I’ve been thinking about the whole approach we are adopting to design thinking as the Whistler retreat approaches. We started a journey on this at the same location last year and we are currently shifting into a formal method with associated tools and training. In our initial work we contrasted the general SenseMaker® to distribute both ethnography (discovery of need) with ideation (identification od solutions) on the one hand with the more linear approach you see in IDEO and others where the expert (or these days the certified practitioner) is responsible for both.
Thinking about it I realised there were more options and the two by two matrix here is a first attempt to define approaches. Basically I have taken a key distinction between the role of ‘expert’ and a ‘distributed’ capability and applied it to both ideation and ethnography. By distributed I mean using multiple, cognitively, behaviourally and culturally diverse groups working independently of each other (wisdom of crowds) to reduce bias and pattern entrainment as well as to increase the possibility of outlier identification and novelty.
To be clear this is a both/and not an either/or approach. It allows me to identify four types of practice that apply in different circumstances. For the context setting I added the ideas of unknown and knowable from Cynefin and elsewhere. So that allows us four conditions for which different approaches apply.
I’m going to be playing with this over the next few months and refining it – interested in other views
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