Design Thinking & Innovation Week September 2019

Woohoo, our FLA: Design Thinking & Innovation Week has started today. 30 innovators from 19 different cultures arrived in London to learn about technology, creativity, innovation and everything else London has to offer.

The day started from introductions and a quick workshop from Ekaterina Solomeina and Matias Ferrero, where we had a great discussion about differences in various design thinking methodologies and how to manage time when running an ambitious project..

After this, we met with Andrew Beckley from Impossible. He highlighted that we should stop thinking about user-centred design and start thinking about a planet-centric approach. He also explained how Impossible views sustainability through 3 lenses: Business (economical viability), People (Social Wellbeing) and Planet (environmental protection)

The day finished with a visit to Daniel Hirschman's Hirsch & Mann where we learnt about the power of creating emotional experiences. He explained how the retail landscape has changed and the purpose of a store is not necessarily selling products anymore. It could be learning about the product or a brand, building trust, finding out something new. For example, when you are trying to sell a very high tech product like a smart home device – it's too big of a leap for a non-tech person to buy it there and then. But it's a great opportunity to educate more people about how it can be used and enjoyed in a real-life scenario.

It’s Day 2 of FLA: Design Thinking & Innovators Week and we started with an insightful talk from Charly Lester, founder of Lumen dating app. She talked about "the invisible generation" – people over 50. Everyone is so obsessed with millennials and Gen Z, that when we think about someone 50+, we imagine a 70-year old. People actually look much younger now and have really exciting lives. They are also the most scammed demographic online so trust is key to creating a successful tech product.

The day continued with a talk from Sam Roth and Rupert Hill from Winnow – AI-powered solution that tackles food waste. Did you know that 1/3 food goes to waste, but every day 1 in 9 people goes to bed hungry? 

They also explained how they translated data on their platform into actionable insights: 
▲ context is king (for example saying that your food waste generates 2 tones of CO2 is very abstract. But if you say it's the same as driving a diesel car for 12 000 km it makes it more sense)
▲ keep it simple (users don't need to see all data you generate, so only show what's important. You can show more complex information to certain users only, e.g. financial department)
▲ comparison is important (show the progression, not just current state. What gets measured gets managed)

The day finished with a talk from Yasmin Borain from Publicis Sapient about creativity as our new currency. She explained how culture can't be forced on the company. Focus on people first, flexible working and transparency come after.

It's already Day 3 of our FLA: Design Thinking & Innovation Week and we started our adventures today with a great talk and a mini-workshop from Matias Ferrero from Fjord.

He shared his approach to structuring research through mindsets as a more dynamic alternative to personas. Mindsets are contextual ways to describe people's behaviour. The most important thing when defining mindsets is to make sure they are MECE: mutually exclusive and collectively exhaustive. Each mindset can account for several personas.

Next session of the day was from Will Kemble-Clarkson from O2 (part of Telefónica) who talked about how he looks at innovation through a combination of Systems Thinking, Cynefin Framework and Wardley Mapping. System Thinking helps to visualise the hidden silos, Wardley Mapping helps to focus on comparative areas of strengths and opponents weaknesses and Cynefin framework helps creating shared viewpoints for decision making.

The day finished with a talk from Ryan Garner from 11:FS who shared his research framework. He uses 3 types of tools to find an opportunity space during the exploration phase.
▲ Customer. Customer outcome-focused depth interviews plus indirect trade-off based surveys
▲ Competitor. Competitor jobs mapping and asymmetric competitor analysis
▲ Culture. Rabid ethnography and decoding cultural trends.
This approach leads to a wider range of opportunities that can then inform what Jobs To Be Done to focus on and what services customer will need the most.

Two more days to go, looking forward to learning more!

Time flies so fast when you are learning something new! It’s Day 4 of the FLA: Design Thinking & Innovation Week and today we learn about AI, research and doing good.

The day started with a talk from Victoria Peppiatt co-founder of Phrasee– an AI solution that can generate email subject lines based on your brand's tone of voice and increase open rates. AI is a very hot topic at the moment, but did you know that about 40% of Europe’s “AI companies” don’t use any AI at all?

Victoria's advice if you are thinking of building an AI solution. Considering using or building AI only if: 
▲ You have defined the problem you need to solve. 
▲ It will save you time or make you money (or both!)
▲ You have a clear control group to measure success

After this, we visited Sesh Vedachalam, Malina Keutel and Jan Hellemans from frog design, who talked how research synthesis (sensemaking) phase is often overlooked in the innovation process. To move from research to ideation, they go through 5 sub-stages:
▲ Observations (quotes, statistics, data points)
▲ Themes & patterns (generalisations, early insights)
▲ Insights (perceptions, provocations, needs)
▲ Frameworks (journey maps, design principles, archetypes)
▲ Concepts (ideas, solutions)

The day finished at Good Innovation where Daisy O'Reilly-Weinstock and Clara Maguire talked about the future of doing good. Daisy explained how the role of charities is changing. It already has moved away from "fixing hated businesses" and will only continue shifting towards collaboration and win-win partnerships.

Last day to go, so excited about more sessions tomorrow.

Can't believe it has been the last day of our FLA: Design Thinking & Innovation Week.

Day 5 started with quick presentations from the experts in the group about their ways of working; after which our curators Ekaterina Solomeina and Matias Ferrero facilitated an insights exchange session.

The day continued at Resurgo Ventures with a brilliant talk from Gordon Eichhorst about Impact Investing. Compared to traditional tech startup investing, Impact Investing has completely different goals – it's not about growing startup to a unicorn status and selling it to a tech giant; it's about building a for-profit business with measurable social outcomes. It's lower returns, but lower risk.

A great example of a company Resurgo Ventures incubated is Luminary Bakery, that helps women who experience poverty, homelessness or abuse get training, paid employment and a supportive community and help them thrive.

The next session of the day was from Catherine Greig from make:good about creating a truly inclusive environment for collaboration. She highlighted how we are all guilty as designers to use our own lingo like "workshops", "co-creating" and "participatory design" which can actually make a lot of people uncomfortable. So if you are trying to create a collaborative session, think first what would make people comfortable and what would make them uncomfortable – and it's usually very different from what you feel yourself. Sometimes offering "proper freshly ground coffee" makes people feel not welcome, as they would prefer to have "normal instant coffee" instead.

The day finished with a fantastic party at Second Home, where everyone had a chance to enjoy the view and raise a glass with 29 new friends from around the world.

It was a privilege to spend a week with such a great bunch of people and learn about innovation, service design and design for good. Let's stay in touch and until next time!

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