Tag Archives: creative problem solving

Top 10 Human-Centered Change & Innovation Articles of May 2023

Top 10 Human-Centered Change & Innovation Articles of May 2023Drum roll please…

At the beginning of each month, we will profile the ten articles from the previous month that generated the most traffic to Human-Centered Change & Innovation. Did your favorite make the cut?

But enough delay, here are May’s ten most popular innovation posts:

  1. A 90% Project Failure Rate Means You’re Doing it Wrong — by Mike Shipulski
  2. ‘Innovation’ is Killing Innovation. How Do We Save It? — by Robyn Bolton
  3. Sustaining Imagination is Hard — by Braden Kelley
  4. Unintended Consequences. The Hidden Risk of Fast-Paced Innovation — by Pete Foley
  5. 8 Strategies to Future-Proofing Your Business & Gaining Competitive Advantage — by Teresa Spangler
  6. How to Determine if Your Problem is Worth Solving — by Mike Shipulski
  7. Sprint Toward the Innovation Action — by Mike Shipulski
  8. Moneyball and the Beginning, Middle, and End of Innovation — by Robyn Bolton
  9. A Shortcut to Making Strategic Trade-Offs — by Geoffrey A. Moore
  10. 3 Innovation Types Not What You Think They Are — by Robyn Bolton

BONUS – Here are five more strong articles published in April that continue to resonate with people:

If you’re not familiar with Human-Centered Change & Innovation, we publish 4-7 new articles every week built around innovation and transformation insights from our roster of contributing authors and ad hoc submissions from community members. Get the articles right in your Facebook, Twitter or Linkedin feeds too!

Have something to contribute?

Human-Centered Change & Innovation is open to contributions from any and all innovation and transformation professionals out there (practitioners, professors, researchers, consultants, authors, etc.) who have valuable human-centered change and innovation insights to share with everyone for the greater good. If you’d like to contribute, please contact me.

P.S. Here are our Top 40 Innovation Bloggers lists from the last three years:

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How to Determine if Your Problem is Worth Solving

How to Determine if Your Problem is Worth Solving

GUEST POST from Mike Shipulski

How do you decide if a problem is worth solving?

If it’s a new problem, try to solve it.

If it’s a problem that’s already been solved, it can’t be a new problem. Let someone else re-solve it.

If a new problem is big, solve it in a small way. If that doesn’t work, try to solve it in a smaller way.

If there’s a consensus that the problem is worth solving, don’t bother. Nothing great comes from consensus.

If the Status Quo tells you not to solve it, you’ve hit paydirt!

If when you tell people about solving the problem they laugh, you’re onto something.

If solving the problem threatens the experts, double down.

If solving the problem obsoletes your most valuable product, solve it before your competition does.

If solving the problem blows up your value proposition, light the match.

If solving the problem replaces your product with a service, that’s a recipe for recurring revenue.

If solving the problem frees up a factory, well, now you have a free factory to make other things.

If solving the problem makes others look bad, that’s why they’re trying to block you from solving it.

If you want to know if you’re doing it right, make a list of the new problems you’ve tried to solve.

If your list is short, make it longer.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Braden Kelley’s Problem Finding Canvas can be a super useful starting point for doing design thinking or human-centered design.

“The Problem Finding Canvas should help you investigate a handful of areas to explore, choose the one most important to you, extract all of the potential challenges and opportunities and choose one to prioritize.”

Image credit: Pixabay

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Problems vs. Solutions vs. Complaints

Problems vs. Solutions vs. Complaints

GUEST POST from Mike Shipulski

If you see a problem, tell someone. But, also, tell them how you’d like to improve things.

Once you see a problem, you have an obligation to seek a solution.

Complaining is telling someone they have a problem but stopping short of offering solutions.

To stop someone from complaining, ask them how they might make the situation better.

Problems are good when people use them as a forcing function to create new offerings.

Problems are bad when people articulate them and then go home early.

Thing is, problems aren’t good or bad. It’s our response that determines their flavor.

If it’s your problem, it can never be our solution.

Sometimes the best solution to a problem is to solve a different one.

Problem-solving is 90% problem definition and 10% getting ready to define the problem.

When people don’t look critically at the situation, there are no problems. And that’s a big problem.

Big problems require big solutions. And that’s why it’s skillful to convert big ones into smaller ones.

Solving the right problem is much more important than solving the biggest problem.

