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The Practical Application of Creative Thinking

Liedtka & Ogilvie (2011) enlightened my perception of design thinking in many ways. DT knowledge on practical application of creative thinking gave me insight into how creativity is shaping real world. I was able to connect with my course theory and group work to come up with the conclusion that creative design thinking requires personal capabilities, learning and exposure. In my opinion, individuals who have the creative talent can not succede if they keep ideas to themelves and if they are not exposed to a stimulating environment. In order to develop mindset techniques in design thinking, I had to go through a rigorous  learning process involving personal study, research, group work, workshops and creative thoughts. This report is a summary of the process featuring innovation, entrepreneurship and design thinking. It looks at critical elements in design thinking such as the tools, techniques and how to turn ideas to business. A closer look at the viable business in the globe today reveals the presence of design thinking ideas and the development of a business model from such ideas. Using my blog (Shresta, 2017) as a point of reference, I highlight how learing design thinking connects with real life situations.

Naturally, I am a creative mind who looks at thing from different points of view. In the contemporary business world, success is dependent on creativity because successful business ideas create a competitive edge (Barringer & Ireland, 2016). The learning process has helped me to view entrepreneurs in the technology world with amazement because of how they continue to disrupt life with new ideas. When I look at people using smart phones, laptops and iPad, I cannot help but appreciate the power of great minds like Steve Jobs. My first lecture in the course steered my thinking into a more imaginative approach and now I am able to implement ideas with creativity (see blog #6 19 September 2017). Like those who developed the internet, I can now imagine and design ideas to benefits the whole world. I do not just want my ideas to feature among the wealthiest but I want to be like Bill Gates who designs with value. Contribution through ideas like Microsoft continues to benefit businesses, institutions and individuals. I have learnt how to turn ideas into valuebased business.

Entrepreneurship in the world today continues to thrive because of technological innovations (see blog #4 August 2 2017). My academic journey has opened my eyes to the difference between an entrepreneurial and high growth venture. I now know that small businesses run the global markets because of ideas. This is because of the difference between innovation and invention, which lies in the ability to embrace risks and exploit more ideas for improvements (Barringer & Ireland, 2016). This seems easy but I have realized that starting a business requires some insight from the social environment. I appreciate the Australian government for its effort in showing young people on how to start, register and run a business (Australian Government, 2017). I can step out with one idea and divert into numerous ones. I will use my skills in design to select a platform for innovation using my core competencies. I may also venture into disruptive innovation because I am a creative person who likes unique approaches to thinking designs (see blog #2 29th September 2017).

The Importance of Personal Capabilities, Learning, and Exposure in Fostering Creative Talent

I used to think that innovation is the same as inventing. I now know that product, process and Innovation characterises the production of goods and services. This is the improvement of products and services through research in order to meet the customer needs (Jimenez-Jiminez, D, & Sanz-Valle, 2011). Although the research process is systematic and analytical, design thinking is about improving on ideas. The innovation process has benefits, which include enhanced competitiveness, increased profitability and efficiency (see blog #3 July 21 2017). I can team up with others for a creative mind that determines the trend in innovation because an innovator:

  • Reflects
  • Solves problems
  • Takes risks and never gives up
  • Observes and experiments
  • Networks
  • Takes action

In the course, I have gained new skills for managing innovation for application in real life. I have noticed the high competition in the business world today. Sparked by innovation, creativity is an element of innovation visible in marketing adverts, business functions, operations, products and services.  I agree with Benedetto (2015) who describes the diffusion of innovation based on relative advantages such as convenience, luxury and cost. I will use my competence for making compatible attributes like values, opinions, segments and skills. This is critical in communication processes. I plan to start with trial basis and the ability to experiment, sample or test before purchasing (See blog # 1 30 September 2017). Through observability, I can now make use of the right skills.

I am now aware of different theories that explain design thinking. In my opinion, action research is more effective because its focus is on creating solutions for human and computer usability (Rogers, Sharp, & Preece, 2011). In the group activity, we set out to release a launch plan after a trial on the product. We relied on feedback from users in order to improve on the product (See blog # 1 30 September 2017).

I also had a chance to explore the divergent and convergent thinking approach, which provides a number of techniques for applied thinking (Levenson, 2011). These are important in generating ideas. Divergent thinking creates a good number of solutions when solving problems (see blog # 4 August 2, 2017) while convergent thinking narrows down to using one central idea to solve problems (see blog # 6, 19 September 2017).

Other DT theories that I appreciate are logic of reasoning, creative learning and co-creation or co-design. I find these approaches engaging to an individual and they encourage group creativity. I realize that I am able to use a storyboard to design an idea with an entrepreneurial focus. This process was informative about the importance of including the customer’s perception in design thinking. This complicates the process and it calls for the use of multiple theories across different levels.

