Defining and developing your product can feel like an elusive task. But it doesn’t have to.
How to Use the LUMA System of Innovation for Everyday Design Thinking
Around the world, people are recognizing the value of design thinking for more than just products and services. Yet many organizations have a hard time scaling the methods company-wide, causing innovation to suffer.
Enter the LUMA Institute, which empowers people and companies to innovate through what they call the LUMA System of Innovation. The series of methods, 36 in all, were hand-picked by LUMA out of thousands to be the most effective. Better yet, their applications cover a wide range of situations.
As CEO and Founder Chris Pacione, who recently joined us for an exclusive webinar, put it, “Design is not a process. It is a discipline that underpins your process.” During the session, he discussed why Design Thinking is so popular, what it is and how everyone can use the methods to find solutions for their everyday challenges.
For more details, watch the full session, download the presentation, or read on to see the full transcript. Plus get the Q&A from the session. How to Use Design Thinking Methods for Everyday Innovation
According to Chris, there are more than 1,000 design innovation methods. Through research, LUMA has narrowed their System of Innovation to 36 methods, organized into nine categories and three practices. Each method falls into a bucket of Looking, Understanding or Making.
Chris refers to them as “Design Thinking's equivalent to the periodic table; elemental methods which can be combined in thousands of different ways to tackle just about any work challenge the universe can throw at you.” How? Well, Chris covered a series of practical examples, including how to :
- Conduct a Contextual Inquiry to observe key stakeholders and gain empathy
- Codify your field research data using Rose, Thorn, Bud
- Share observations and reveal insights through Affinity Clustering
- Translate insights into worthy opportunity statements using Statement Starters
- Align on the most significant opportunities using Visualize the Vote
- Generating new ideas with remote teams using a Creative Matrix
- Prioritize the most promising ideas with the Importance/Difficulty Matrix
In the end, any of the methods could be combined to help anyone become better, more innovative problem solvers among teams that deliver more impactful solutions.
Read on for the full transcript.
Good morning and good afternoon everyone. Welcome to the webinar Today. I'm very happy to have Chris Pacione, CEO at LUMA Institute. And LUMA empowers people to innovate by transforming the way they work, and leading organizations like AutoDesk and Genpact use their system to scale their approach to Design Thinking. We have had great success with them with MURAL, and don't take my word for it. Harvard Business Review call them the "taxonomy of innovation" and those are big words but it's a really simple method and it's not one method but a system that you can use for your everyday work. So before I switch to Chris, who will walk us through what's in their vision and how they work, please remember to add your questions in a Q&A section of the webinar software and I'll be picking some questions and asking Chris after he's done his presentation. So Chris welcome. Thank you for your time. And please take it away.
Hey thanks for the introduction, Mariano. And of course the invitation to present today. Hello, everyone. It's a pleasure to be here. So as most of you know people and organizations around the world have recognized the value of design thinking to really multiple facets of their business. Yet many struggle with exactly how to successfully integrate design thinking into their everyday working culture.
So what I want to share with you today is our system of central design thinking methods, what we call the LUMA System of Innovation in some practical examples of how these methods can be combined into what we call recipes to help you tackle everyday challenges.
Before we dig in, I just wanted to review the objectives of this session and acknowledge that we actually have a lot of different people listening in today. For those of you out there that are new to design thinking: welcome. I hope that- my hope is that you walk away from today's session with a better understanding of what design thinking is and some grounded approaches for how to apply it to your everyday work. I also want to acknowledge any grizzled veterans, experts and educators of design on the call today. Glad to have you as well. My hope is that you'll find what I have to share today helpful in your efforts to collaborate with your clients and do your best work. And finally, I want to welcome any leaders that happen to be listening in today who may be interested to learning more about scaling the design thinking movement within your organization. My hope is that you walk away from those session with a clearer sense of how to integrate design thinking into all of your work culture. So with that, let's dig in.
I think it's important to spend the first few minutes speaking to the present day-conditions driving this design thinking movement. Many of you already know what these are but I suspect some listening in today may not. And it's important to acknowledge what is fueling all the hype about design thinking because I think it gives us a greater appreciation for its purpose. Now as many of you know, innovation is an imperative. Right? According to the Boston Consulting Group and the New York Times and some other studies, you know 75 percent of CEOs rank innovation among their companies top three strategic priorities. But what you may not know is that most organizations do not feel their companies have mastered the elements needed to innovate successfully. For many organizations, innovation is a struggle. But the interesting question is why. I mean after all innovation is nothing new. It's served as the spark for economic and societal advancements since the time of the Sumerians. Right? And the 20th century was chock-full of innovation. Thousands of organizations around the world got to where they are today through ingenuity.
