For the last 20 years, my community, my network, my extended family* has been built upon various forms of Design Thinking. My indoctrination came in 1996 when I was introduced to MGTaylor’s DesignShop™ methodology (a form of design thinking), which I have been trying to master ever since. Over the years, I have experienced and used several others, including Open Space, LEAN, Theory U, World Café, Scrum/Agile and many derivations of Design Thinking approaches: from Target and IDEO to Grove and Stanford’s d.school. I have met the fantastic people that have borrowed from the masters and created their own amazing iterations. All, along with the ~1,000 sessions that I have designed and delivered, acting as inspiration for the book I recently co-wrote entitled, “Facilitating Collaboration.”
However, for the last 5 years, I have been increasingly curious about the larger impact of all of our work. Indulging my curiosity, I began incorporating data into our design considerations. And I don’t mean survey data/focus groups from product testing or feedback scores, but medium and long term impact of outputs. Perhaps more importantly, this evolved to witnessing and tracking the connections and relationships of thousands who have engaged in our design work. These intriguing networks of people weaving intricate bonds between relationships and content might be the real structure for meaningful change in the future. Proof of this lies in one of my favorite equations, a unique take on an established classic:
E = Effectiveness of your organization and/or community/objective
M = Mastery and skill-set of each individual person
C¹ = Connections and relationships (analog and digital) that join individuals
C² = (type and timing of) Communications/information that flows between individuals (Adapted from Vancho Cirovski)
It is also evident in one of America’s greatest past times…15 years ago, ‘data scientists’ showed up in baseball. Many laughed or were baffled at the attempt. But then the innovative data-driven teams started winning. The Chicago Cubs being the most recent and well broadcast example of using a 5 year data strategy to end a 108 year losing streak. They undertook this journey with the knowledge that they would likely lose for a few seasons before creating one of the best teams ever. The less publicized side is the win they also scored in support of data scientists, who are now key team members in every baseball organization.
The marketing industry has been privy to the power of data for some time as well. “Marketing Gurus” (amazing design thinkers) used to rule the advertising industry. But a majority of their work/output was still grounded in gut reactions and tried-and-true processes (much like design thinking). Today, not a single ad is released or product developed that hasn’t been optimized 1000’s of times, based on consumer data from past purchases, purchase cycles, profiles etc… as all data points from their target audience influences products and marketing.
Seeing the success of these industries and the capability of technology, I believe that for design thinking we are at the start of something important and impactful…we are where baseball and marketing were over a decade ago, except the stakes are greater. Too many people have been disengaged at work for far too long. Too many people’s jobs are at risk of automation.
Therefore our work affects/has the opportunity to affect the creative minds, daily performance and connectivity of countless employees. It changes the outputs of teams and companies and lays the pathway for projects and initiatives that will effect all of our futures. The cost is too great, we can’t accept data less design anymore.
"I am not worried about artificial intelligence taking our jobs, I am worried that we won’t properly embrace this intelligence in our design work, and lost will be the opportunity to dramatically accelerate our impact."
Through establishing Collaboration.Ai with co-workers and friends, we have focused on sharing data driven results as a step toward impactful change. This blog will serve as a guide for those interested in our data + design industry/advances in collaboration… desiring to create pathways and share efforts aimed at affecting positive change. We’re eager to have you join us on the Collaboration Revolution.
**We are launching two new products to help accelerate intelligent design:
- Mobile Teams or Quick Connectors — design + artificial intelligence + network science comes together in an easy to access, real time software. Customizable by topic, three interactive questions allow you to quickly survey teams, divisions, attendees, students — any group over ~10 with access to a mobile device (NO app) creating intelligent teams and highlighting how to instantly begin working better together.
- Pro Teams — a comprehensive team creation approach that utilizes all available/selected data inputs to create the highest performing teams based on pairing your business rules and objectives with our proven, intelligent, data outputs.