The lightning is most often thought of as his signature invention, but Edison understood that the bulb was little more than a parlor trick without a system of electric power generation and transmission to make It truly useful. So he created that, too.Thus Edition's genius lay in his ability to conceive of a fully developed marketplace, not simply a discrete device.

He was able to envision how people would want to use what he made, and he engineered toward that Insight. He wasn't always prescient (he 1237 Brown. Tend 85 Harvard Business Review 85 5/1/08 8:45:22 PM Design Thinking gees aesthetically attractive and therefore more desirable to originally believed the phonograph would be used mainly consumers or by enhancing brand perception through smart, as a business machine for recording and replaying dictation), evocative advertising ND communication strategies.Durbar he invariably gave great consideration to users' needs and inning the latter half of the twentieth century design became preferences. An increasingly valuable competitive asset in, for example, Edition's approach was an early example of what is now the consumer electronics, automotive, and consumer packsaddle "design thinking" - a methodology that imbues the aged goods industries. But in most others it remained a lateral spectrum of innovation activities with a human-centered stage add-on.

Sign ethos. By this I mean that innovation is powered by a Now, however, rather Han asking designers to make an thorough understanding, through direct observation, of what already developed idea more attractive to consumers, completely want and need in their lives and what they like or dieses are asking them to create ideas that better meet contumelies about the way particular products are made, packaged, errs' needs and desires. The former role is tactical, and results marketed, sold, and supported. N limited value creation; the latter is strategic, and leads to Many people believe that Edition's greatest invention was dramatic new forms of value. He modern R&D laboratory and methods of experimental Moreover, as economies in the developed world shift from investigation.

Edison wasn't a narrowly specialized scientist industrial manufacturing to Knowles a broad generalist with a shrewd edge work and service delivery, enviousness sense.In his Menlo Park, New ovation's terrain is expanding. Its observes, laboratory he surrounded himself Ejective are no longer Just physical with gifted tinkers, improvisers, and surgeons ceases, services, IT-powered interaction of the "lone genius inventor" by described a actions, entertainments, and ways of reading a team-based approach to new device for communicating and collaborating - innovation. Although Edison biographers sinus surgery.One designer exactly the kinds of human-centered write of the camaraderie enjoyed by this grabbed a marker, a film canister, and a clothespin and activities in which design thinking merry band, the process also featured taped them together. "Do you can make a decisive difference.

(See endless rounds of trial and error - the mean like this? " he asked. The sidebar "A Design Thinker's Per"99% perspiration" in Edition's famous seasonality Profile. ") definition of genius.His approach was Consider the large health care provider Kaiser Permanent, intended not to validate preconceived hypotheses but to help which sought to improve the overall quality of both patients' experimenters learn something new from each iterative stab. And medical practitioners' experiences.

Businesses in the serialization is hard work; Edison made it a profession that vice sector can often make significant innovations on the front blended art, craft, science, business savvy, and an astute underlines of service creation and delivery.By teaching design thanksgiving of customers and arrests. inning techniques to nurses, doctors, and administrators, Kaiser Design thinking is a lineal descendant of that tradition. Put hoped to inspire its practitioners to contribute new ideas. Simply, it is a discipline that uses the designer's sensibility and Over the course of several months Kaiser teams participated methods to match people's needs with what is technologically in workshops with the help of my firm, IDÉE, and a group of feasible and what a viable business strategy can convert into Kaisers coaches.These workshops led to a portfolio of innovations value and market opportunity.

Like Edition's painstaking actions, many of which are being rolled out across the company. Innovation process, it often entails a great deal of perspiration. One of them - a project to reengineering nursing-staff shift changes at four Kaiser hospitals - perfectly illustrates both the world in which most management ideas and best practices are broader nature of innovation "products" and the value of a wholesomely available to be copied and exploited.Leaders now look tic design approach.