So what's the problem? What's going on?
Well innovation comes from the 15th century Latin "Innovare", which simply means to make new again, or in other words to renew. And what is different today is the speed at which and the extent to which organizations need to renew themselves.
The problem isn't that organizations can't innovate or don't know how to innovate, it's they can't do it fast enough or don't know how to do it at scale. You know, we live in a world where organizations need to excel at renewal in order to keep up with the pace of change and disruption really coming at them from all sides, you know. Not just its products and services but its processes, its operating models, its policies, its programs, its marketing strategies all need to be in a constant state of renewal just to remain relevant. Not to mention best in class. Right? Innovation used to be a specialty. Today it's becoming the job of everyone, and this transition for organizations is easier said than done.
Now one reason is because many of the key innovative behaviors that make up an innovative work culture are new to people. You know, numerous books, like Clayton Christensen's Innovator's DNA, outline what innovative behaviors look like. That innovators are problem-framers, they're empathetic, their visual and imaginative, their .iterative and collaborative. The problem is most people were never formally taught how to work in these ways. We can ask our employees to be innovative and even make it a strategic edict. But unless people have a chance to learn and practice these innovation behaviors they're just not likely to materialize.
And, interesting, the other thing that makes innovation so difficult to accelerate is because these are new modes of work that, in many cases, are replacing long-held beliefs about work itself. Beliefs, in my view, that made perfect sense a few decades ago. For example, what makes it harder for people to be good problem-framers and innovate is the perseverance, if you will, of an ethos that still exists in many organizations today; that does not encourage people to question the question but rather to execute what leadership tells them to do. This mindset made perfect sense in the 20th century economy. But the times have changed. You know, likewise, what makes it difficult for organizations to deeply get good at understanding the needs and latent needs and desires of their customers and its constituents is the tenacity of practices that prioritize the needs of the business over the needs of the businesses stakeholders and so on.
The point is it is this reality and the desire for organizations to transform its culture from, one, operating under the influence of 20th century mindsets, on the left, to one is operating like an innovative 21st century company. This is what's giving rise to the design thinking movement. The reason is because there is widespread belief that the approaches and techniques that make up design can be applied to aid in this transformation. More and more people around the world are coming to the opinion that the principles and practices of design are not just applicable to product design but rather to a wide array of organizational situations calling for change. And that is one of the keys to a more innovative culture. So, that was a bit about why design thinking is so popular but what exactly is it? Now rather than share my own, yet another definition of design thinking, I'd like to highlight two classic definitions of design that are worth knowing.
Because, in my opinion, they lift the fog surrounding design thinking and help you see it for the discipline that it really is and also how the principles and practices of this discipline can be scaled in you and your team and your organization. The first quote is by Heather Fraser. Let's, let's read it: "Design is not a one-shot vaccine. It's an innovation fitness program that puts an organization on top of the game. It is not an event. It is a way of thinking communicating and doing every day." I like this definition for two reasons. The first reason is because it correctly elevates design from a step in a process or a discrete event to a way of being and working; a fundamental way to go about something. The second reason is because the last part begs the question, "OK what is this way of thinking and communicating and doing every day? What skills must I acquire to be good at that?"
And, well, here's the answer. Thirty six design methods in all, organized into nine categories and three discrete practices of working, understanding and making. Now, if you'll give me just a moment, I want to tell you a bit more about what is in here and share the backstory about the research we conducted which led us to this taxonomy. This is important because this system of methods is not just some random set of my personal favorites. It was actually carefully curated from among a thousand design methods and techniques and is, we think at LUMA, design thinking's equivalent to the periodic table; elemental methods which can be combined in thousands of different ways to tackle just about any work challenge the universe can throw at you. Design has a long and rich history that reaches back decades.
As I mentioned there are over a thousand discrete design innovation methods. Tons of them. So the first thing we did is gather them and learn more about them. Where did they come from? What was their purpose? How do they relate to other methods? And so on. And the first thing we discovered from our inquiry is that all the methods and techniques could be organized under three distinct pillars. What we found was that they were either ethnographic, participatory or evaluative research techniques that help people and teams observe human experience; something we simply labeled 'looking'. Or they were techniques for making sense of problems, people, systems, patterns, priorities; something we simply labeled 'understanding'. And if they weren't looking or understanding methods that meant they were techniques that guide the hand and mind in the creation of ideas, concepts, models, prototypes and rhetoric; something we simply called 'making'.