The Difference Between Entrepreneurship and High Growth Ventures

I have also come to learn that design thinking as a strategy improves performance because it leads to useful innovations (Steinert & Leifer, 2013: Glen, Suciu, Baughn, & Anson, 2015. Its approach targets the creation of solutions for application in real life. A successful business has innovativeness focused on creating customer benefits (see blog # 4 July 2017). 

Figure 1: Illustration on being creative in every day thinking: (Vital, 2017)

From my life experience, a problem is a mindboggling experience. Design thinking tools have unraveled this mystery by showing me techniques for solving problems. The first step towards discovering a brilliant idea is to visualize (see blog #5 5 August 2017). As a group we took up an activity to create an idea that all of us could relate with. We also attempted to use the observation of photos in order to devise a solution. Brainstorming became a critical tool because I was able to start at a small point of a small circle, overcome barriers and come up with an intelligent solution. I now know that creativity and ideation are inseparable when using brainstorming to solve problems (Amabile & Julianna, 2012). From this group activity I developed the principles of DT, which I plan to use in my action plan skills such as Problem solving, Human centered focus, observation, visualization, prototyping, experimentation and active learning

As I plan to release my unique design to the world, I Look forward to using the knowledge learnt and the skills adopted to create this change. My plan is to design a technology business solution for today through personal and professional skills developed.

I agree that lack of thinking techniques kills creativity and that people who procrastinate never innovate. Grant ( 2016) gives a moving talk at a TED conference on how people need to embrace failure as part of the ideation process. This talk encouraged me to keep experimenting until I get it right because brainstorming needs the right attitude, stimulus and inspiration. This is what I plan to use at the preliminary stage. It supports reflection as the process of solving problems but I have also learnt that there is a big difference between observing and starring. Staring at people appears to be rude but I wish people would realize that the surrounding is a source of inspiration for many designers.

During the discussion on mapping and education, we spent time coming up with numerous ideas (see blog #6 August 2017). My plan is to engage the mind, emotions and feelings in order to come up with brilliant ideas. Personally, I prefer to set the mood by using colorful drawings. Mind mapping is fruitful when it targets value addition. The used of market research helps me to identify gaps, which need innovation. Research and Development spearheads this process (Benedetto, 2015). My dream is to work in a technology design company but I realize that for me to succeed in such a highly creative industry, I need to study its value network keenly. This involves the suppliers, customers and other value chains. Designing solutions for the complete value chain is one way to use my creativity. Below are illustration for creative thinking and mind mapping. 

Embracing Risk for Innovation

Figure 2: Mindmapping example of solving global warming issues using pictures (Gold, 2017)

One of the greatest lessons that I have learnt is that design thinking is not a one man’s game (Sekeran & Bougie, 2013). When I look at global innovations, I notice that smartphone innovators do not work alone. Mobile technology is a collaboration between software developers, internet providers and hardware manufacturers. Reputable brands such as Samsung, Huawei and Apple Inc. hire professional designers to work in these partnerships. Similarly, this plan will encourage the exchange of ideas. From the group work, I learnt that each student has the ability to think outside the box and the advantages of dot voting is one way to classify and utilize these ideas carefully (see blog #7 19 September 2017).

Teamwork is essential because it helps designers to generate alternative solutions. The process of collecting data is critical and the contribution of group members is necessary. This was evident in the group discussions we had and each member had a role to play. Some were good in research while others could gather data from mind tools fastest (see blogs #7& 8, 19 September and 12 September 2017). 

Figure 3: A collection of ideas from group thinking

I find my inspiration from ethical design thinking such as the example in figure 2, which highlights sustainability and environmental protection. Ethics is important in my plan because innovation and sustainability complement each other. In my personal research, I discovered that the modern consumer connects environmental friendly products to value. Therefore, in my career, I purpose to focus on breaking down the deign process using a value based approach of what is sustainable (Liedtka & Ogilvie, 2011). Barringer & Ireland (2016, p, 489) helps me to understand the process of new product development. This is informative because it identifies a number of product type strategies and growth opportunities in the external markets. This idea is important because the global market provides opportunities and challenges which calls for rapid prototyping to save time and money (see blog # 9 12 September 2017).

One of my favorite lessons in the course was on concept development (see blog #10, 12 September 2017). Product development involves a multilevel team working in the design thinking process. I will use rapid prototyping of designs in the plan because the launch provides an opportunity for me to present the finished design to the customers. Having witnessed product launches in the real market, I look forward to having my own designs launched. This takes teamwork and experimenting through the markets. The best part of a design is the feedback from the customers. This stage is critical because it influences the continuous innovation process (Dieter & Schmidt, 2013).

