Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Five Collaboration Skills from The Design Gym

The Design Gym is an organization that conducts workshops about the design thinking process. Recently, they posted a great piece on their blog regarding the "five core collaboration skills." Here's a recap:

1. Yes, AND

A key principle of improv comedy.  You accept what others say, and they you build upon their ideas.  You don't criticize in the early phases of the creative process.   You defer judgment. 

2. Open vs. Close

Opening a collaborative process correctly makes it much easier to achieve closure effectively.  Opening well means achieving clear alignment on the goals upfront, and then giving people voice in the process so that they feel that their input has been heard and considered. 

3. Keep it Visual

A picture is worth a thousand words.  Don't just discuss ideas.  Sketch them. Draw storyboards.  Create diagrams and tables to help communicate concepts.

4. Needs over Solutions

Don't jump the gun and offer solutions before you understand the true needs of the user.  Focus on the struggles and the "pain points" of the user, and be open to multiple ways to address those needs.

5. Testing over Talking

Experiment. Experiment. Experiment.  Don't debate forever about the merits or the pitfalls of a particular idea.  Instead, conduct a simple test.  Let the data speak.   Rapid iterations in the experimentation process work much more effectively than lengthy deliberations. 


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