Tuesday, October 9, 2012

What’s what and how can we use it? There are many structures, processes and resources to support social innovation and these are innovations themselves. They are changing the way we work and bringing in ideas across boundaries. With the emergence of labs, design labs, hubs, accelerators and incubators and change labs there is a whole new set of values and a new shared language for our collaborative efforts to make the world a better place. Amongst others, the Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF) acts as a catalyst for transformational systems change. By funding early stage prototyping of new models in education, human and social services, arts and culture, the environment – OTF is investing in the future of vibrant, healthy, sustainable communities. Successful examples that have scaled include Pathways to Education and Foodshare Field to Table Schools. Early development models include the School for Social Entrepreneurs Ontario (SSE-O), which is being incubated as a social franchise by a collaborative that includes my organization - Social Innovation Partnerships at HSC, MaRS, ACCESS Community Capital and the Centre for Community Learning & Development. The Design Brief as a Tool Look at the problem by asking co-initiating questions that keep the balance of the wicked question (horns of the dilemma) (Giddens, 1984) and the inherent tension (Turner) and then walk through:

Ongoing constraints and prototyping, testing, and evaluating to redesign and truly designing for the end user takes something from problem to idea to “making hope visible”. (Brown, 2009) This approach focuses our challenge – to generate sustainable, replicable models for social innovation that have desirability and opportunity to scale by connecting systems, while pushing against stupid rules to fill gaps and formulate recommendations for broad policy change and develop better processes and products.. What I love about design thinking is it offers a framework to see problems from different perspectives and through different lenses. It values a process rather than an endgame. It is the way to truly discover that what we think is the problem is really just the first iteration. It is never done and neither are we. The connection to nature as the ultimate design template and recognition of patterns as part of the ideation phase is key. As Tim Brown points out “the only thing that is not designed is nature. Everything else is designed for form and function. It’s often just a matter of how long we put up with things.” (Brown, 2009) Rules of Engagement

 

Don’t move to solution thinking 90% of the time is focused on confirming the problem by using the goal, constraints, criteria, issues, stakeholder objectives and cycling from divergent to convergent inside the problem definition

         

There is nothing as dangerous as a good idea In brainstorming – quantity trumps quality, defer judgment, encourage wild ideas, build on the ideas of others, stay focused Ask stupid questions Jump fences Make hope visible Prototype Deconstruct Rebuild You can observe lots by watching In theory there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice there is. Knowing is not enough, you must do!!

(Berger, 2009) (Jernigan, 2011) Conclusion If you are as excited as I am about taking on massive social challenges, I urge you – let go of the limits that keep us stuck – engage the end user at the beginning of your design, ask endless “stupid questions” and begin to view every problem as an opportunity to do it differently. Take risks, celebrate failure as an important step along the way and collaborate across boundaries to make the world a better place.