Thursday, December 15, 2011

SCAD, Design Thinking, & Pews

    The new differentiator in business is innovation. Thanks to my role at Chick-fil-A's corporate HQ, I had the chance to go through an innovation certification. In fact, just last night a group of us returned from spending three days at Savannah College of Art & Design, studying the creative thinking process they call design thinking.
    In general, you begin with walking a mile, so to speak, in the intended user's shoes. You go to the field and note details: specific actions, phrases, even facial expressions. You can take pictures or video clips, etc.
    Then you use that data to identify what problems/frustrations they might have and how you could solve them--especially those that they aren't verbalizing. There are many tools for this.
    Then you go through a series of exercises to generate a lot of ideas, then evaluate and combine your ideas. This is classic brainstorming. The problem is that most people only do this slice of the process when they want to be creative.
    Then you do a quick and dirty prototype of the idea and show it to others for feedback--try it out and learn from it. Lot's of ways to do this, too, from drawings to foam models to live improv (yes, like Who's Line Is It?).
    Then you "reframe". Before you finish, you go back to your core assumptions and rethink them all over again. This may result in a modest adjustment--or even starting the entire process over.
    NOTE: I'm trying to capture a two year degree program into a handful of sentences, so there's a lot more I'm sure I'm leaving out (in part because I don't know it myself).
    But a bonus feature of the trip was that each day we were in a different one of the more than 70 buildings that SCAD has purchased and restored in Savannah.
    The last one was an old nunnery/school (which is where Clarence Thomas was educated as a child, incidentally). Check out what they did to the room to make it more friendly and functional for creative dialogue and learning. I couldn't help but think that many old, dying churches should consider a layout like this. It wasn't just okay, it was actually very cool to do creative thinking in an ancient setting.
    They turned some of the pews in the back of the "church" around and put tables in between them. Plus, they put some cool pillows on the pews. That's not a weird idea or complicated. The building didn't need to be remodeled. But that simple switch completely changed the experience of the back half of the room.
    What simple changes could you make to your space to improve the experience in your church or your home?

No comments:

Post a Comment