If the team thinks it’s impossible to solve the problem, redefine the problem and solve that one.

You can relabel problems as “opportunities” as long as you remember they’re still problems

When it comes to problem-solving, there is no partial credit. A problem is either solved or it isn’t.

Image credit: Pixabay

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What to Do When You Don’t Know What to Do

What to Do When You Don’t Know What to Do

GUEST POST from Mike Shipulski

When you don’t know what to do, what do you do? This is a difficult question.

Here are some thoughts that may help you figure out what to do when you really don’t know.

Don’t confuse activity with progress.

Gather your two best friends, go off-site, and define the system as it is.

Don’t ask everyone what they think because the Collective’s thoughts will be diffuse, bland, and tired.

Get outside.

Draw a picture of how things work today.

Get a good meal.

Make a graph of goodness over time. If it’s still increasing, do more of what you did last time. If it’s flat, do something else.

Get some exercise.

Don’t judge yourself negatively. This is difficult work.

Get some sleep.

Help someone with their problem. The distraction will keep you out of the way as your mind works on it for you.

Spend time with friends.

Try a new idea at the smallest scale. It will likely lead to a better one. Repeat.

Use your best judgment.

Image credit: Pixabay

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Can You Ever Be a Truly Independent Thinker?

Can You Ever Be a Truly Independent Thinker?

GUEST POST from Tom Stafford, University of Sheffield

‘It’s important to me that I make my own decisions, but I often wonder how much they are actually influenced by cultural and societal norms, by advertising, the media and those around me. We all feel the need to fit in, but does this prevent us from making decisions for ourselves? In short, can I ever be a truly free thinker?’ Richard, Yorkshire.

There’s good news and bad news on this one. In his poem Invictus, William Ernest Henley wrote: “It matters not how strait the gate, How charged with punishments the scroll, I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul.”

While being the lone “captain of your soul” is a reassuring idea, the truth is rather more nuanced. The reality is that we are social beings driven by a profound need to fit in – and as a consequence, we are all hugely influenced by cultural norms.

But to get to the specifics of your question, advertising, at least, may not influence you as much as you imagine. Both advertisers and the critics of advertising like us to think that ads can make us dance any way they want, especially now everything is digital and personalised ad targeting is possible in a way it never was before.

This article is part of Life’s Big Questions

The Conversation’s new series, co-published with BBC Future, seeks to answer our readers’ nagging questions about life, love, death and the universe. We work with professional researchers who have dedicated their lives to uncovering new perspectives on the questions that shape our lives.

In reality, there is no precise science of advertising. Most new products fail, despite the advertising they receive. And even when sales go up, nobody is exactly sure of the role advertising played. As the marketing pioneer John Wanamaker said:

Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.

You’d expect advertisers to exaggerate the effectiveness of advertising, and scholars of advertising have typically made more modest claims. Even these, though, may be overestimates. Recent studies have claimed that both online and offline, the methods commonly used to study advertising effectiveness vastly exaggerate the power of advertising to change our beliefs and behaviour.

This has led some to claim that not just half, but perhaps nearly all advertising money is wasted, at least online.

When the ads don’t work…

There are similar results outside of commerce. One review of field experiments in political campaigning argued “the best estimate of the effects of campaign contact and advertising on Americans’ candidates choices in general elections is zero”. Zero!

In other words, although we like to blame the media for how people vote, it is surprisingly hard to find solid evidence of when and how people are swayed by the media. One professor of political science, Kenneth Newton, went so far as to claim “It’s Not the Media, Stupid”.

But although advertising is a weak force, and although hard evidence on how the media influences specific choices is elusive, every one of us is undoubtedly influenced by the culture in which we live.

Followers of fashion

Fashions exist both for superficial things, such as buying clothes and opting for a particular hairstyle, but also for more profound behaviour like murder and even suicide. Indeed, we all borrow so much from those we grow up around, and those around us now, that it seems impossible to put a clear line between our individual selves and the selves society forges for us.

Two examples: I don’t have any facial tattoos, and I don’t want any. If I wanted a facial tattoo my family would think I’d gone mad. But if I was born in some cultures, where these tattoos were common and conveyed high status, such as traditional Māori culture, people would think I was unusual if I didn’t want facial tattoos.