Improving Efficiency, Profitability, and Competitiveness with Design Thinking

The course has taught me that gathering data at the launching stage is crucial because it determines the refining process. An idea goes through rigorous vetting before it becomes an acceptable reality. Friends and supporters can act as good critics of the innovation. A proper analysis of the pros and cons will determine whether to abolish the innovation or to proceed with it. This may also suggest the delay of a product in order to give way to improvements. When presenting a launch, the timing and target participants are critical. Launching is part of marketing and it paves the way for a strategic advertising plan (see blog # 11 30 September 2017 and blog #7 19 September)

In my journey of learning, I cannot dispute that there is a connection between marketing and creative thinking. However, my idea of this is that target marketing needs to consider what the competitor is doing in order to counter the idea (Liedtka & Ogilvie, 2011:Williams & Page, 2011). I will use a competitor analysis a crucial marketing strategy. Consequently, Design as communication needs to blend the organizations visions with the consumer needs. The entrepreneurial marketing plan also benefits from design thinking techniques. In order to prepare a successful marketing campaign, the brand needs a plan (see blog #6 5 August 2017).

My idea of target marketing includes the use of adverts with cultural values acceptable to the consumer. This is because the contemporary global market comprise of cultural diversities and the global consumer is selective on foreign ideas. If given a chance to lead a team of innovators, I would advise on having insight into the direct, indirect and future competitors because for a deeper analysis. Below is an example of a competitive analysis greed for a local target.

Figure 4: Competitor analysis showing social consciousness advantages

Conclusion

As I reflect on what I have learnt over the years, I look forward to the next 6 months. This is a great opportunity for me to expand on the knowledge, and skills for improved competencies in design thinking. I look forward to putting the theoretical approaches to practice. I am interested in identifying the best focus in entrepreneurial marketing because of my passion. My intention is to use my creative mind to innovate and become a leader in the creative design industry. I have role models that I would like to follow but I also need to have my own ideas. For this, I need to polish on design as communication so that I can sell my ideas to supporters, partners, teams and manufacturers.

Fostering Collaborative Teamwork for Alternative Solutions

I also plan to polish on how to prepare visual elements in the right context. Most design thinkers are stuck because of resources. I need a clear plan on how to garner funding and support for DT entrepreneurs. This is the best way for me to enforce what I have learnt in applied thinking. I will share ideas of what I have with my group, friends and families. I also know that time is a challenge so whether I end up working for a global organization or I venture into business; I will make use of my time for success. In my opinion, the reason why I have gone through the DT learning process is to prepare me to be a solution to the consumer needs in the market system. Therefore I will take calculated steps on campus and outside for creative developments using modern computer technology.

References

Amabile, T. M., & Julianna, P. (2012). Perspectives on the social psychology of creativity. The Journal of Creative Behavior , 3-15.

Australian Government. (2017, August 14). Plan & Start. Retrieved from business: https://www.business.gov.au/Info/Plan-and-Start

Barringer, B. R., & Ireland, R. D. (2016). Entrepreneurship: Successfully Launching New Ventures . Harlow, UK: Pearson.

Benedetto, C. A. (2015). Diffusion of Innovation (Vol. 13). Wiley Encyclopedia of Management.

Dieter, G. E., & Schmidt, L. C. (2013). Engineering design. McGraw Hill.

Glen, R., Suciu, C., Baughn, C. C., & Anson, R. (2015). Teaching design thnking in business schools. The International Journal of Management Education, 13(2), 182-192.

Gold, J. (2017, December 28). Visually. Retrieved Oct 2, 2017, from visual.ly:

https://visual.ly/community/infographic/environment/solving-global-warming-doing-something

Grant, A. (2016, February). The surprising habits of original thinkers. Retrieved from TED:

https://www.ted.com/talks/adam_grant_the_surprising_habits_of_original_thinkers

Jimenez-Jiminez, D, & Sanz-Valle, R. (2011). Innovation, Organizational Learning and Performance. Journal of Business Research, 408-417.

Levenson, N. (2011). Engineering a safer world: Systems thinking applied to safety. MIT Press.

Liedtka, J., & Ogilvie, T. (2011). Designing Growth: A design tool kit for managers. NY: Columbia University Press.

Rogers, Y., Sharp, H., & Preece, J. (2011). Interaction design: beyond human-computer interaction. John Wiley & Sons.

Sekeran, U., & Bougie, R. (2013). Research methods for business: A skill-building approach. West Sussex: John Wiley & Sons.

Shresta, C. (2017, September 30). Design It. Retrieved from Chandrashthakumar: https://chandrasthakumar.blogspot.co.ke/

Steinert, M., & Leifer, L. (2013). Dancing with ambiguity: Causality behavior, design thinking and triple-loop learning. Management of the fuzzy end of innovation, 141-158.

Vital, A. (2017). Being Creative. Retrieved from Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/739082988820035146/

Williams, K. C., & Page, R. A. (2011). Marketing to the generations. Journal of Behavioral Studies in Business, 1.

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