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How can I start the Design Think way?

Design Think is simple. It is the art of being creative in finding new solutions to problems that generally are solved in a normal way. We can take it one step further and apply it to a problem that has not been dealt with yet and needs a creative solution.  Big corporations spend time and money in creating solutions on a big scale.  So the question you should be asking yourself is why can’t I? Simply put, all you need is to think how have people approached this problem before and how can I do it better? Tweaking your thought process is the hard part but it gets easier as you practice.

If your mind set is in the norm, it is time to think big, bold and borderline irrational. Thinking big can help creativity skyrocket.  Introducing realism into the group of thoughts will help you bring them back to real world scenarios and streamline yourself to a workable solution! Take the workable solution and find technology and partnerships that can help streamline your business to provide your customers what they need and in turn solidifying your business is operating at an optimum.

When looking at clients that have requested Design Think, the first step is to analyze what is the current problem and the procedure associated with it.  The next step is to talk to everyone directly involved.  Again this means EVERYONE and not just management. Your company is a team that includes the front line and most importantly your customers are part of it. With social media growing at an astonishing rate, talking to your customers has never been easier.  Being that they are not face to face, ugly truths are easier to be divulged.  They will tell you what needs to be changed. The problem then becomes the how… that may just be the easy part!

The NIKOS: the third person approach!

Are you a regretful person? Do you regret a lot of things you do? Sometimes they torture you? Pardon the French but do you ever say to yourself: “#@!? was I thinking?”

I used to! I think everyone does. Don’t have stats on it but I am pretty sure everyone I talk to has had that moment and if you haven’t, come for a coffee and quick chat and I will make sure you say it… the question is why? Why do we get into these situations?

Simple: it’s the EMOTION!

Your emotion controls many decisions in a given day. From what you wear to what you do, where you go, how you say things, what you say, and so on. Emotions guide us and if you read up on the brain, emotion is a part of our decision making process.

So what’s the cure? Well there is no cure but we can create a behavioral process to lower the average amount of times you get into a regretful situation. How you ask?

Simple: Talk in third person!

Nikos is the best! Nikos rocks! Nikos, Nikos, Nikos… NO!  I don’t mean this!

Third person approach is much different. It is an art that is developed over time! You must take your time learning the technique. You put yourself in a baby step learning process.

The third person approach works like a charm when engaged in any situation where a decision will be made and emotion is part of it.

Examples include, should I buy something? Should I go to sleep? Should I do my homework? Should I spend time with a person I don’t like? Should I be getting advice? Should I, Should I, Should I…

When making critical decisions to problems, I use this process (replace with your name):

  1. Calm yourself down with a coffee or something that relaxes you
  2. Analyze the problem analytically
  3. Calm yourself down again by forgetting the problem
  4. Create the options that exist to the decisions
  5. Say:  What is the best decision here for Nikos? Nikos, it is best for you to… because… and you will not regret it for the following reasons, Etc.
  6. Write it down to have the why of your decision handy
  7. Remind yourself that you made the decision for the reasons…..
  8. DONE!

Try this for a few months… it will be hard but the advantages will change your mood. You will be happier in every decision you make. You will become a decision making GURU…

How did I come about this?

When running your own business situations come up where you need to make a critical decision. Sometimes you can get advice and sometimes you can’t. This process came about when I thought to myself, WHAT WOULD I RECOMMEND TO A CLIENT?

Magically the decision to use third person was an excellent choice… Simply put, AWESOME!

Believe me … or DON’T

I am running a marathon… or at least I think.. last few months now… is it will or hope? The question I often ask myself!

I am actually running a marathon in the arctic, barefoot and shirtless?  When starting a new venture you analyze all and take risks… risks I took.

Small business is all about risk. Whether you quit your job to start a venture… or you build on it over time… to take the plunge, one thing is for certain… you made a choice and now you need to keep going!

The usual trip of an entrepreneur starts with a dream. Starts with a dream that aims to make things better! As things progress, one begins to think that all is good and success is on the way. As the wheal starts to role, one begins to gain great confidence only to be shut down with reality a short while later.

What happens? What turns the tide from happiness to disparity?

Reality! Yes, reality hits and we realize that the business world was not as we thought it would be. All the sudden success isn’t as promised (as we thought) nor as we expected.  We are now chasing a dream and not a goal. The key word here is goal. People get stuck in an adventure hoping that all goes well but when do we know to go on or quit?

I like to think that this is the point we start analyzing where we are at. Can we figure it out or do we need help? Can we keep going or should we quit? The questions are there but do we have an answer…

The point that we need is to stop and think, and say yes, we need a break from reality, we need a break from fakeness… we need a chance at a new beginning.  This is the point where we stop, no thinking, not actions, just being still.

Stillness is the key to my success. I absorb all my emotions (negative and positive) and allow them to settle down. Usually this is during my coffee break! I create a mind map of things that need to be done to change the tide and jump on the first idea that I think will bring me success.

Why does it work for me?

It works for one reason… when you have no emotion in an idea you have no biased opinion… you are using your mind, your knowledge and experience.

My next article will be all about my “NIKOS strategy”; the third person approach! Conveniently the cure to regret!

Design Think Explosion? Why Now?

Several factors can contribute to the reason as to why Design Think is being use now.  Technology and competition are probably the two biggest contributors.  As technology evolves so does communication.  Innovation in fundamentals breed growth and prosperity for companies and creative means is the key to this success.  Big companies like Apple, RIM, Proctor and Gamble etc. have relied on this design think to grow their companies and be competitive leaders. So, why now?

Firstly, direct results have been achieved as businesses increase outsourcing to third parties.  Businesses are turning their production to project based methodologies.  This project based methodology has allowed companies to shrink problems into workable dilemmas where companies can think creatively and find a workable solution.

Secondly, design think has increased with the growth of social media; word of mouth has evolved to exponential growth on steroids.  A customer can complain and in a matter of days sales have significantly dropped. On the other hand a customer can make a recommendation and sales increase.

Design Think can take both of these cases and work backwards to find a workable solution in real time; breeding innovation with a small turnaround time. Let’s not be discouraged.  Design think can be attractable not only to big business but small business too.