So just for context, among these thousand methods were a lot of methods that you have used. You know, the Business Model Canvas was among the thousands. IDEO's Method Cards are among the thousand. Robert Curendale's Encyclopedia of Methods are among the thousand. The Six Sigma methods, they're in there too. Now from there we began to evaluate the power and efficacy of the methods. The question was, how universally applicable is each method? How easy is the method to teach and apply? How effective is the method? And for us, our bias, how human centered as opposed to self-centered is the method? And the reason we did this is that, you know, from the start, our company, LUMA, has not really been primarily concerned with the problem of how to teach design so much as it was concerned with how do you scale design to the masses.
Our vision and mission was and still is universal design literacy. And our hunch or hypothesis was that in order to bring about this kind of mass adoption of a fundamental way of working, a thousand methods was simply too many. So we created this algorithm, the four questions you see here, and used it to help us zero in on these. Now I promised at the beginning of the section that I would share two definitions of design. So here is the second.
It's quite famous. And from Nobel laureate and polymath Herb Simon, who said, hey, "Everyone designs who devises courses of action aimed at changing existing situations into preferred ones." We love this quote, at LUMA, about design so much that we put it on the inside cover of our book, "Innovating for People." And the reason we like it is because, one, like Heather Fraser's quote, it correctly position is design not as a profession but as something that everyone already does. No one needs permission or a degree to design.
Humans have always lived in a world teeming with millions of tangible and intangible things calling for change. And we're hardwired to pursue ways to bring about that change. Yes, products are designed, software and services are certainly designed, but so are policies and laws and strategies and business models and negotiations and curriculums and tactical defense systems. Now the question is, "how can you use this way of looking understanding and making that I just shared to, as Simon says, change existing situations into preferred ones?" And I'm glad you asked. I'm going to use remaining 30 minutes or so to share how you can use Design Thinking, now that we are clear on what it is, in your everyday work to be more innovative, to be more creative, to be a better problem solver. The next few slides are really meant to illustrate one important thing, and that is that design is not a process; it's a discipline that underpins your process.
In fact, just about any development process. If you and your team happen to follow a stage gate process, as pictured here, these methods are not meant to be a substitute for that process but rather a useful framework of methods that support it. And once mastered, can help you master the important stages in this process and do them well. It's about helping you discover better, scope better, build better business cases, develop better, test and validate better. And same thing with scrum.
These methods are not meant to be a substitute for scrum but rather underpin scrum and equip you and your team and your organization with some tried and true methods and techniques that can be applied in the pursuit of this kind of work. The point is that if you're trying to scale design thinking capability in yourself, your team or your organization, you will run into some pretty major roadblocks if you see design as a process and position it as such. If you do, it will clash compete with the numerous other processes that your organization follows. In other words you'll never scale design thinking as long as it is seen as a process competing for attention with other processes. In order to scale design, you need to position it as the fundamental discipline that it is and simply use it to advance your work, wherever you work, however you work and whatever you are working on. In this case the LUMA system design methods helps you understand better and prototype better and validate better when engaged in, let's say, a Google design sprint, a process that I know that my development team uses and likes very much.
In fact, let's use the Google Ventures design Sprint process to illustrate the point. If you have ever used this process you know that the purpose of the first stage is to, as it says, understand what your stakeholders' needs are and what opportunities exist.
And during this phase, often the question arises, something like, "Well, what problem are we trying to solve?" Right? Now there are lots of different method combinations teams can use to ensure they're working on the right problem. Our software service, LUMA Workplace, has dozens of them. This is just one. We call them recipes and the name of this recipe is 'Identify and Align on Opportunities'. It's a great recipe when you want to gain a clear understanding of what is really going on with the people and contacts we are trying to design for. And then using these insights to set the stage for coming up with some targeted concepts. Now the way I'm going to unpack this recipe is sort of like they do on cooking shows. There isn't time to actually demonstrate all of this in front of you nor teach it in the way we would in a workshop. So what I have set up are some stations, if you will, that walk through some of the key ingredients and steps of the recipe and shows you what it looks like.
So the first thing you and your team would do in this recipe is conduct what's called a contextual inquiry - it's one of our 36 methods - in order to observe key stakeholders and gain empathy for their needs and goals. Contextual inquiry is an approach to interviewing and observing people in their own environment.
As such there's a lot of prep work that has to take place before you can pull one off. The three main steps are listed here on the right and will take you about a half a day to complete. The majority of that time is sitting down with your team and identifying what do you want to learn and then creating a protocol that you can, that can be used to ensure you are interviewing and observing the right people and asking them the right questions. And once you've done that and made arrangements to meet these folks you're good to go.
