Perspectives On Design Thinking

7 Qualities of a Design Thinker

While many people have a natural aptitude for design thinking, others can unlock their latent abilities with right coaching. This will help them achieve greater success. Here are some characteristics that make a design thinker:

Active Listener
Listening with mutual respect and fearless exploration helps develop inquiry and conflict resolution skills. Design Thinkers ask hard questions and listening fearlessly to the answers. This facilitates dialogue and creates an environment where all participants can search for solutions without undue emotion and conflict. Listening helps reframe difficult questions and allows the team to identify root cause challenges.

Empathetic
Design thinkers can imagine the world from multiple perspectives — those of colleagues, clients, end users, and customers (existing and prospective). Great design thinkers observe the world in minute detail. They notice things that others do not and use their insights to inspire innovation.The “people first” approach helps come up with solutions that meet stated and unstated needs.

Learner & Sharer
A design thinker is an explorer, not an authoritarian. He is eager to learn and share knowledge. Design thinkers help their teams be more self-awareand take advantage of each member’s greatest strengths, rather than highlighting weaknesses.

Democratic & High Integrity
Giving and receiving feedback isn’t easy, especially considering that people can quickly fall into defensive modes of behavior and feel ill at ease. Design thinking leaders make it safe to critique ideas, but keep the focus on the process and work, rather than personal views.

Conflict Resolver
When faced with differing ideas, a design thinker adopts ‘curious confrontation,’ which is receiving differing ideas with the desire to investigate each one independently and learn. Leaders keep business conflicts constructive and embrace conflict.

Story-teller
Design thinkers embrace ambiguity and seek opportunities to use modeling, sketching, and storytellingin order to be better understood. Prototypes are typically used to test ideas at various stages of fidelity in order to get meaningful feedback from stakeholders. Design thinkers constantly test their ideas.

Embraces Vulnerability
Design thinkers demonstrate the ability to be vulnerable. Vulnerability requires a higher level of strength and courage, including an ability to accept one’s own mistakes and weaknesses. Design thinkers demonstrate this ability and hence are more trusted and convincing.

In a nutshell:

Active Listener
Empathetic
Learner & Sharer
Democratic & High Integrity
Conflict Resolver
Story-teller
Embraces Vulnerability

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