• Carol Wong

Design Thinking for Exponentials

I am harnessing the power of combining Design Thinking with Exponential Organizations (ExO) to think exponentially in exploring all possibilities.

First, let us begin with understanding the implications of exponential technologies. Today we are in the world of digitalization and digitization of IR 4.0. In the future, we will be in the world of IR 5.0 where human intelligence works in harmony with cognitive computing power enabling mass personalization. It means what we used to think impossible is now made possible by leveraging exponential technologies. For example, making libraries accessible to underserved communities by delivering books to them using drones.

Therefore, design thinking for exponentials will require you to shift your mindset from linear thinking to exponential thinking. Begin to understand the implications of exponential technologies on your business and organization. Digitize and disrupt yourself before someone else disrupts your business.

The following are the key steps that you can consider in designing for exponentials:

1. Define your massive transformative purpose (MTP)

You can begin by Defining Your Purpose and Your Emotional Needs. What do you hope to achieve for yourself personally and for your organization? What are the massive problems that you are trying to solve? Who are the people (inside and outside your organization) that you are trying to impact? Who are the people (not related to you personally) that you are trying to change? How many lives are you going to change? What drives your passion for excellence?

2. Reframe your problem statement

This step is for you to gain a deep empathetic understanding of the problems or pain points so that you can better synthesize your initial understanding of the problem. There are three ways of gaining empathy: 1. Observing people and their behaviors in the context of their lives. 2. Immersing yourself to learn the experience. 3. Engaging with the person for you to gain deep insights. You can also take this opportunity to assess the magnitude of the problem and to reframe the problem into your initial point-of-view.

3. Generate and select your idea for experimentation

You can launch into ideation by breaking your point-of-view into short questions using "How Might We?" (HMW) questions. HMW questions enable the seeding of a range of solution possibilities that you can take action. As you generate ideas, exponential thinking is needed so that you can explore ideas that leverage exponential technologies using ExO attributes to access and manage abundance for scalability.

4. Experiment with your idea

Solution ideas look good unless they fit the problem. How do you know if there is a problem-solution fit or not? After ideation, you can conduct rapid experimentation to validate or invalidate the problem-solution fit. You can plan for your experiment by first identifying your solution assumption for validation or invalidation. The solution assumption is determined based on your initial point-of-view or hypothesis. The experimentation is to evaluate the solution assumption. I recommend building a rough prototype of your solution idea so that testers can experience, touch, and feel. You can observe and engage with your testers to obtain feedback on your prototype and to validate or invalidate your solution assumption.

5. Iterate and implement your idea

Based on the learnings and insights gathered from the experimentation, you can iterate your problem-solution fit and continue to experiment until your idea becomes a workable solution. You can continue to develop your conceptual solution using the Lean Startup methodology that uses Business Model Canvas, Customer Development, and Agile Processes. Throughout the process of developing the product-market fit, you will continue to be guided by your MTP and ExO model for exponential growth.

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