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Design Thinking and Process – Is It In You? (1 of 2)

Continuing a bit on my recent Design meme; I talk about the current relevance of design thinking, and the impact it can have on change management – but if it feels a bit foreign, how can you tell if you have it in you?

Do You Think Visually?

Interesting how Design always seems to have a strong visual component, even though functional design (like my data warehouse or the structure of my house) is not directly visible. Still, I thought Chuck Frey‘s post from last February is an interesting 10-part test, looking for some hints of visual thinkers. If you think beyond the simple yes-and-no questions, your feelings and interests in these areas could indicate latent design tendencies …

  • In the last month, have you drawn a diagram to explain something to someone?
  • In the last week have you drawn a diagram to help yourself understand or remember something?
  • Have you visited two or more art galleries or museums in the last 6 months?
  • Do you like to study maps of places before you visit them?
  • Can you visualize what a landscape might be like by looking at the contour lines on a map?
  • Did you like geometry at school?
  • Do you enjoy manipulating your digital photographs? For example, do you crop and edit them to improve the images?
  • Can you use the 2D engineering drawings of an object or the 2D architectural plans for a building to visualize what the object or building might look like?
  • Have you worked on a jigsaw puzzle in the last year?
  • Do you use mind maps to record and remember things?

Can You Appreciate Good Design When You See It?

From the always excellent FlowingData, an introduction to the talents of Cristobal Vila, who created this tremendous, design-sensitive walkthrough of Frank Lloyd Wrights FallingWater …


… and, if you like to see mathematics in nature, this little number (sic)


… I think should appeal to the techie/ programmer in you – the hidden order in the chaos of nature.

Need to Get some Peer Feedback?

Brian Hoff‘s site, The Design Cubicle is a terrific source for design ideas and thinking – and this past spring, pointed me to the American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA) site, which has started an area on their site where young designers are offering up advice for their peers, “seeking to develop a competitive advantage in the workplace”. Articles like Follow your passion and be the best at your craft, See no boundaries, and Work smart and prepare for a changing practice are good food for thought for any age.

Suspend your disbelief for just a moment, and explore a bit of your Design side. It can free up your thinking as you design systems, reports, transactions …

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