The core project team included a strategist to innovation as a principal source of differentiation and mom(formerly a nurse), an organizational-development specialist, appetitive advantage; they would do well to incorporate design a technology expert, a process designer, a union representative, thinking into all phases of the process. And designers from IDÉE. This group worked with innovation teams of frontline practitioners in each of the four hospitals.Getting Beneath the Surface During the earliest phase of the project, the core team scholastically, design has been treated as a downstream step in elaborated with nurses to identify a number of problems in the The development process - the point where designers, who ay shift changes occurred.

Chief among these was the fact have played no earlier role in the substantive work of intact nurses routinely spent the first 45 minutes of each shift at innovation, come along and put a beautiful wrapper around the nurses' station debriefing the departing shift about the sheathe idea.To be sure, this approach has stimulated market tutus of patients. Their methods of information exchange were growth in many areas by making new products and technology- 86 Harvard Business Review 1237 Brown. Tend 86 5/1/08 8:45:27 PM A Design Thinker's Personality Profile Contrary to popular opinion, you don't need weird shoes or a black turtleneck to be a design thinker.

Nor are design thinkers necessarily created only by design schools, even though most professionals have had some kind of design training.My experience is that many people outside professional design have a natural aptitude for and experiences can unlock. Here, as a starting point, are some of the characteristics to look for in design thinkers: Empathy. They can imagine the world from multiple perspectives - those of colleagues, clients, end users, and customers (current and prospective).

By taking a "people first" approach, design thinkers can imagine solutions that are inherently desirable and meet explicit or latent needs. Great design thinkers observe the world in minute detail.They notice things that others do not and use their insights to inspire innovation. Integrative thinking.

They not only rely on analytical processes (those that produce either/or choices) but also exhibit the ability to see all of the salient - and sometimes contradictory - aspects of a confounding problem and create novel solutions that go beyond and dramatically improve on existing alternatives. See Roger Martin's The Opposable Mind: How Successful Leaders Win Through Integrative Thinking. ) Optimism.They assume that no matter how challenging the constraints of a given problem, at least one potential solution is better than the existing alternatives. Experimentalism. Significant innovations don't come from incremental tweaks.

Design thinkers pose questions and explore constraints in creative ways that proceed in entirely new directions. Collaboration. The increasing complexity of products, services, and experiences has replaced the myth of the lone creative genius with the laity of the enthusiastic interdisciplinary collaborator.The best design thinkers don't simply work alongside other disciplines; many of them have significant experience in more than one.

At IDÉE we employ people who are engineers and marketers, anthropologists and industrial designers, architects and psychologists. Different in every hospital, ranging from recorded dictation to face-to-face conversations. And they compiled the information they needed to serve patients in a variety of ways - scrawling quick notes on the back of any available scrap of paper, for example, or even on their scrubs.Despite a significant investment of time, the nurses often failed to learn some of the things that mattered most to patients, such as how they had fared during the previous shift, which family members were with them, and whether or not certain tests or therapies had been administered. For many patients, the team learned, each shift change felt like a hole in their care. Using the innovation teams explored potential solutions through brainstorming and rapid prototyping.

(Prototypes of a service innovation will of course not be physical, but they must be tangible.Because pictures help us understand what is learned through prototyping, we often videotape the performance of prototyped services, as we did at Kaiser. ) Prototyping doesn't have to be complex and expensive. In another health care project, IDÉE helped a group of surgeons develop a new device for sinus surgery. As the surgeons described the ideal physical characteristics of the instrument, one of the designers grabbed a whiteboard marker, a film canister, and a clothespin and taped them together.

"Do you mean like this? " he asked.With his rudimentary prototype in hand, the surgeons were able to be much ore precise about what the ultimate design should accomplish. Prototypes should command only as much time, effort, and investment as are needed to generate useful feedback and evolve an idea. The more "finished" a prototype seems, the less likely its creators will be to pay attention to and profit from feedback. The goal of prototyping isn't to finish.

It is to learn about the strengths and weaknesses of the idea and to identify new directions that further prototypes might take.The design that emerged for shift changes had nurses passing on information in iron of the patient rather than at the nurses' station. In only a week the team built a working prototype that included new procedures and some simple software with which nurses could call up previous shift-change notes and add new ones. They could input patient information throughout a shift rather than scrambling at the end to pass it on.

