Don’t feel left out if you don’t know what “design thinking” is. It is a discipline that uses designer’s methods to match people’s needs and really give a group of people what they need before they know that they need it.
Associations and chambers can generally be classified as human-centered businesses. This requires you to focus on human-centered thinking and strategy. Your organization should already have a strategy concerning how to continually move forward and what your main purpose is as an organization. If you don’t, stop reading right here and go create one. In an information-saturated world, you need to think a step ahead and be more creative than everyone else vying for your audience’s attention.
- Define the Challenge.
The most important step of design thinking is defining the right problem to solve. It will outline your path and help you craft your message and actions. What does this look like? Well, in a membership-based organization, this may look like creating a fresh fundraising idea, advocating better for your members, or increasing activity and conversation on your social media websites.
- Create Options and Determine What Success Looks Like.
Don’t try and solve a problem the same way every time. Design thinking is about thinking “outside the box” and creating many possible solutions. Looking at a problem from more than one perspective always yields richer results. Design thinking suggests that better answers arise when more people work on a problem. Five people brainstorming and working on a problem during a one-hour dedicated session will yield better results than one person accruing ideas over five days. Within your team, create an idea incubator that allows ideas to grow without criticism. Have clearly defined goals. What drives your organization? Earning more revenue? Building your brand and reputation? Whatever you decide it is, take actions that reinforce that and can result with a concrete and measurable goal. Set long-term goals as well as short-term goals. Determine the way you will measure goal completion. Be realistic. Lastly, commit to an action plan and stick to it.
- Refine Your Selected Ideas and Take Action.
Once your team has a defined direction and goal, the next natural step is to take action. How do you start? Well, begin by breaking down your plan into manageable steps and assign tasks. List out the short-term action items you can take to implement your plan and create realistic items. Next, schedule progress meetings to keep your team accountable for their responsibilities and reconnect with the group.
- Evaluate Your Success.
Implementing your plan and solution may look different and result in a variety of action items. This may mean something as simple as pressing send on an email or something more complicated and intricate like launching a new website or finally setting up a social media page. Use defined success metrics to evaluate your plan and develop a way to move forward. Whether this is evaluating click-through rates on an email or membership retention numbers, stick to your key performance metrics.
You don’t have to be a designer to succeed with “design thinking.” Empathy, collaboration, imagination, risk-taking, and optimism are all very valuable traits. This repeatable process will yield guaranteed results when complete. That’s why design thinking is an attractive and dynamic methodology for organizations today.
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