you are in and bench mark your results with top performers or competitors. Don't give up.
7. Seek to learn more by training others and looking at other opporntunities that may be of interest to you and will help build your personal branding.

personal branding is key element to every success and should all expoilt our natural talents no matter where you are let us join the band wagon of achieves and we can all do it

thanks once again for this moment

kim kaweesa and jackson mutebi
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