I’ve been struggling with two thoughts that wish to become posts, but neither is the kind that one can simply sit at the computer and write about. They need to be worked out in full, plotted, you could say, and then written. Until then, they jostle together in my head.
I’ve been looking at the strategic planning process and wondering how well it maps on to the user centered design process. Are they similar or the same? Can we articulate the objectives of one in the language and systematic procedures of the other? Is there a benefit to doing this? Or is it just pointless self amusement?
A part of me believes that this beginning can eventually lead to finding frameworks for understanding business, entering new markets – basic principles of strategy, that better incorporate and take into account the shifts taking place in our collective understanding of markets and people and the world. Concepts such as collaboration, social networks, conversations, fuzzy front ends are beginning to displace the ‘extreme competition’ mindset of business as war, competition as a blood sport and milestones for planning that are engraven in left brain bottomline answers.
For once you hold the viewpoint that ‘design thinking’ (for the want of a better word) makes for an approach to planning for an uncertain future, that allows for a measure of innovation planning and growth, whether through new markets or new products – as defined in Robert Sutton and Jeffery Pfeffer’s book, Hard Facts etc
Design thinking is one of enlightened trial and error wherein one observes the world, identifies the patterns of behaviour, generates ideas, gets feedback, repeats the process, and keeps on refining.
you must, by corollary, question the existing frameworks of strategic planning and control, particularly with a view towards international marketing, global expansion and new market strategies.
For they depend on arriving at some ‘right answers’ before implementation, and the ‘design thinking’ approach, by virtue of it’s characteristics of ‘adapt and evolve’ cannot wait for the right answer so much as the answer that works best given the full circumstances of the moment.
The other post was going to be on a team project, called Sunyaas, undertaken in Fall 2003 for Larry Keeley’s design planning class. We were to create a business plan on the foundation of enlightenment. No definition had been provided, our first task was to define it. For some days now, I’ve been wanting to go over the roots of our definition, and how we reached it, what decisions we took along the way. Because I’ve been feeling the need to articulate some of our vision, I see the patterns swirling around that brought this to mind after almost 18 months.