And as you can see, the activity itself can also take some time. And I'm not factoring in travel time to and from the location here. Once you get to the site and you know properly introduce yourself, sort of set the stage of why you're there, your task is really fundamentally to observe people in as unobtrusive manner as possible, interjecting questions of course at opportune moments. But most importantly documenting what you see and hear with notes, sketches, pictures and video if you're allowed.
And what you end up with after, you know, a proper contextual inquiry conducted at numerous sites with some key stakeholders will look, know, something like this. Notes, sketches, pictures, possibly some video. It's all very important but also messy. And for sure at this point you'll probably not understand fully the meaning of all this.
Not to fret, that is what this next ingredient is all about. It's one about understanding methods, called Rose, Thorn, Bud. It's a commonly used technique for identifying things as positive, negative or having potential. And in this recipe you can use it to codify all that vital but messy and complex field research you gathered in your contextual inquiries. Prep time for this is pretty straightforward.
All you need is the people who conducted the research with their recorded observations. Some thick, sharpie markers and three stacks of post-it note pads, pink, blue and green are the colors we commonly use. And then you want to invite team members to just work individually. Or if they collected the data in pairs, working in pairs. Just translates all their observations onto one of the three color sticky note. Positive observations go on the pink ones, they are Roses. Negative or problematic observations go on the blue ones, they are on thorn. And opportunities you want to highlight go in green, these are buds. You'll do this for all of your data.
And what this usually means is dozens sometimes hundreds of rose, thorns and buds. What you'll have at the end of the stage will look like, something like this, times ten. It's still a lot but are very valuable because basically what you have done is translate all those important but different kinds of observations into a simple unified, codified unit that you can now begin sharing and organizing with the other researchers and begin looking for insights.
And so how do you do that? With the next ingredient in recipe, Affinity Clustering. Affinity Clustering is a graphic technique for sorting items according to similarity. And in this case what the team wants to do is use it to share their observations and reveal meaningful themes and insights.
Remember, we are in the understanding phase of a week- or two-week long sprint. Prep for this ingredient is simple: gather a team around a white board or a large piece of paper with all the rose, thorn, bud data, choose a facilitator or someone whose job it is to get the conversation started and expedite the activity. Here we have LUMA's very own Mike Marsico rocking the expos and post-its, making it look easy. Mike's actually a great facilitator.
And from there the facilitator runs the show. That doesn't mean that they do the work. What they're doing is they prompt the other collaborators for participation and begin to organize the groupings as themes emerge. For example, to get things started the facilitator will often ask one person to share one of their notes by explaining one of the roses, thorns or buds to the rest of the group and then simply place the item on the board. This process repeats itself until all the items have been shared, discussed, organize and summarized and most importantly understood by the entire team.
You know, a lot of these methods are about the conversations, the important conversations that as a team need to have and the decisions you need to make to advance your work. What you get at the end of the stage is something that looks like this. Usually anywhere from half a dozen to a dozen insights based on feedback from the field and, you know, human-centered design at its best, in my opinion. But what I want to point out here though is that in this use of affinity clustering, it's not enough to just group related observations and label them. Ideally clusters should reveal a truth or a deep understanding about the people or context you observed. It should be a definitive statement, an insight like, 'security is a constant worry' instead of just labeling or cluster 'security'. That's what I mean by that.
Now the name of this recipe, I'll remind you, is to identify and align on opportunities, so we're not finished yet. The next ingredient we need to add to this dish, if you will, is a method called Statement Starters. Again, statement starters is one of the 36 key methods. It is a simple, but deceivingly powerful approach to facing opportunities in a way that clarifies intent. And more importantly invites broad exploration. And we're going to use them here in this recipe to translate our insights into worthy and provocative opportunity statements. As with the other understanding methods, prep is quick and easy. Simply distribute some pens and index cards to the team and assign specific clusters to a specific individual or pair to synthesize.
From there, you want to instruct your innovators to begin translating their insights into real formulated problem statements that have a clear intent and again invite broader exploration. And we do this by using the statement starter, "How might we?" Now, keep to mind it often takes some discussion and several revisions to arrive at a good statement starter, but once complete, we typically just place the statement starters right on top of the affinity cluster, as pictured here, so we can discuss them. In this case down at the bottom, just for illustrative purposes, the team translated the insight 'Security is a constant worry' into 'How might our customers never worry about security?' Now this is a sprint so there isn't time to do everything. The next step is to narrow in on a few problem statements the team feels are the most significant or vital to address. This we've done in several ways but this recipe uses another simple understanding technique from our 36, called, 'There lies the vote,' which is nothing more than a quick polling technique that reveals preferences and options. Again prep is minimal. You'll need to hand out two or three voting tokens to the various team members and clarify the criteria for voting, which in this case would be the most significant opportunity. Then have each team member, who came up with each opportunity statement, pitch it to the rest of the team. Once they have all been presented, the next step is to have everyone vote simultaneously using the voting tokens, making sure to discuss what people voted for and why.
