Learn Design Thinking, Facilitation, and Futurecasting Online, On Your Own Time

I recently returned from the CreativeLive studios in Seattle, where we produced three online classes on Design Thinking for innovation, facilitationfor Design Thinking, and Futurecasting.

The three classes are rebroadcasting for FREE on CreativeLive this week, and are also currently available for purchase to view on-demand or download. Check out the course descriptions below or on my CreativeLive profile.

1. Design Thinking for Business Innovation

 How To Use Design Thinking To Transform Your Business

You know that one of the top trends in business innovation these days is design thinking. Only problem is, you’re not quite sure what it is. You’ve heard it described in a bunch of different ways, and you’re starting to wonder if no one else understands it either.

But the truth is, design thinking is one of the most effective new methods and mindsets for framing and solving problems. Top businesses, organizations, consultancies, schools and governments are adopting it as a way to innovate their processes and service offerings, using human empathy, design principles, action-oriented solutions, imagination, intuition and systematic reasoning.

Learn more about Design Thinking for Business Innovation>>

2. Become a Design Thinking Facilitator

 Take Design Thinking To The Next Level By Leading Your Team

So you’ve done your homework and you now understand what design thinking is and the power it has to revolutionize the way you do business. But the only way it can really have an impact is if key players throughout your organization embrace design thinking principles and are willing to put them into practice.

Basically, you need to become a design thinking evangelist, coach and trainer. This course will instruct you on how to explain the method and mindset for creative problem framing and solving and show others how to implement this innovative process.

Learn more about Become a Design Thinking Facilitator>>

3. Futurecasting for Product Innovation

Ensure Your Organization’s Relevance And Sustainability

We live in a rapidly changing world, and that includes the world of business. To be successful, companies have to develop products and services that not only address the needs of today, but anticipate the needs of tomorrow. That’s why futurecasting is so important.

While no one can see the future, we can model and rehearse potential futures, which is what futurecasting is all about. This essential tool for design innovation and business strategy helps us imagine what the future might be so we can create a long-term vision and make it a reality.

Using techniques adapted from the military, global corporations and top design schools, this course will help you map out the best- and worst-case scenarios of the future and prepare for them.

Learn more about Futurecasting for Product Innovation>>

Innovation Dynamics: Quick-Start Guide + Online Course

Foossa’s recent design collaboration with GreenHouse is now available on Amazon. Shout out to SVA Design for Social Innovation grads Martha Berry and Anna Luiza Braga for the additional design support.

How does NASA get its mojo back? What do big cities do with selfish billionaires? What’s wrong with art education? How are inner city youth the answer to urban renewal? What does the military have to do with the arts?

Innovation Dynamics is the first systematic approach to real social innovation and solving people-problems. Purchase includes a beautifully-designed, printed quick-start guide and 90-days of online access to The Short Course on Innovation Dynamics at The Academy for Social Change. The online course includes brief, animated instructional videos and an interactive workbook that can be printed for collaboration in teams. Buyers receive one unique access code to the online course with each printed guide.

The quick-start guide and multimedia introduction were developed by founders of GreenHouse, Insight Labs and UX for Good and innovators in residence at the University of Southern California. It emerged from years of work in the U.S., Europe and Africa with organizations like the U.S. State Department, NASA, Harvard Medical School, Starbucks, the Dalai Lama Center and the TED Conferences.

Users will learn how to:

  • Break problems down into their most essential parts
  • Reconcile various stories behind problems
  • Uncover hidden relationships among problems
  • See invisible rules that guide relationships and social systems
  • Leverage expectations to solve problems
  • Engineer deviance to disrupt the invisible rules

Innovation Dynamics was developed in consultation with social scientists and is a core element of the first-ever doctorate in social innovation.

DoTank: Building Bridges & Breaking Down Barriers Through Design

I’m one of the instructors for the upcoming miLES Do Tank (details below). Our teaching client is the Tenement Museum and the theme is “borders, migration, and immigration.” Applications for students are now open. Thanks in advance for helping to spread the word.