Similarly, if I had been born a Viking, I can assume that my highest ambition would have been to die in battle, axe or sword in hand. In their belief system, after all, that was surest way to Valhalla and a glorious afterlife. Instead, I am a liberal academic whose highest ambition is to die peacefully in bed, a long way away from any bloodshed. Promises of Valhalla have no influence over me.

Vikings had different beliefs to most modern liberal academics.

Ultimately, I’d argue that all of our desires are patterned by the culture we happen to be born in.

But it gets worse. Even if we could somehow free ourselves from cultural expectations, other forces impinge on our thoughts. Your genes can affect your personality and so they must also, indirectly, have a knock-on effect on your beliefs.

Sigmund Freud, the founder of psychoanalysis, famously talked about the influence of parents and upbringing on behaviour, and he probably wasn’t 100% wrong. Even just psychologically, how can you ever think freely, separate from the twin influences of prior experience and other people?

From this perspective, all of our behaviours and our desires are profoundly influenced by outside forces. But does this mean they aren’t also our own?

The answer to this dilemma, I think, is not to free yourself from outside influences. This is impossible. Instead, you should see yourself and your ideas as the intersection of all the forces that come to play on you.

Some of these are shared – like our culture – and some are unique to you – your unique experience, your unique history and biology. Being a free thinker, from this perspective, means working out exactly what makes sense to you, from where you are now.

You can’t – and shouldn’t – ignore outside influences, but the good news is that these influences are not some kind of overwhelming force. All the evidence is compatible with the view that each of us, choice by choice, belief by belief, can make reasonable decisions for ourselves, not unshackled from the influences of others and the past, but free to chart our own unique paths forward into the future.

After all, the captain of a ship doesn’t sail while ignoring the wind – sometimes they go with it, sometimes against it, but they always account for it. Similarly, we think and make our choices in the context of all our circumstances, not by ignoring them.

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Image Credits: Pixabay, Shutterstock (via theconversation)

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Bring Newness to Corporate Learning with Gamification

Bring Newness to Corporate Learning with Gamification

GUEST POST from Janet Sernack

I was first introduced to gamification upon meeting Mario Herger, in 2012, when he was a Senior Innovation Strategist at SAP Labs LLC, in Israel, as a participant in his two-day gamification workshop for Checkpoint Security Software. It was an exciting and exhilarating journey into the playful and innovative world of gamification pioneers such as Farmville, Angry Birds, and BetterWorks. Creatively exploiting the convergence of trends catalyzed by the expansion of the internet, and by the fast pace of exponential technology development making gamification accessible to everyone.

Propelled further by people’s increasing desire to socialize and share ideas and knowledge across the globe. Coupled with their desire to learn and connect in a high-tech world, to be met in ways that also satisfied their aspirational, motivational, and recreational needs, as well as being playful and fun.

The whole notion of making gamification accessible to corporate learning simmered in my mind, for the next ten years, and this is what I have since discovered.

Evolution of the gamification market

In 2012 Gartner predicted that – Gamification combined with other technologies and trends, gamification would cause major discontinuities in innovation, employee performance management, education, personal development, and customer engagement. Further claiming that by 2014, 80% of organizations will have gamified at least one area of their business.

It seems their prediction did not eventuate.

In their Gamification 2020 report, Gartner then predicted that gamification, combined with other emerging trends and technologies, will have a significant impact on:

  • Innovation
  • The design of employee performance
  • The globalization of higher education
  • The emergence of customer engagement platforms
  • Gamification of personal development.

It seems this prediction is now an idea whose time has come!

According to Mordor Intelligence – The global gamification market was valued at USD 10.19 million in 2020 and is expected to reach USD 38.42 million by 2026 and grow at a CAGR of 25.10% over the forecast period (2021 – 2026). The exponential growth in the number of smartphones and mobile devices has directly created a vast base for the gamification market.

This growth is also supported by the increasing recognition of making gamification accessible as a methodology to redesign human behavior, in order to induce innovation, productivity, or engagement.

Purpose of gamification

The initial purpose of gamification was to add game mechanics into non-game environments, such as a website, online communities, learning management systems, or business intranets to increase engagement and participation.

The initial goal of gamification was to engage with consumers, employees, and partners to inspire collaboration, sharing, and interaction.

Gamification and corporate learning

The last two years of the coronavirus pandemic caused many industries to deal with their audiences remotely and combined with an urgent need for having the right technologies and tools to:

  • Reach out to, and connect with, both their employees and customers, in new ways

Acknowledging the range of constraints and restrictions occurring globally we have an opportunity to couple these with the challenges, disconnectedness, isolation, and limitations of our remote and hybrid workplaces.

