Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Design Thinking Builds Strong Teams

The Nielsen Norman Group has a drafted a terrific blog post titled, "Design Thinking Builds Strong Teams."  They argue that design thinking accelerates the process of building common ground for a team, and thereby enhances team effectiveness.   Here is an excerpt:

Teams are the foundation of a successful workplace. But working in teams can have a fairly large cost: members must spend time building common ground — that is, a body of common knowledge, assumptions, vocabulary, and cultural practices. In strong teams, the common ground has already been established and the overhead of communication is outweighed by the benefits of collaboration. As a result, these teams are able to be not only efficient, but also produce high-quality, fruitful outputs.

How does design thinking create common ground?  They argue that it provides team members with a  shared vocabulary.  Second, the design thinking process produces what they call "tangible artifacts" that facilitate shared understanding and productive conversation - artifacts such as storyboards, wireframes, and prototypes.  Finally, design thinking creates trust within a team because it values everyone's contribution, minimizes the traditional emphasis on hierarchy and status, and encourages all to speak up and express dissenting views.  

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