Guest AuthorPavan Soni

Inflexion Point, September 2020

By | Dr Pavan Soni | IIM-B Innovation Evangelist

Welcome back to Inflexion Point.

In this edition, we look at Michelin’s bottom-up approach to innovation, six problem-solving mindsets for uncertain times, surprising habits of original thinkers, Accenture’s FORM model for design thinking, and best books on design thinking.
I hope you find this edition useful.
In 2012, the French multinational Michelin started a program for employee empowerment– responsabilisation — a bottom-up approach for employee involvement in creativity and problem solving. With a focus on ‘what’, and not ‘how’, the responsibilities are pushed downwards, and the leaders assume the role of an enabler rather than a decider. From shift scheduling to setting daily production targets and avenues of process improvements, the now empowered employees take up more tasks which were hitherto performed by supervisors, and this springs up new ideas. (Source: HBR)
Some of the most creative people have well set patterns of thinking, and such models evolve over time. Six such practices are: 1) being ever-curious about every aspect of the problem; 2) tolerating ambiguity; 3) developing multiple viewpoints to look at the problem; 4) experimenting relentlessly; 5) tapping into the collective intelligence of a diverse audience; and 6) practicing ‘show and tell’ through emphatic stories. If I may add, it calls for empathy and humility that you don’t know everything and that you can’t solve every problem. (Source: McKinsey)
In one of the most watched TED Talks, Wharton’s Adam Grant offers a few counterintuitive practices of original thinkers and highly creative individuals. One of such practices is procrastination– creatives don’t mind deferring stuff. As Grant puts it, procrastination gives you time to consider divergent ideas, to think in nonlinear ways, to make unexpected leaps. Another hallmark of creative thinkers is their constant drive to challenge the default, give multiple shots in the face of failure and be comfortable with self-doubt. A must watch talk. (Source: TED)
If you wish to pick up design thinking as a systematic way of problem solving, start by reading some well written books. A certification program or a course would be only helpful once you have invested in building a basic appreciation of the subject, and some of these books can be very handy. Here is a selection of books that would make design thinking much more accessible to all. (Source: Medium)
Most sincere companies have adapted the design thinking process to suit their audience and ambitions. Intuit has Design for Delight model, comprising the tenets of deep customer empathy, go broad to go narrow, and rapid experiments with customers. At Accenture, the five-stage process of design thinking is called the FORM Model. It comprises the following stages: 1) Inform: Discovery with insight; 2) Formulate: Describe with impact; 3) Freeform: Co-create with agility; 4) Transform: Scale with excellence; and 5) Outperform: Sustain with improvement. See if you can design one for your needs. (Source: Accenture Blog)
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