What you typically get at the end of this stage is something that looks like this, which is team alignment on the most significant opportunities to pursue for the rest of the Sprint. And that's one way how you can use design thinking in the context of in this case, a sprint process, to gain a clear understanding of what is really going on with the people and context you're designing for. So we can use these insights to set the stage for, you know, coming up with some targeted concepts later on.
And just for reference here's where the five methods used in this recipe sit within our taxonomy. I've highlighted them in black here. Contextual inquiry, affinity, and the problem framing.
So we think that's a pretty good recipe for, you know, the early stages of a design sprint or really the early stages of any kind of process or project where, you know, you want out you want to sharpen your axe or learn a little bit more before you start coming up with wild ideas. And there are many others. But in the time I have left I want to share one more recipe but let's shift to another phase of development.
Let's stick with the scenario of a design sprint. Often the challenge, particularly when it comes time for ideation, is, "Hey, okay, we need some fresh ideas, we need some unconventional thinking here. How do we do that? How do we put ourselves in a position to come up with some great ideas and not the same old status quo stuff we are just, you know, frequently stumbling over?" But here I have also thrown in the reality that more and more teams are distributed and having to work remotely.
So, the name of this recipe is 'Conceive fresh ideas with a remote team'. And I want to highlight it because I think it's a great recipe when you need to hatch some bold ideas quickly but your team is co-located or can't find the time that week to be in the same room. Of course, you know, a version of the same recipe can be cooked up, you know, belly to belly but I want to highlight how our system, combined with great tools like Google Docs and Zoom and MURAL, can enable incredibly effective remote collaboration.
So the first half of this two-part recipe is an ideation method we call 'creative matrix'. It's a format for sparking new ideas at the intersection of distinct categories and is often used in situations when you really need to generate a lot of new ideas quickly. In this recipe, the first thing you need to do is go to MURAL and create 2x-sized mural, something a little bit bigger than the standard, and then drag and drop one of the ready-made creative matrices onto it.
Let me zoom up to explain and show you the rest. So, in a creative matrix grid, each cell represents the intersection of two disparate categories. And it is a great tool if you're looking to generate many wide ranging ideas in a short amount of time.
It's best to use the columns along the top, that's along here, as categories related to people or problem statements. So what you see here is that I had taken a picture of the four statement starters the team nominated for the sprint in the understanding phase. These are the opportunities that will be ideated on. Right? And the rows, here, are typically categories for enabling potential solutions to these problems. So for example, technologies, environments, policies, business models and the like. The structure of a creative matrix is useful because it stimulates cross-pollination at these intersections. The idea is to mine each intersection, each cell, for ideas. So for example, you know, what kind of new services or business models could we come up with that will make it so our customers never need to worry about security again? And you would ideate in that box and then move on to the next one and so forth.
And once you've established that, this kind of virtual workspace, all you need to do is simply invite the team members to it, and a Zoom meeting, and voila, you have a virtual workspace to ideate in. The activity itself is short. You want to limit it to 15 minutes and encourage quantity over quality, reminding everyone to explore all the intersections and not to edit any ideas, at least at this stage. And that's a pretty powerful method. In fifteen minutes a team of three or four people can easily generate 40 to 60 ideas using this method. Your creative matrix will be littered with possibility and, you know, typically looks something like this. And the cluster on the right there are the 12 best concepts the team harvested from, you know, the bounty after some discussions. So often we'll generate these methods, I mean, sorry, these ideas, talk about them a bit and then everybody will choose their top two or three favorites they think are most promising from this. Now however, 12 concepts is still too many to pursue in a design sprint, right, because we're sprinting today. So the next method enables teams to quickly converge on the one or two most promising ideas. You know, the ones that are most worthy of prototyping and testing.
