Getting Powerful Buy-in for Design Thinking Ideas
In a world with an ever-increasing number of technological advancements, greater opportunities for modernization, and more complex challenges and risks, the Government understands the importance of new and transformational ideas to solve its biggest problems. Design thinking is taking an increasingly bigger role in how the U.S. Government approaches innovative new ideas, including within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). As with any multi-stakeholder organization, though, getting buy-in for a design thinking concept can be difficult.
So, how can you make sure your design thinking ideas don’t fall flat before they even pick up steam? The process often involves incorporating new methods in bits and pieces, rather than attempting a full-scale shift in culture. Getting buy-in early through smaller steps can lead to the gradual, yet powerful, long-term commitment design thinkers look for.
Some ways the Government can implement design thinking on projects where buy-in may be hard to achieve are:
Innovate but don’t re-invent the wheel — The best way to introduce design thinking in an organization is to think small. Little fixes can really emphasize the power of human-centered thinking. Beginning with smaller examples can make a big difference down the road, whereas a large and ambitious design thinking rollout may cause greater uncertainty and, therefore, fail quickly
Apply design thinking to the right problems — Not every problem out there can be solved with a design thinking mindset. Use DT techniques to define the problem. If there is already extensive research and data in place, sometimes an analytical approach is a better path forward. Seek out problems in environments where humans tend to drive the problem and research why previous approaches failed
Select a diverse, open team — People that work better with creative, blank slate projects and collaborate efficiently in a group environment can really carry a design thinking mindset forward. Combine those that have credibility in the organization and the open mindset to think about the problem differently. The right entry team helps empower the rest of an organization to adopt a new approach
Design thinking has the capacity to change the way the Government scales up new ideas in a big way. The case studies and research are there to showcase it, but the challenge requires a unique approach at every turn.
Getting started can be the biggest hurdle. A balanced approach that intrigues problem solvers and doesn’t scare off the risk-averse can make the biggest long-term impact.