How do you navigate change? That’s the question I set out to ask in 2019 while working on my dissertation at the University of Southern California. What I didn’t realize is just how much would change in 2020.
In Season 1 we explored, “What is design thinking?” The guests all shared how they believed design was about finding and solving problems. Design thinking provides a framework, where the methods and strategies vary, it helps everyone develop a mindset to navigate change with agility.
What drew me to design thinking and what I believe makes it unique is that it begins with empathy. My professional and personal experiences in the past decade have taught me the greatest lesson – cultures of innovation begin with a culture of empathy because when we begin with empathy what we think is challenged by what we learn. This is what allows us to ask the right questions in the service of those who we are designing for and with so that we can have outcomes that create the change we wish to see.
The past few months have challenged almost every facet of what we used to think and know. We’re reevaluating our workplaces, we’re reflecting on our values, who we are and who we want to become both as individuals and as a society, we’re reflecting on our personal lives and family, we’re asking how and where we want to spend our time and much more.
Despite the different questions and challenges we are dealing with, the one thing we all share in common perhaps is that it feels like we are starting from scratch.
In Season 2 of the podcast we’re talking with leaders and researchers about how to tackle these challenges by using design thinking to have conversations that lead to action, starting with what we know are important foundations for change to thrive such as vision, culture, trust, psychological safety, advocacy, leadership and social influence and more.
In 2014, when Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee wrote The Second Machine Age they said, “While the dynamics of today’s world have the potential to create enormous prosperity, the challenge to societies, particularly businesses, governments and education systems, will be to create access to opportunities that will allow everyone to share in the prosperity. There has never been a time of greater promise or of greater peril they say, however it will require a shared sense of destiny and as Brynjolfsson says, “technology doesn’t shape our destiny, we shape our destiny.”
In the Second Machine Age the authors go on to say that failure by organizations to prepare and adapt could cause inequality and fragment societies. Covid-19 was perhaps our first collective global experience about what that actually feels like and that leaders who have a shared sense of destiny can be the difference that makes a difference.
In Season 2 we’re asking, “How might we shape our destiny in The Second Machine Age. A destiny where everyone can share in the prosperity by having the knowledge, skills and mindsets to innovate, create new products, services and business models so that they can thrive in future workplaces and as global citizens.”
This isn’t just an economic challenge, it’s a human challenge and in Season 2 I’m looking forward to exploring this question with together with you.
I believe that the future should be designed. Not left to chance.
Over the past decade, using design thinking practices I've helped schools and businesses create a culture of innovation where everyone is empowered to move from idea to impact, to address complex challenges and discover opportunities.