I have just read and will soon review The Reciprocity Advantage: A New Way to Partner for Innovation and Growth, co-authored by Bob Johansen and Karl Ronn, published by Berrett-Koehler (September 2015), Some of the most valuable material is provided in Chapter 11, “How to Learn by Experimenting with Many Open iterations.” You may recall similar coverage of this subject in two books written by Tom Kelley with Jonathan Littman, The Art of Innovation, The Ten Faces of Innovation, and then in Creative Confidence, co-authored with his brother, David. Also in Roger Martin’s The Design of Business.
Design thinking has been a major component of human initiatives for at least 3,000 years but until recently, it has not received the attention it deserves, except in undergraduate and graduate schools of design. For those who know little (if anything) about design thinking, here are what Johansen and Ronn suggest are the eight essential steps:
1. Frame the challenge: What is the killer issue to be resolved?
2. Brainstorm the issue: Create at least 100 ideas that address the given issue.
3. Assimilate: Through a process of rigorous evaluation and elimination, select 2-3 ideas to prototype.
4. Prototype solutions: Create crude models.
5. Share the models with potential users: Get specific feedback for each model.
6. Refine prototypes based on feedback and your group’s discussion: Make each better.
7. Share the refined prototypes again: Stay crude.
8. Share the prototypes with senior management: Obtain permission and commitment ($) to proceed.
Note: You can download a free tool kit for design thinking devised by the Kelleys and their associates at IDEO by clicking here.
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Bob Johansen is distinguished fellow at the Institute for the Future in Silicon Valley, where he helps top leaders around the world prepare for and shape the future. Bob works with corporations such as McKinsey, Tesco, UPS, Kellogg, Syngenta, and McDonald’s – as well as a range of major universities and non-profits. The Reciprocity Advantage is Bob’s ninth book. A social scientist by training, Bob holds a BS from the University of Illinois, where he played varsity basketball, and a PhD from Northwestern University.
Karl Ronn is the managing director of Innovation Portfolio Partners. Based in Palo Alto, he helps Fortune 500 companies create new businesses or helps entrepreneurs start category creating new companies. Previously, he was vice president of Research and Development and general manager of New Business for Procter & Gamble, where he was one of the key innovators behind Febreze, Swiffer, and Mr. Clean Magic Eraser. To learn more about The Reciprocity Advantage, please visit the book’s site by clicking here.