The software collated the data in a simple format customized for each nurse at the start of a shift.The result was both higher-quality knowledge transfer and reduced prep time, permitting much earlier and better-informed contact with patients. As Kaiser measured the impact of this change over time, it learned that the mean interval between a nurse's arrival and first interaction with a patient had been more than halved, adding a huge amount of nursing time across the four hospitals. Perhaps Just as important was the effect on the quality of the nurses' work experience. One nurse commented, "I'm an hour ahead, and Vive only been here 45 minutes.

" Another 1237 Brown. And 87 Harvard Business Review 87 5/1/08 8:45:32 PM Im p said, "[This is the] first time Vive ever made it out of here at the end of my shift. " Thus did a group of nurses significantly improve their patients' experience while also improving their own Job satisfaction and productivity. By applying a human-centered design methodology, they were able to create a relatively small process innovation that produced an outsize impact. The new shift changes are being rolled out across the Kaiser system, and the capacity to reliably record critical patient information is being integrated into an electronic medical records initiative at the company.What might happen at Kaiser if every nurse, doctor, and administrator in every capital felt empowered to tackle problems the way this group did? To find out, Kaiser has created the Garfield Innovation Center, which is run by Kaiser's original core team and acts as a consultancy to the entire organization.

The center's mission is to pursue innovation that enhances the patient experience and, more broadly, to envision Kaiser's "hospital of the future. " It is introducing tools for design thinking across the Kaiser system. How Design Thinking Happens The myth of creative genius is resilient: We believe that great ideas pop fully formed out of brilliant minds, in feats of imagination well beyond the abilities of mere mortals. But what the Kaiser nursing team accomplished was neither a sudden breakthrough nor the lightning strike of genius; it was the result of hard work augmented by a creative human-centered discovery process and followed by iterative cycles of prototyping, testing, and refinement.The design process is best described metaphorically as a system of spaces rather related activities that together form the continuum of innovation.

Design thinking can feel chaotic to those experiencing it for the first time. But over the life of a project participants come to e - as they did at Kaiser - that the process makes sense and achieves results, even though its architecture differs from the linear, milestone-based processes typical of other kinds of business activities. Design projects must ultimately pass through three spaces (see the exhibit at right).We label these "inspiration," for the circumstances (be they a problem, an opportunity, or both) that motivate the search for solutions; "ideation," for the pro- 88 Harvard Business Review 1237 Brown. Tend 88 TA Move on to the next project - repeat Make the case to the business - spread the word Help marketing Sign a communication strategy Execute the Vision Prototype some more, test with users, test internally Communicate internally - don't work in the dark! Tell more stories (they keep ideas alive) Prototype, test, prototype, test..

.Apply integrative thinking Put customers in the midst of everything; describe their journeys Build creative frameworks (order out of chaos) Make many sketches, concoct scenarios I De 2 Brainstorm action 5/1/08 8:45:37 PM Inns irate aces of generating, developing, and testing ideas that may will loop back through these spaces - particularly the first two - more than once as ideas are refined and new directions taken. Expect Success Sometimes the trigger for a project is leadership's recognizable implementation Zion of a serious change in business fortunes.In 2004 Shipman, resources into your plan a Japanese manufacturer of bicycle components, faced flattening growth in its traditional high-end road-racing and mountain-bike segments in the United States.

The combat's the business probably had always relied on technology innovations elm? Where's the Porto drive its growth and naturally tried to predict tuning? What has changed where the next one might come from. This time (or soon may change)? Shipman thought a high-end casual bike that appealed to boomers would be an interesting area Look at the world: to explore.IDÉE was invited to collaborate on Observe what people do, the project. How they think, what they During the inspiration phase, an interned and want disciplinary team of IDÉE and Shipman people - designers, behavioral scientists, marketers, and engineers - worked to What are the business convolve many disciplines identify appropriate constraints for the strains (time, lack of resources, from the start (e. G.

, incorrect. The team began with a hunch impoverished customer base, unerring & marketing) shrinking market)?