 

image00

The miLES Do Tank is an action-oriented design thinking course, tied to a challenge to translate learnings into local impact. In collaboration with Foossa, Makeshift, NYU Design for America, and Tenement Museum, the Do Tank cultivates a group of people with varied skillsets to work together on a real-world issue, from collaborative ideation to collaborative creation. This 14-weeks program for young professionals and graduate students is facilitated by experts from Foossa, IDEO, Makeshift, NYU Design for America, miLES and more.

For Spring 2016, the theme of the Do Tank is “Borders, migration, immigration”. Around the world, and right here in NYC, a city shaped by people from every corner of the globe, lines continue to be drawn between “us” and “them,” even when “they” are part of “us”. How can we create an inclusive community that recognizes and appreciates the stories and contributions of our neighbors, regardless of where they come from? How can we encourage inclusive communities? The primary challenge is :

“How might we break down boundaries and foster connection?”

Together with our beneficiary, the Tenement Museum, we invite you to rally your community of Creatives, Strategists, Designers of all stripes (UX, graphic, etc.), Social Innovators, Community Activists, and Immigration Experts to collectively learn the tools and methods needed to prototype and co-create a solution with a local impact.

Only limited spots and need-based scholarship available:

LEARN MORE / APPLY HERE

Please choose “Foossa” in the “referred by” field if you apply.

6 Essential Skills for Design & Social Innovation

Students and job seekers frequently ask me about the skills that they need to succeed at Foossa, the community-centered design and strategy consultancy that I cofounded, or in a related career path. I came up with this list as a starting point for anyone interested in using design as a tool for social innovation.

1. Write Well

Being a strong writer goes a long way. Clear writing signals that you can think clearly and communicate effectively.

Craft compelling stories. Appeal to the heart and to the head. Be persuasive. Be concise. Be memorable. 

2. Prototype 

Prototyping could mean making something out of popsicle sticks and pipe cleaners to coding the minimum viable version of an app. You don’t necessary need high tech prototyping skills, but you do have a bias toward action.

You learn by doing. You learn by making. You prototype to learn. You can think visually and sketch out maps, diagrams, and charts to help inform your thinking. Your sketches could be doodles on Post-Its rather than museum-worthy masterpieces, although strong drawing skills are certainly a plus.

3. Code Switch

You speak the language of business. You speak the language of your clients and of your customers. You speak the language of social innovation. You understand how to define a theory of change.

You know how to reinterpret a creative brief to get down to the essence of what the needs really are.

You can get by in the language of designers and technologists enough to be able to collaborate with them effectively and to manage multi-disciplinary teams. You understand the basics of visual language, from hierarchy to typography. Bonus points if you can code in a programming language.

4. Make Stuff Happen

You know how to manage projects from inspiration to implementation. You break down difficult and complex tasks into manageable steps. You find the courage to put stuff out in the world to see what happens. You iterate until you get it right. Then you iterate some more.

You make community happen. Bring people together and get them involved in collaboration and co-creation. This could mean hosting an event, facilitating  a meeting/workshop, or community-managing an online discussion forum. 

5. Give and Receive Feedback

You know how to conduct a design critique. Help your teammates improve by giving critical insights and new perspectives into their work. You can give and get feedback without making it personal.

You make it about the creative brief and shared goals rather than just your personal opinions and preferences.

You learn how to filter the feedback that you get into “advice to implement” and “advice to take with a grain of salt.”

6. Document, Document, Document

My professors really drove this point home in my masters program. Make sure you document your work, whether it is through blogging, journaling, photos, videos, or a combination of the above. You will need it one day in the future, whether it is for a portfolio or for another project. Pictures, or it didn’t really happen.

This list is a work in progress. What skills would you add? Let me know in the comments.

P.S. If you are considering grad school to help you acquire some of theses skills, check out the MFA Design for Social Innovation program at the School of Visual Arts in New York City. I teach there.