Late last year I did some work with a creative studio, thinking through roles, techniques for writing and presentation, and generally brainstorming their creative trajectory as a working organisation. This work was done under the banner of my private consultancy, Archimentor (www.archimentor.com.au). I puzzled over this work to some extent, as I seem to have launched Archimentor without knowing precisely what it is or does. All I did know for sure was that the work was fascinating, the results satisfying and the process of 'following my nose' quite rewarding. This was due in no small part to the head of the studio in question, who was tremendously supportive, inquisitive and a creative powerhouse of formidable abilities.
Recently things have come into focus somewhat, and I think I am now in a position to pin down exactly what we were up to, all of us together. I think we were engaging in a process of design thinking, the application of the techniques of design to a business context, coupled with building the design skills and capacity of the team as applied to what was perhaps less familiar territory: their work processes and roles, rather than their commissions. Writing and taking the design initiative were two topics that received some attention in our sessions.
Design thinking is undoubtedly a buzz phrase at this time. Nevertheless I can see its potential, and I can also see the seeds of something enduring amongst the hype. The techniques of design represent a potentially powerful method of problem definition, resolution or solution. Design thinking can establish pathways for alternative and unexpected types of investigation, and yield results that are equally unexpected and well-suited to their application.
I can see how businesses of all types could benefit from the techniques of design thinking, but I don't want to get carried away with definitions at this formative stage. Strangely, I have enjoyed the organic and slightly shambolic evolution of my consulting sideline to date; it forms a smaller subset of my own creative practice in architecture and design, and I am yet to bring the many strands together. In the meantime I would like to see my strange sideline continue to evolve, and I am not in a hurry to pin it down. At least, not yet.
Check out www.archimentor.com.au for some more clues. Comments and insights are welcome.