While many of us are seeking more freedom, fun, play, and adventure, yet, we are still mostly bound to our laptops, TVs, and kitchens, and locked up within the boundaries of our homes, local neighborhoods, and hometowns.

  • Expanding knowledge, mindsets, behaviors, and skills

At the same time, this period has also created incredible opportunities for expanding our knowledge, and developing new mindsets, behaviors, and skills!

In different ways to help teams and organizations adapt, innovate, and grow through gamification, which increases our adaptability to flow and flourish and drive transformation, within a constantly, exponentially changing, and disruptive workplace.

Benefits of a gamified approach

Companies that have focused on making gamification accessible within their learning programs are reaping the rewards, as recent studies revealed:

  • The use of mobile applications gamified individually or as a complement to an LMS or e-learning platform has been shown to improve employee productivity by 50% and commitment by 60%.
  • That 97% of employees over the age of 45 believe that gamification would help improve work.
  • That 85% of employees are willing to spend more time on training programs with gamified dynamics.

Gamification is finally at an inflection point

The shift from face-to-face and live events to online created an opening for improving the quality of coaching, learning, and training experiences in ways that align with the client’s or organization needs and strategic business goals.

Keeping people and teams connected, engaged, and motivated in the virtual and hybrid workplace for extended periods of time is a key factor in business success.

Atrivity is a platform that empowers employees and channels to learn, develop, and perform better through games have identified eight trends influencing the growth and adoption of gamification including:

  • Gamification for Digital Events are here to stay, people are time and resource-poor, and will more likely attend a digital event rather than invest time and resources in travelling.
  • Gamification for Millennials and gen-Z is their new normal, being a generation who have grown up with, and become habitually attuned to Facebook and Instagram.
  • The start of Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality is speeding up and offers new creative approaches.
  • Remote onboarding becomes standard as we all adapt to a globalized and diversified work environment.
  • Gamification helps to reduce hospital strains with emerging telehealth innovations.
  • Customization of, and access to contents allows us to visit museums, galleries, libraries virtually
  • Knowledge evaluation metrics have become common proactive through the use of app-based dashboards and scorecards that provide gamified reward and recognition processes
  • Gamification is an Enterprise “must-have” tactic to attract and retain talent.

Corporate learning is also finally at an inflection point

Innovative new organizations like Roundtable Learning focus on co-creating one-of-a-kind training programs that utilize innovative technologies, reflect the client’s brand, and show measurable business results by enhancing traditional corporate learning practices and embracing more interactive, engaging programs.

This is what ImagineNation™ is collaborating with Binnakle Serious Games to bring newness, creativity and play, experimentation, and learning in gamified ways to enable people and teams to innovate, by making gamification accessible to everyone!

We have integrated technology and co-created a range of blended learning solutions:

  • Digital and gamified learning experiences for groups and teams.
  • Playful and experiential learning activities that deliver deep learning outcomes.
  • Co-creation of customized or bespoke blended learning programs that deliver what they promise.

Making corporate learning accessible, affordable, and scalable

Our aim is to make corporate learning agile, by making gamification accessible, and scalable to everybody, across all time zones, modalities, geographies, and technologies.

Where people have time and space to unlearn, relearn, reskill and upskill by engaging in and interacting with both technology and people:

  • Understand and learn new innovative processes, concepts, principles, and techniques and feel that their new skills are valued.
  • Retreat, reflect and explore, discover and navigate new ways of being, thinking, and acting individually and collectively.
  • Question, challenge the status quo and experiment with new ideas, explore effective collaborative analytical, imaginative, aligned problem-solving and decision-making strategies.
  • Safely fail without punishment, make and learn from mistakes, to iterate and pivot creative ideas and innovative solutions that really matter.

To meet our client’s short- and long-term learning needs in terms of innovation focus or topic depth and breadth. Through enhancing teaming, teamwork, and collaboration, by offering products and tools that make gamification accessible to suit all peoples learning styles, time constraints, diverse technologies, and cost needs.

Who was I to know that it would take another ten years for making gamification accessible enough to reach a tipping point!

An opportunity to learn more

Find out about our learning products and tools, including The Coach for Innovators Certified Program, a collaborative, intimate, and deep personalized innovation coaching and learning program, supported by a global group of peers over 9-weeks, starting Tuesday, May 4, 2022.