This is accomplished by way of another one of our 36 methods, the Important-Difficulty Matrix, which is simply a quad chart for plotting items by relative importance and difficulty. Prep is pretty simple. You simply drag and drop and size a ready-made Importance-Difficulty Matrix onto your MURAL. By the way, these can be found on the side of the MURAL app under the framework section along with a bunch of other great frameworks. Then have the team rank each one of those 12 final ideas. First by relative importance along the horizontal axis. At LUMA, we advise to separate the discussion about the importance of an idea or concept from discussions about the relative difficulty of the idea because people have a tendency to demote the importance of ideas that they think are too difficult or too expensive. Once that discussion has happened, then you have a team rank each idea by relative costs or difficulty along the vertical axis. And again, you'll want to encourage debate and deliberation as they go. Once the conversation has settled down, you want to label the quad as you see here: ideas on the bottom right are considered higher return on investment because as a team you all you determine that these were the most impactful and easiest to implement. Good candidates.
Maybe your best for a sprint. Ideas in the top right are considered strategic ideas because team determined that while these were impactful they were harder to implement; good ideas for sure but maybe they'll be outside the scope of a sprint. Ideas is the bottom left are what we like to call low hanging fruit. Again, good candidate concepts, if you're looking for a quick win. And, again, I think ideal for a sprint. Finally the ideas at the top left are considered lower return on investment, lower ROI.
They're really your weakest concepts because as a team you determined that they are the most difficult to realize and the least impactful. From there the team can make a more informed decision about which one or two ideas to promote, for, you know, the prototyping stage. Again, in a sprint, this tends to be ideas in the lower half of the quadrant but not always.
And there you have it– a great recipe for situations where you need to have some bold ideas quickly with a remote team and for your sprint. And again, just for reference, here's where the two methods used in this recipe sit within our system, I have them highlighted black. The creative matrix is one of our concept ideation methods that made the cut and importance-difficulty matrix under parents priorities. And so that's all I had teed up for today.
You know, for those of you out there who are new to design thinking, look, I hope what I shared today gives you a better understanding of what design thinking is and a grounded approach for how to apply it to your everyday work that really truly helps you become a more confident and capable problem solver.
For you grizzled veterans of design, I hope the ideas I shared can be borrowed to help you collaborate more effectively and do your best work, not only for your clients but also with your clients. And finally for the leaders out there that are faced with the daunting task of scaling design innovation in your organization, I hope I was able to provide you some clear insights on how to approach integration of design thinking into your daily work culture and the practical value of doing that. So before I bring Mariano back into the conversation and we jump into Q&A, let me say again: Thanks.
And just to let you know, you know, if you're interested you can explore recipes like the ones I shared today at LUMAworkplace.com. We have a 30 day free trial. You can go in and start using it today, if you'd like, and trying it out to help you apply these to your everyday work. Or if you want to continue the conversation on Twitter feel free to follow us at LUMA Institute, or email us at the email listed there.
So with that I will turn it back over to our host, Mariano.
So we've been following the Q&A and people were really interested in how you set up the importance of innovation. I'm pretty sure that there's a lot of folks listening in that, whose job is also to promote this kind of work inside the company. So I'm pretty sure that they will steal some of your quotes and ideas for their internal promotion. So, and something I was paying attention to is that if you add an R for remote in LUMA it's LUMAR and that's an acronym or MURAL. Yeah, anyway. So. So, Chris, I mean, the goal of a design sprint is very much used in software.
But they show that it can be done in other industries too. Right? But can you share, I mean, a case of LUMA being used in non-tech, non-design, non-typical design-centric industries?
Yeah, I'd love to. You know, we do, I'll say that 50 percent of our work is outside of, you know, traditional design and tech industry. We do a lot of work with federal governments working on a host of challenges. One in particular, I remember, is helping a team at some federal agencies apply these tools to the re-integration of vets coming back from war theater. It turns out that, you know, something like 20, 30 percent of all the homeless in the states are our vets. And it's sad. And so they were looking to apply these tools to, you know, empathize with what was going on and really try to come up with some solutions to solve that problem. But, you know, we work with a lot of schools as well. These methods also have been applied by teachers in the classroom.
So, as a lot of organization, a lot of schools switched to more project-based learning, where the students aren't showing what they know by rote memorization and taking tests. They're integrating some of these methods in the classroom for students to make and to express what they know. And so what we're seeing is a lot of educators sort of integrate design thinking into the curriculums and actually designing new curriculums using these methods. Just a couple of different examples. And, you know, that's at the sort-of high level. You know, we just got somebody on LUMA Workplace last night, I was overhearing the team talk about it, emailed our team and said, or through intercom, just let us know that, "Hey, I just used importance-difficulty matrix, which I just shared, to help me with this week's to do list. You know?
