Can you think of times when using a little more “design thinking” in an unexpected challenge, project presentation, or important meeting might have changed your project outcomes?
To design, make or be anything great, we’ve got to simultaneously navigate all kinds of challenges: technical to human, individual to organizational, in-the-moment to long-term.
There are wonderful processes for all those challenges. I’ve had the opportunity [read: necessity] to learn many as a design practitioner, leader, coach and parent. Like big maps, it can be hard to have just the right processes on hand, unfold them, find the right section and follow them.
The wonderful mindsets these processes cultivate can elude us, too, when all those challenges are on our minds.
However, I’ve noticed that similar fundamental questions drive different processes and people that enable innovation.
Successful innovators—design thinkers, agile developers, tinkerers, “accidental geniuses” and all of us—have a powerful compass when we’re innovating in our work and lives.
After lots of experimentation, I’ve come to visualize it like this:
We’re able to see the see past, present, and future in new ways—from details to big picture—by keeping people involved at the center and exploring these four aspects:
—even if we don’t realize these things, start in different places, use different approaches or call them different things.
I’ve experimented with lots of ideas (approaches, materials, and on) to intuitively, flexibly invoke this compass. Eventually, it occurred to me: What if this “compass” oriented a powerfully simple, tangible workspace?
Below are examples of people using the Innovators’ Compass “on paper.”
The new MURAL Innovators' Compass framework will offer people fantastic new flexibility of time, location and positioning as they use it.
You'll find the Compass in the left-hand toolbar of MURAL under "Frameworks > Design." Just drag it out onto a mural to get started immediately.
When you’re doing anything that doesn't quite feel like what you’d ideally design, or just doing anything, take the compass for a quick spin.
What are your observations? Principles? Ideas? First experiment? Observations as you try that experiment? You can use the bulleted questions under “Principles” or the MURAL workspace above for further guidance, or check out the example, tips and resources below.
Try it once a day for a week. Then notice: how does this relate to your ways of navigating? How does it feel to be mindful of your observations, principles, and experiments in anything you do? Do patterns start to pop out?
Using the Innovators' Compass in these little ways is a great warm-up for using it bigger groups and bigger ways.
Ultimately you can use it at different levels:
As sub-challenges come up, we can start a new compass or add smaller compasses around our big one.
We can also complement it with many of the other fantastic frameworks available in MURAL that offer greater detail for a quadrant, such as:
Your Compass work is a great foundation for any of these!
Learn more at innovatorscompass.org. There you'll find: