When was the last time your team or company encountered a problem? Yesterday? Last week?
Chances are, it was recent.
Who solved that problem? Most likely—if it was an operational problem—your operations leader handled it. Your marketing leader probably stayed far away, because it wasn’t their problem to solve.
This is how most businesses address issues. Your department, your project, your problem. But what if there was a more efficient way to solve problems and better your culture? What if your marketing leader could have had a great solution to the operational problem?
This is what can happen when your team and company embrace Design Thinking.
In its simplest definition, Design Thinking is the process by which we solve problems and add value. It’s an empathy-driven, problem-solving methodology.
Every person on your team can be a designer. In this context, design doesn’t mean a form of art. Instead, it means intentionally tapping into our talents and gifts to solve big problems.
An accountant can be a designer because he or she may thoughtfully design financial systems to keep the company moving forward.
An assistant can be a designer because he or she may intentionally design processes that drive efficiency.
Design thinking bends organizational and departmental lines to brings teams together to solve big problems. It means bringing issues to the table and encouraging everyone to use their gifts to find solutions.
It isn’t a place for the team to talk over each other or impress leaders with competing ideas. It’s not about what skill you can bring to the table and then leave. It’s about seeing big problems as everybody’s problem and using your talents to design parts of the solution.
For example, with an operational problem, it’s not your marketing leader proclaiming “I have an idea that could help you solve this.” Instead, it’s the marketing leader looking at the problem from a place of empathy, understanding why it’s happening, then saying “I see how and why this is happening, and how it impacts all of us. I think I could design a marketing-based system that adds value to this operational problem. I think our teams can bridge the gap together.”
Once your team feels comfortable and empowered to use their skill sets and talents to design solutions, your company culture will shift from “that’s not my problem” to “how can I add value to this solution?” And that sounds like a culture destined for success.