It is a blended and transformational change and learning program that will give you a deep understanding of the language, principles, and applications of an ecosystem focus,  human-centric approach, and emergent structure (Theory U) to innovation, and upskill people and teams and develop their future fitness, within your unique context.

Image Credit: Unsplash

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Dare to Think Differently

Dare to Think Differently

GUEST POST from Janet Sernack

As many of my colleagues are aware, I am at heart, a maverick, an unorthodox or independent-minded person. Who is curious and inquisitive, and finds change and challenging the status quo exciting, fascinating and stimulating. I am also, considered, by some, as a misfit, someone whose behaviors and attitudes sets them apart from others in an uncomfortably conspicuous way, that often rocks the boat. There is a range of consequences for people like me, who dare to think differently, especially now that I have also achieved the status of a Modern Elder – “the perfect alchemy of curious and wise, with curiosity leading to expansive inquiry while wisdom distills what’s essential.”

Coupled with both the challenges and constraints of the currently disrupted Covid-19 and digitized world, I am finding that the consequences of being different have intensified, become more impactful, and are often, quite confronting. Where differences cause resistance to change, divisiveness, and conflict, rather than maximizing differences in ways that embrace our humanity, diversity, to harness collective intelligence to make the organization, or world a better, more inclusive, and safer place.

Diversity is of the Essence

According to Jonathan Sacks, in his book “The Dignity of Difference- How to avoid the clash of civilizations,” he states that “we are living in the conscious presence of difference”.

Which exists in the home, in the street, in our workplaces, communities, and countries where we constantly encounter groups and cultures whose ideas and ideals are unlike ours. “That can be experienced as a profound threat to identity. Identity divides.” Considering that “the world is not a single machine, it is a complex, interactive ecology in which diversity – the biological, personal, cultural and religious – is of the essence.”

“When difference leads to war, both sides lose. When it leads to mutual enrichment, both sides gain.”

As is currently being evidenced by the tense and tentative Ukrainian and Russian border confrontation, with its potentially tragic consequences. Where Yuval Noah Harari states in a recent article in The Economist – “At the heart of the Ukraine crisis lies a fundamental question about the nature of history and the nature of humanity: is change possible? Can humans change the way they behave, or does history repeat itself endlessly, with humans forever condemned to re-enact past tragedies without changing anything except the décor”?

People Who Dare to Think Differently

Adam Grant, in his book “The Originals – How Non-Conformists Change the World” describes an original (n) as “A thing of singular or unique character; a person who is different from other people in an appealing or interesting way; a person of fresh initiative or inventive capacity”.

The book goes on to explain strategies, through studies and stories how to champion new ideas and fight groupthink, in constructive ways that maximize diversity and differences and promote dissent, as the basis for cultivating original thought to effect positive change.

Ray Dallio, in his book Principles explores this further, suggesting that “if you are like most people, you have no clue about how other people see things and aren’t good at seeking to understand what they are thinking because you’re too preoccupied with telling them what you yourself think is correct.” Often causing divisiveness rather than inclusion, resistance to change, and as a consequence, missing the possibilities and opportunities that may be present.

This also impedes our overall adaptiveness and creativity in an exponentially changing, world, to make real progress, and constructively change and limits the potential for innovation, growth and ability to contribute to the common good.

Change Management Has Changed

In a recent article from the Boston Consulting Group, they stated that  “Effective change management requires leaders to shift away from one-size-fits-all approaches and develop an expanded set of context-specific strategies”.

Which are truly adaptive, collaborative, energize, catalyze change, harness, and mobilize people’s and customers’ collective intelligence, in ways that are appreciated and cherished by all, and contribute to the common good.

To ultimately collectively co-create a set of different, empowered future-fit leaders, teams, and organizations – who courageously, compassionately, and creatively contribute toward an improved future, for customers, stakeholders, leaders, teams, organizations as well as for the good of the whole.

Welcoming Dissent and Thoughtful Disagreement

At ImagineNation™ we dare to think differently and teach train, and coach people and teams to maximize their potential to lead, manage, coach, through implementing and embedding change and innovation, differently.

