The Thinking Room Journey
A common approach
Our approach goes from the ‘what’ to the ‘how’. Regardless of the size or complexity of the challenge or problem we use four distinct stages to bring new ideas to life. The picture below shows the four stages mapped within two diamonds. Diamond one starts with discover and define. Diamond two includes develop and deliver.
This process has been benchmarked internationally by the Design Council across the public and private sector as a common innovation methodology in a range of organisations from Starbucks to Sony. We have been focusing our thinking around collaborative approaches, codesign, co-development and co-production – and we have lots of tools for making these kind of activities work and ‘stick’.
Further information on the four stages of Thinking Room are:
Discover the challenge
The opportunities for change are endless. Can we expect to achieve the right solution if we haven’t stopped to ask the right question? Too often we race to the answer by defining a solution based on our personal, expert or anecdotal experience. The purpose of this initial step is to invite and encourage constructive challenge, to set the creative direction and to bring in new perspectives. Its about learning together in order to build a picture based on real world insights.
What is it?
This stage is about understanding the issue and gathering data, both qualitative and quantitative to better understand the current picture and need for change. This means creating an initial understanding of the nature of the challenge and building advocacy and engagement with the issues. It is more than research, it should look at best practices elsewhere. This includes bringing together new policies and much, much more in order to explore early scenarios. Tools and techniques in this stage provide the opportunity to fully engage with all interested parties.
Define the idea
After fully understanding the question, and the potential areas for further development with a wide range of stakeholders, it is important to define a direction. The crystallisation of ideas generated in the earlier discover phase is crucial to obtain resources to make the good idea happen.
What is it?
This stage involves coming up with ideas and planning the execution of the strategy. Co-design can be undertaken with end users so they ‘own’ the
solutions. Defining the solution will include describing the activities that you plan to undertake, the eventual outcomes and benefits expected and the time, cost
and quality within which they will be delivered. This stage may conclude with completion of a business case and leadership sign off.
Develop the change
In order to maximise the chances of success, the change must be well managed. Before this can happen, the idea needs to be developed into an understood and manageable change. In the previous stage ideas were defined, this is the stage to develop those ideas into deliverable pieces of change. Having obtained support for the idea it is likely that at this point there is momentum behind the change
developing into a reality.
What is it?
Whatever the change, it is likely to need the collective effort of several different disciplines to carry out. This is the stage to fully engage and commission those
disciplines to help make your good idea happen. In doing this you will further define the scope, understand the constraints and continue to develop your
understanding of the change.
Painting the picture from the plan. At this point, you understand the change, the rationale and the stakeholders. However a series of potentially complex tasks need to be coordinated and dependencies understood before the solution is delivered. This is where project management tools can help.
What is it?
The appropriate use of well understood control methods enables effective communication, with all parties understanding the role they play in the end solution. If the unexpected happens, managing the evolution of ideas through this phase will be critical to limit ‘scope creep’ and deliver what was envisaged. At this point specific mechanisms to understand benefit realisation need to be implemented to ensure project success.