A journey through design thinking..

Over the last couple years I have being considering design in terms of my startup Professional You.  We are working on something that will have a large amount of complex data in our system and that needs to be easy to access and manipulate.

In my life, design started with Technical drawing at school as child.  It than evolved in basic computer games later at school. However it was PageMaker and Quark Xpress both in their first versions that got me really into thinking about what I was creating and the process.  I still have this amazing book called ‘One Minute Designer’ by Roger C. Parker that was an amazing help to get me started. This lead me to training professional typesetters how to use the first Desktop Publishing software.

Later in life I took on a computer science degree and studied system design and UX at University which helped me to understand some more of the language and concepts. During my placement year I created with a partner a business to help businesses upgrade their paper based systems to electronic ones particularly Finance and Admin systems.  It taught me a lot about change management and the direct impact on people that systems have, thus my design and process became very people aware.

So back to the present, 19 years of marketing later…To help me with startup, which I can visualize entirely in my head I decided to absorbed some books:

  1. Head First Web Design – Ethan Watrall
  2. Design Interfaces – Jenifer Tidwell
  3. Universal Principles of Design – William Lidwell
  4. Designing Web Navigation – James Kalbach
During this part of the journey I bumped into an amazing book which takes rational concepts and made them very visually meaningful. It taught me how powerful effective design can be.
  • Business Model Generation – Alexander Osterwalder
Yet still my greatest frustration was now I understood the concepts but could not actually create them.  So I took an Introduction to Drawing course at (VanArts) and I learnt a lot with many of the Betty Edward books supporting my class learning.
  1. The new Drawing on the right side of the brain - Betty Edward
  2. Color - Betty Edward
  3. Basic Perspective Drawing – John Montague
Yet this still was not enough, I want to CREATE!  So off to college I go again this time BCIT to refresh my software coding skills. Completing my first course with 98.5% grade.  I loved it (you can tell by the grade) because it was leading me down a path where I could create :-)
Ok so that is the introduction!  What got really thinking was a linkedin group I joined called Design Thinking and a conference they held recently in Vancouver, BC. The conference was really something, which I have yet to fully process.  But it was very good and had a lot of interesting people.   Somehow I ended up running a session on what should a Design Thinking Manifesto look like, my initial concept came from the Agile Thinking Manifesto.
We in the session revealed the values and the principles that should be a part of it.. Come join the discussion on the linkedin group and you can see the work we created here.
What I have learned from this journey so far:
  1. Is that there is value in iteration and striving for perfection can lead you down a rabbit hole
  2. Practice, practice, practice
  3. Working and playing with good people refreshes the souls and is fun
  4. Combining the words design and thinking implies there is a process that it is more than just intuition.
  5. Good design thinking involves engaging both the rational and the emotional parts of your mind.
  6. That you need to be able to take criticism and other points of view.
  7. That you have to have some part of you that enjoys turning chaos into order
  8. That your audience may not think and feel as you do
  9. That you should never stay still and need to bounce between what is safe and what makes you sacred
  10. That there needs to be story behind it a consistency of your journey
  11. That ‘pure’ design is elegant and more often occurs in nature than in human creation
  12. Simplicity and complexity can both be beautiful
  13. That whilst we admire perfection we don’t trust it
  14. Engage the users early and often
 There are more books involved in this journey which can be found here.
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About Eric Brooke

I’m deeply curious, love to learn, insightful about people and their psychological makeup, deft at communication, excel at networking, deeply tech-savvy and relish growing others through education and leadership. I am a developer, marketeer, gamer, lover of water slides and ice cream :-)

Posted on 22 August , 2011, in Change Management, Design, Future and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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