These tools do not have to be applied to these other programs, of course, they are. But, you know, everybody suffers from, like, "Gah, I've got too much on my plate this week, what are the most important things that I need to get done?" And something like importance-difficulty is just a great way to sort of lay them all out and help you decide and get done the most vital things that you need to get done. So you know tons of examples like that.
And the IDEO folks say never come to a meeting without a prototype, so that you can, or a sketch, right? I also say, like, "Hey, I mean, never come to a creative meeting without LUMA Methods because, if not, you will just start talking without having some framing. And something I think you've also done a great job of, besides the method, is defining amount of time needed, and you have a little feature to help you, I mean, save time and prepare for the workshops or for the sessions. And I think that's something that leads to another question, which is related to do Sami Packard's question. And so, one, I would imagine that what when you engage with an organization, in the first few months it is kind of like prescriptive and they, kind-of, like, are trying to follow the standard recipes and so forth. What's a journey of a company that engaged you in the mid to long term? What's the difference between the early stages, how do you evangelize, how do you practice, and what's- how does it look at scale with a whole company, a large percentage of the company using the methods?
Yes, so, you know, what we specialize in, what we like to do with companies, is help them stand up design thinking programs or human-centered design programs, whatever you want to call it, or innovation capability development programs– there's a lot of different names for it. And what we do is we try to put ourselves out of a job as quickly as possible because it's expensive to scale to thousands and sometimes tens of thousands and, some of our clients, hundreds of thousands of people, these skills by, you know, putting our instructors on a plane every other week and flying them somewhere. And so what we do is we, in the early stages of a what will be called program and relationship, is we sit down and we, as good designers, consult, if you will.
And try to understand, "So, what are your goals here? How many people are you looking to touch in this way and transform this way?" And put together a program that is designed to equip people with the basic fundamentals as quickly as possible but also in a way where we're working with them so they're actually effective in their work. And so typically, after the sort-of planning stages, we'll do a couple of pilot workshops with them to sort-of iron out the details, kind-of customize a little bit about how that happens. And then we'll begin training some of their own people. Some of them are, again, you know, grizzled design veterans who have taught at universities and so it's just really teaching some of them some of the finer points of facilitation and, you know, how to use this system to scale this system. And they begin to sort-of take over there, we co-teach and start running workshops. But, for sure, workshops won't get it done because, you know, workshops are very important. They introduce people to the hands-on attributes of this and ABCs. But you're not going to transform, you know, tens of thousands of people by running, sheep-dipping them in, two-day workshops. It's an important– but the question is, "How can you support them in their work the other, you know, 363 days of the year?" Because people lean in fundamentally different ways. You know, 10 percent of what we know we learned through a workshop or the formal classroom, but 90 percent is outside of that. 20 percent is by peer-to-peer interaction and 70 percent you learn on the job. And so what we begin to do is transition them to teaching themselves but also leveraging the things like LUMA Workplace, and a lot of the templates and so forth that we do.
So the people on the front lines who are trying to apply this stuff have that sort-of backup, have that sort-of indispensable tool they can go to and use to carry out these sort-of every day, to apply design to these everyday challenges.
Something else that we see is that when there's a critical mass in a company that already knows the methods, there's less time, quote unquote, getting people up to speed and setting up the workshops and they would maximize together time if they get right into the activities.
And related to that we recommend also: embrace the flipped classroom or the flipped workshop. So go to the LUMA Workplace.com website, review the methods, I mean, get up to speed so you can, when you get to the activity, you're like at max speed and don't need to catch up.
Yeah, exactly. We're just trying provide sort-of power tools of design to people that want to work this way. It's interesting you say about you know the, everybody, a lot of people coming to know the tools. It's a language. In, you know, a lot of ways, we refer to it like, if you want to create a culture, the culture has to have this lingua franca. And if that culture is design innovation then what are the languages you're speaking? And so the 36 methods kind-of function like that. Like, look, there's thousands of them but in this organization, here the ones that, you know, we believe in. And it doesn't even have to be these 36. A lot of our customers say, "We really just focus on these 18," or they bring in their own. Like, it's fine. The lesson there is if you want to create a culture of design innovation, limit the amount of methods that you have people sort-of integrate into their daily language. And then give them a chance to get good at them and use it and be conversant. And yeah, like you said, our job is like, hey, for companies that don't want to spend the years and the money developing effective programs, then we've learned a lot along the way. We've made a lot of mistakes. We've doing this for almost 10 years and so we come and say, "Hey, look, leverage what we know and let's help you stand this up." We can get up and going in like three months, pretty quick, where you guys are helping yourself and getting to integrate these methods into your daily work.
So something, I mean, the recipe that most of our newbies in our company use quite a bit is rose, thorn, bud, affinity and then prioritization. And you have a little story about that one and your kids.
