EVOLVING LEAN DESIGN THINKING BY EXPLORING SKILLS FOR INNOVATION THROUGH DESIGN

Researched by Marie Baartmans and Marijn Struik of Happyland Collective

 

Through conducting a research about Lean Startup and Design Thinking we became aware of the fact that a designer can, besides designing the product, also design the process. How to arrange the context in such a way that the implementation of the product will be more serviceable and effective? Design in general is quite focused on content, where Design Thinking and Lean Startup are both more focused on designing processes and the combination of design skills and process/social skills you need for this. This research gives us the tools to bring landscape architecture not to the end product but to the beginning of the process. Therefore other skills are needed and in that way the theory of Lean Startup and Design Thinking on entrepreneurial and social skills forms a guide for broadening our scope.

 

The research builds upon earlier conceptual investigations conducted by Dr. Ronald M. Müller and Katja Thoring (Müller & Thoring, 2012). They compared and integrated the essence and processes of two user-driven innovation strategies, Design Thinking and Lean Startup. The outcome is a combination of both strategies, which is called Lean Design Thinking (Müller & Thoring, 2012). The knowledge gap we address in this research is that the current state of the development of lean design thinking does not yet clearly define which skills are needed when using the integrated process of this method to come to innovation through design. To divide the general skills from the skills for innovation through design (Lean Startup and Design Thinking), the framework of design skills by Lawson (2005) was used as a basis.

 

The concluding list of skills (see image) evolves the method of Lean Design Thinking by helping to clearly define what skills are needed when using the integrated process of Lean Design Thinking to come to innovation through design. Generally the research is significant, because it leads to a sophistication of Lean Design Thinking and addresses certain gaps. The research shows that skills in entrepreneurship and social skills that are also important factors in design that need to be taken into account. Besides this important critique on the framework of Lawson, it is doubtful whether the integrated list of skills under for example iteration can be considered too broad for a good understanding. Another factor that needs to be taken into account is that formulating and moving were by far the most important categories. It could be argumented that the other categories are not that important when it comes to the combination of design and entrepreneurship.

 

How someone should use these innovation skills is very personal and has to do with the field in which the design skills are developed and used. For us – as landscape architects – the most valuable outcome of the research was the realization of the importance of entrepreneurial thinking as a first step for initiating and facilitating projects or starting up a business. Thus we see the envisioned outcomes of the research in that way that landscape architects already learn how to think and design for innovation, but as the field is changing we need to develop the skills to undertake the action needed to come to innovation through design.

 

Concluding list of skills for Lean Design Thinking. Please note that the text marked in black represents Design Thinking skills, the blue text marks the Lean Startup skills and the text marked in red indicates the similarities.

Concluding list of skills for Lean Design Thinking. Please note that the text marked in black represents Design Thinking skills, the blue text marks the Lean Startup skills and the text marked in red indicates the similarities.