Strategy | Design Strategy and Critical Thinking – Experience that Delights

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Design Strategy is a propriety methodology to design experiences that delight the customer. I use the word experiences because it is no longer sufficient to design products or services, it is about the experience.

Recommended reading: Business Design Tools.

If you think about organisations that you enjoy dealing with. Why is that? It’s usually not about their product or their service, it is about the experience that you have in engaging with them and we believe it is not sufficient anymore to give the customer what they want, it is about designing solutions and experiences that delight them.

What you have to do is to take the theoretical design thinking model and made it relevant in the corporate and government world. Design strategy starts with empathy. It starts with putting yourselves in the customer’s shoes, living their world, understanding their needs, their gains and their pains.

Once you have done that, you can say what are the problems that you need to solve and often the problems that need solving aren’t the ones you thought needed solving. Back when a team started this process. Once they have understood the problems to be solved, they can now ideate, diverge, come up with ideas and then converge down to ones that are feasible, desirable, and viable. At this point they could stop but in fact what they really want to do is bring these to life.

How to prototype some of these ideas and go back to some of the people that they have interviewed and say, what do you think? Test out those ideas.

Let me give you a quick example, read on:

Each semester, Professor Lewis admonished her students to use critical thinking skills. She added Bloom’s higher thinking skills to her syllabus and frequently referred to specific skills throughout her instruction. But her efforts were not having the intended effect, as students’ synchronous class discussions and work products revealed a limited set of thinking skills.

However, her fortunes changed when she began showing students how to use the think well learn. Diagram in the first week of their semester.

Here's what she did First, Professor Lewis used the split-screen feature to place her course learning outcomes and the “ThinkWell LearnWell” Diagram side-by-side. So her students can see both tools simultaneously.

Then, she dedicated five minutes to connecting the action verbs she used in her learning outcomes to the respective levels on the diagram. Her next move was to use the metaphoric transfer tactic to tap into students existing understanding of how monetary values work.

She told them that respective modes of thinking have different levels of values in that using higher value thinking skills would enable them to produce qualitatively better academic products. She could sense that the cognitive wheels were turning in her students. However, to make the lessons stick she gave all of her class the content they would need over the next few class sessions.

Then, she divided her students into six groups and assigned each group a specific level of the diagram as their operating mode of thinking and she instructed each group to study the content with the specific mode of thinking they had been assigned. She also told them that a representative from each group would be responsible for providing a summary of their discovery.

As she anticipated each group provided a new layer of knowledge about the content. The students were amazed that they all came up with different outcomes using the same content. She then explained outcome variation as an essential metacognitive skill that they would need to exercise in her course and in any other course they take.

In a span of 30 minutes, spread over two courses, Professor Lewis didn’t just tell her students to critically think or point them toward Blooms, she gave them a tool, a strategy and guidance on how to think well and learn well. Now Professor Lewis is excited to teach her students because they interact at high levels which make a much more rewarding experience for everyone.

Design strategy allows you to redefine experiences that delight the customer and that’s all that matters.

Drop your comment about what you think of strategy and critical thinking. Thank you for reading.

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