We enable people to lead in the imagination age by empowering, enabling, and equipping them to be and think differently to:

  • Flow with some people’s need to be “right” and in control, when they are being defensive, abusive, and divisive, even when disagreement and conflict occur.
  • Artfully and skillfully use cognitive dissonance and creative tension to pull people towards a new possibility and envision a new and compelling future.
  • Be inclusive to support mutual enrichment, through co-sensemaking, that helps them create “order” (in their own context) and simplicity from complexity and change.
  • Self-regulate and self-manage emotionally in the face of uncertainty and volatility.
  • Be relatable, empathic, inspiring, and artfully and skillfully influential in helping people open their minds and hearts toward co-creation, collaboration, and experimentation that ensures a shared contribution for mutual gain.
  • Be creative and inventive to maximize their multiple and collective intelligences through learning, contrarian thinking, constructive debate, and creative conversations that generate discovery.

In ways that engage deep generative listening, inquiry, questioning, and differing that uses cognitive dissonance to unleash the creative energy that triggers and generates thinking differently.

When people are trusted and empowered to think differently, they co-create a frequency that allows, awakens, and activates their adaptive and innovative leadership qualities, consciousness, states, and qualities of mind and heart, to effect positive change.

Taking wise and intelligent action

It also enables them to wisely choose the most intelligent actions that result in adaptive and innovative outcomes.

This helps creativity to flourish and disrupts and interrupts those people, whose complacency, conformity, and rigidity create divisions, and feelings of desolation and exclusion that kill our capacity and competence to collaborate, create and invent.

Leaving me to wonder and inquire;

  • What if the “strangers” among us simply listen, with open minds and open hearts to the thought, feelings, and opinions of others, with both curiosity and detachment?
  • What if we could collectively co-create safe containers and collective holding spaces, that maximize our differences and diversity, and simply share a creative conversation about what could be possible?
  • How might we maximize our diversity of thought, to enable us to think differently about the issue, opportunity, or problem in ways that supported differences for mutual enrichment?

There is no wisdom on one point of view

Might this result in a deeper connection when there is polarization between people?

Might it be possible to co-sense and co-create a sense of inclusion, and an opening for a deeper philosophical exploration and discovery for thinking differently about the role, nature of and impact prescriptive points of view on how people truly feel, really think, and deeply act in our globalized and connected world?

Might it help us collectively to co-create making it a better place?

Find out more about our work at ImagineNation™

Find out about our learning products and tools, including The Coach for Innovators Certified Program, a collaborative, intimate, and deep personalized innovation coaching and learning program, supported by a global group of peers over 9-weeks, starting Tuesday, May 4, 2022. It is a blended and transformational change and learning program that will give you a deep understanding of the language, principles, and applications of an ecosystem focus, human-centric approach, and emergent structure (Theory U) to innovation, and to upskill people and teams and develop their future fitness, within your unique context. Find out more.

Image credit: Unsplash

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Design Thinking and Sustainability

Creating Environmentally-friendly Solutions

Design Thinking and Sustainability

GUEST POST from Art Inteligencia

As we face growing environmental challenges, businesses and individuals alike are increasingly recognizing the importance of incorporating sustainability into their practices. Design thinking, a creative problem-solving approach, can be a powerful tool in developing environmentally-friendly solutions. By prioritizing ecological needs from the very beginning, design thinking enables us to create innovative and sustainable products, services, and systems. In this article, we will explore the intersection of design thinking and sustainability, discussing its benefits and providing two compelling case studies that showcase its effectiveness.

Benefits of Design Thinking in Sustainability:

1. Holistic Problem-Solving: Design thinking encourages a human-centered approach, focusing on understanding user needs and the broader context of a problem. By considering ecological factors as part of this holistic approach, designers can identify creative ways to address sustainability challenges. This mindset enables the development of sustainable solutions that go beyond meeting short-term objectives, leading to more far-reaching environmental benefits.

2. Collaboration and Co-creation: Design thinking emphasizes collaboration and involving stakeholders from various disciplines during the problem-solving process. Incorporating sustainability considerations into this collaborative approach ensures a diversity of ideas and perspectives. By engaging experts from environmental sciences, engineering, or green innovation, designers can tap into a wealth of knowledge, effectively merging design and sustainability expertise to create impactful solutions.

Case Study 1: The Ocean Cleanup Project

The Ocean Cleanup project, initiated by the Dutch inventor Boyan Slat, is a remarkable example of design thinking applied to address environmental challenges. By leveraging a systematic design process, Slat and his team developed an innovative solution to remove plastic debris from our oceans. The project involved extensive research, prototypes, and testing, subsequently leading to the creation of a passive cleanup system that captures floating plastic waste using ocean currents. Through design thinking methodologies, the Ocean Cleanup project demonstrates the power of combining creative problem-solving with sustainability objectives to tackle one of the greatest threats to our oceans.