You remember that? Yeah. Well, yeah, I mean like I said it's... these– we did a lot of research. These are elemental methods that are applicable in thousands of different kinds of situations and that's why they got picked. Most of - that's a great one. When I go home every day, and for those of you out there who have kids, you'll appreciate it. You know, you get to the dinner table and say, "So, guys, how was your day?" And it's like radio silence, crickets, you know. "Good. It's OK." And so I use rose, thorn, bud to sort of open up the conversation. Say, "Hey, what was a rose today? What happened that was positive?" Then that prompt gets them talking about, you know, what was positive today, what was negative. What were some things that held them back or they were disappointed in. And I love that my youngest, Enzo, who's nine, he always asks, like, "What's a bud again?" You know because it's a little bit different, or difficult, of a concept for young kid but he gets it. And talks about some of the things that were a surprise to him in the day or were opportunities or were unexpected delighters. So, yeah.
There we go. And again, if you don't have kids, you probably have team members anyway so you can use that for retrospective or feedback sessions.
I mean we're about to get engaged in our, you know, 2018 strategic planning, right? Where a company says, "OK what do we want to do next year?" We often start by kind of assessing, well, what's going on with the state of the business? With what, or , what do we need to be aware of? What's going well? And so rose, thorn, bud provides a great intro to a lot of those conversations. So again it's not just rose, thorn, bud but a lot of the methods there. Rapid ready prototyping, think aloud testing, you name it, can be used in a variety of different situations. Critique. I mean there's just not enough critique in the workplace, I feel, and it's so ready-made. The critique method that we teach is a is a protocol we've taken from the Department of Education and it's simple. Right? You put anything up– a new product, a sketch, a concept poster, whatever and you have a critique about it. You know? What's working, what's not? With some ideas and so forth and it can be conducted any time.
And you can't really do iteration without a critique, right? You don't want to make something and then make it again in your own mind, What you want to do is make something and then put it in front of somebody and have them critique it to give you feedback, stakeholders and so forth. So just, again, these methods, we've found, are just indispensable in a lot of different situations and it's that repetitive use of them that gets my 10,000 hours in so I become good at them. Right?
Totally, so. We are– there's like 20 questions and some are amazing. I think that we have to like grab some and answer them in a follow-up blog post or email. But some questions are around, like, the journey of adoption. Yeah, complex questions because, I mean, it's– something I would say, like, there's a few of you that work on large organizations and really need some help transforming or sharing best practices. There's info at MURAL, sorry, info at LUMA dash Institute dot com. They have great tips on how to do that. And also there's a lot of questions around, like, what's difference in between the experience map and a customer journey map? And so, again, take advantage of LUMA Workplace.com and their free trial. They have great videos and so on that will walk you through a some explanations. And some, I mean, I also saw a question of how do you define which are the good ideas, the bad ideas, or if you don't agree on, how to cluster things on a group in an affinity map or not? I'm pretty sure that those are things that we cannot answer right away. But LUMA also hosts great public workshops and if you check other website, there's plenty of it around the world.
These are great questions, right, which we don't have in the hour today to sort of delve into but there is there's answers for all of them.
Well I think that we will have to wrap up. But again we are copying and pasting all of these questions to see if we can, like, an extended blog post, and not just a truncation of this. And also, guys, I mean, Chris is an educator in a way so if you tempt him with the question, he'll probably reply. And the team over there in Pittsburgh, and across the world, with all the different instruction and facilitators, are also online. So follow them at LUMA Institute. com and they will probably, given the, I mean, the thankful notes and everything, we'll have to bring you back, Chris.
Oh, I'd love to. You know we could answer some of the questions that came up today or be happy to share some other recipes and different kinds of processes for different kinds of work. Would be delighted to. And, yeah, don't be shy. Please reach out to us if you have a question. You know, being a good designer is about being generous, about delighting people, so we'll try our best to address your questions.
Maybe the next time we actually do a little more than a cooking show style have some recipes prepped but also some cooking live on a mural.
Well, that'd be great fun.
All right, everybody, thanks for your time this morning, noon or afternoon. This is my first time hosting one of these in Switzerland. So I'm starting to empathize with you all in Europe that are staying up late for these things. We have to do some like Europe- Asia-friendly live sessions. Thank you very much and have a great night. Thank you, Chris, for your time.
My pleasure. Thank you, everyone.
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Annelise is a Content Marketing Editor at MURAL. She is a writer and wanderer, passionate about storytelling and the spread of honest information.
September, 26 2017