Quality decision process
The Rochester Institute of Technology says,
"Design Thinking is a user-centered, creative and collaborative problem solving methodology. It is also a set of attitudes and a way of thinking."
It is an iterative process of interdisciplinary teams, which are focussed on empathy for the benefit of the end user.
3-D Thinking is a development of Design Thinking incorporating the innovation, sustainability and 3E sweet spots and the values hierarchy of the Quality Decision Process. These are powerful tools to understand problems from multiple perspectives.
Use 3-D Thinking to rapidly develop prototypes with your team for user feedback and further iterations. This cycle ensures the user gets what they need. As such it is mutually beneficial for the designing organisation and the end user. A true win-win!
Quality Decision Process
A Quality Decision Process (QDP) helps you to manage risk, improve compliance from all stakeholders, and maximise your return on the resources used.
This process can be used in personal, business, education and community contexts for decisions large and small.
A QDP helps us understand our biases (decision traps) allowing us to more objectively make an informed decision.
By assigning a hierarchy to your values you are able to judge the quality of decisions as you make them to select the best alternative and negotiate uncertainty.
Solving Complex Problems
A problem is the gap between the current situation and the desired outcome. The gap contains seemingly irreconcilable values and other incompatible elements. The more conflict, the bigger the gap and the more complex the problem.
For example, a city council needs to increase population density in order to reduce urban expansion, while at the same time it needs to reduce carbon emissions to comply with environmental regulations. How do we increase the density and reduce pollution while maintaining services for a bigger population? Or, How do I live more sustainably while doing all the things I enjoy?
How is the tension between competing values reconciled?
How can you be certain that you are solving the right problem?
How do you deal with the uncertainty inherent in the problem?
How do you simplify the complexity to make it manageable?
Group Decision Making
Diverse groups are the most dynamic problem solvers. They create the most innovative solutions. The best are interdisciplinary, but this can create conflict.
Because diversity creates a difference of opinion, diverse groups have the potential to silo ideas (idea ownership). Fixed ownership of ideas undermines collaboration. How do we fix this?
How do you manage a diverse decision group to ensure the most effective problem solving while at the same time maintaining cohesiveness?
How do you build a culture of organisational decision quality?
Apart from furthering your organisation's or community's goals, there are many intangible benefits associated with organisational decision quality, such as improved relationships, morale, motivation, loyalty and more.
Navigating the maze of leadership can be a challenge at the best of times but when you throw in the extra complexity of managing a decision team, the task's complexity soars.
Apart from basic people and project management tasks, leaders need to help team members acquire problem solving and decision skills in a way that creates open and creative dialogue avoiding idea ownership.
If decision leadership is done correctly the benefits for the organisation long outlive the dissolution of the team.
Imposter Syndrome (IS) is a relatively new field in the area of behavioural studies and it is surprising how many people it affects.
Do you hear yourself say "Fooled them again!" when you succeed, have nagging doubts that you will be "found out" or believe "If I can do it anybody can"?
IS disproportionately affects people of above average intelligence, minorities, women, academics and artists. That said, it can affect everyone, even the most intelligent man in the world who dropped out of college because he did not fit in!
Critical and Lateral Thinking
Contemporary problem solving research suggests that both types of thinking are important in equal measure (another reason to have diverse personalities on a problem solving team).
Divergent/lateral thinking is used to develop creative solutions, and convergent/critical Thinking to refine and identify the solutions that best satisfy the innovation sweet spot and the three pillars of sustainability.
Our formal schooling channelled us into a convergent and critical path. Both forms of thinking complement each other like two strands of the double helix.
Curiosity and Creativity workshops are a great way to rediscover divergent/lateral/creative thinking and improve problem solving. In addition they are excellent for team building, as well as being a lot of fun.
Ethical and Sustainable Decisions
Why do good people do bad things?
The suppression of data that led to Thalidomide scandal, the Ford Pinto disaster, the Lehman Brothers collapse, and the Rwandan, Yugoslavian and Nazi Germany genocides are just some of the corporate and social case studies where good people went with the flow, following unethical decisions.
What organisational structures create such an environment?
Why are whistleblowers often vilified?
Sustainable decisions respect society, economics and the environment. In short they value the entire decision ecosystem. Consequently sustainable decisions best meet our long-term objectives.
Ethical decision making affects orginisations of every size from two people, to families, corporations and countries.
In our downloadable bibliography and other sources you will find a vast range of material which has influenced our thinking and we have woven into the fabric of our processes.
In particular Angela Duckworth's non-IQ characteristics, Anders Erickson's work on talent, Carol Dweck's Mindset theory, Terry Sejnowski's neurology research, Howard Gardiner's Multiple Intelligences and Daniel Goleman's Emotional Intelligence theory (to name a few) have been especially influential.
Periodically we discuss these influences and others in the blog.