Case Study 2: IDEO’s Sustainable Packaging Solutions

IDEO, an internationally renowned design firm, has been employing design thinking principles to develop sustainable packaging solutions for various clients. In one particular case, IDEO partnered with a global food company to tackle the environmental impact of their product’s packaging. By engaging stakeholders from diverse fields and using design thinking tools such as empathy mapping and rapid prototyping, IDEO was able to propose creative packaging alternatives made from biodegradable materials and explore innovative ways to reduce waste in the supply chain. Through this approach, IDEO exemplifies how design thinking can be key in transforming traditional practices into sustainable and environmentally-friendly solutions.


Design thinking offers a compelling framework to address complex challenges by embedding sustainability at the core of the problem-solving process. By prioritizing the environment as a key stakeholder, design thinkers can create innovative, human-centered, and sustainable solutions. The case studies of the Ocean Cleanup project and IDEO’s packaging solutions highlight the tangible impact that design thinking can have on solving environmental problems. By continuing to integrate design thinking with sustainability principles, we can unlock endless possibilities for creating a more environmentally-friendly future.

SPECIAL BONUS: Braden Kelley’s Problem Finding Canvas can be a super useful starting point for doing design thinking or human-centered design.

“The Problem Finding Canvas should help you investigate a handful of areas to explore, choose the one most important to you, extract all of the potential challenges and opportunities and choose one to prioritize.”

Image credit: Misterinnovation.com

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Unraveling the Potential of Quantum Computing in Solving Complex Problems

Unraveling the Potential of Quantum Computing in Solving Complex Problems

GUEST POST from Chateau G Pato

In recent years, the field of quantum computing has captured the imagination of scientists, researchers, and technologists worldwide. Promising significant advancements over classical computers, quantum computing has the potential to revolutionize various industries by solving complex problems that were once considered insurmountable. With its ability to harness the principles of superposition and entanglement, quantum computing offers novel approaches to computation, unlocking new frontiers in fields such as cryptography, drug discovery, optimization, and modeling complex physical systems.

Case Study 1 – Cryptography

One of the most exciting prospects of quantum computing lies in its ability to break cryptographic codes that are currently deemed unbreakable by classical computers. Case in point, the advent of quantum algorithms such as Shor’s algorithm allows for the efficient factorization of large numbers, a crucial foundation of many encryption methods currently employed. To illustrate how this could impact various industries, let’s consider the financial sector. Banks and financial institutions rely on encryption to protect customers’ sensitive information and ensure secure online transactions. Should quantum computers become capable of breaking existing encryption algorithms, the financial industry would need to swiftly adapt by implementing quantum-resistant encryption methods. The ripple effect of quantum computing in cryptography extends beyond finance, affecting communication, military intelligence, and data security for various sectors worldwide.

Case Study 2 – Drug Discovery

Another compelling case study showcasing the potential of quantum computing can be found in the field of drug discovery. The process of discovering new drugs is an intricate and time-consuming task involving extensive computational analysis. Quantum computing has the potential to significantly accelerate this process by simulating the behavior of molecules with unparalleled precision. By leveraging quantum algorithms, researchers can more accurately predict how drugs will interact with target molecules, reducing the need for costly and time-consuming laboratory experiments. This computational power could pave the way for the discovery of new drugs and the ability to personalize treatments based on an individual’s unique molecular makeup, revolutionizing healthcare and ultimately saving lives.

Additionally, quantum computing holds great promise in optimizing complex systems, offering solutions to previously intractable problems. Consider the logistics industry, which heavily relies on optimization algorithms to optimize delivery routes, minimize costs, and decrease transportation time. Quantum computing could offer significant advancements in this field by exponentially improving the efficiency of optimization algorithms. By analyzing vast amounts of data and considering intricate variables, quantum computers could determine optimal routes, minimizing fuel consumption, and reducing carbon emissions. Such advancements benefit not only the logistics industry but also have implications for supply chain management, traffic control, and urban planning, ultimately leading to more sustainable and efficient infrastructures.

While these case studies provide a glimpse into the future capabilities of quantum computing, it is important to acknowledge that the field is still in its infancy. Overcoming the current challenges of maintaining qubits’ stability, error correction, and scaling remains critical for the practical implementation of quantum computers. However, tremendous strides have been made, and as technology continues to evolve, quantum computing holds the potential to unlock new frontiers and transform countless industries.


Unraveling the potential of quantum computing offers a new chapter in computational possibilities. The breakthroughs it can provide, from breaking encryption codes to accelerating drug discovery and optimizing complex systems, can transform industries and shape the world we live in. Embracing quantum computing’s potential opens up new avenues for innovation and brings us closer to solving complex problems that were once thought to be beyond the reach of classical computation. Let us embrace this frontier with curiosity, resilience, and collaboration, as we stand on the precipice of a quantum revolution.

SPECIAL BONUS: Braden Kelley’s Problem Finding Canvas can be a super useful starting point for doing design thinking or human-centered design.

“The Problem Finding Canvas should help you investigate a handful of areas to explore, choose the one most important to you, extract all of the potential challenges and opportunities and choose one to prioritize.”

Image credit: Pixabay

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Design Thinking for Non-Designers

How to Approach the Problem Solving Process

GUEST POST from Chateau G Pato

In the world of design, getting started with creative problem solving can feel intimidating if you don’t have a design background. Understanding how to approach a problem from a different perspective is key to success when it comes to finding viable solutions. In this article, we’ll be discussing the basics of design thinking and introducing two case studies that demonstrate how it can be used for both creative and practical problem solving.

What is Design Thinking?

Design thinking is an approach to problem solving that focuses on human-centered solutions. It was popularized by design firm IDEO, which is known for its innovative products, like the now-ubiquitous Apple Mouse and the Segway. Design thinking is based on the idea that creative solutions and useful products can be used to meet pressing needs in any project. When it comes to problem solving, design thinking encourages a multidisciplinary approach that includes ideation, prototyping and iterative testing.

At its core, design thinking is about asking the right questions and understanding what the user needs from a product or service. The process starts with an initial investigation into the problem, followed by brainstorming to find possible solutions. Once potential ideas have been identified, the next step involves prototyping and experimentation to discover the best approach. Iterative testing and user feedback help to identify areas for improvement, while also informing the end result. Ultimately, the design thinking process can identify both creative and practical solutions that address the original problem.

Case Study 1 – McKinsey & Co: Designing an App for the Nonprofit Sector

In 2020, McKinsey & Co partnered with the World Wildlife Fund to design a mobile app that would help the nonprofit sector better organize its data. In order to create a product that could truly serve the needs of the sector, the team began by conducting research on the current state of data management and the pain points among nonprofits. Once they identified the problem, they used design thinking to create a product that would solve it.

The team conducted interviews, ran surveys and observed user behavior in order to gain deeper insight into the nonprofit sector and better understand their goals. This enabled them to develop an app prototype that addressed the identified pain points and provided innovative solutions for the nonprofit sector. After consulting with the target audience and refining the product, the final version of the app was released and it quickly became a success.

Case Study 2 – Zenden: Delivering Smart Energy Solutions

This example highlights how design thinking can be used to create a product that meets current needs. Zenden, an energy-focused startup, wanted to create a smart energy system that would improve the efficiency of renewable energy sources and reduce carbon emissions. The team used the design thinking process to develop a solution that would meet this goal.

The team first conducted research on the current energy landscape and identified challenges stemming from energy availability and sustainability. They then held brainstorming sessions to come up with possible solutions and interviewed energy industry professionals to refine their ideas. After extensive prototyping and testing, the team was able to develop a solution that provided a reliable energy source and drastically reduced energy waste.


Design thinking is an invaluable tool for problem solving that allows creators to understand a problem from a human-centered perspective and come up with creative solutions that meet users’ needs. Both of the cases presented here demonstrate how design thinking can be used to create products that consider the needs of the user and deliver potential solutions. With the right approach, even those without a design background can create products that meet the needs of their audience.

SPECIAL BONUS: Braden Kelley’s Problem Finding Canvas can be a super useful starting point for doing design thinking or human-centered design.

“The Problem Finding Canvas should help you investigate a handful of areas to explore, choose the one most important to you, extract all of the potential challenges and opportunities and choose one to prioritize.”

Image credit: Unsplash

Subscribe to Human-Centered Change & Innovation WeeklySign up here to get Human-Centered Change & Innovation Weekly delivered to your inbox every week.