A couple of weeks ago I participated in a “Design in Business” course run by Enterprise Architects , co-created with DesignChain and facilitated by the inimitable Helen Palmer.

A couple of weeks ago I participated in a “Design in Business” course run by Enterprise Architects , co-created with DesignChain and facilitated by the inimitable Helen Palmer.
I had previously undertaken some reading in Design Thinking and started a MOOC on the subject which I didn’t complete, so I wasn’t going in completely blind but I wanted to see how this (concept, framework, method) would assist in my role as a knowledge manager. I think I came out with so much more…


Day 1 started with introductions and my 8 co-participants were a diverse group of enterprise architects, small business owners, project managers, knowledge managers and people who work in the NFP sector. All came with different needs for their learning; and ideas, challenges and problems that they hoped could be aided by some new skills.


According to Tim Brown, CEO of IDEO, Design Thinking is “a discipline that uses the designer’s sensibility and methods to match people’s needs with what is technologically feasible and what a viable business strategy can convert into customer value and market opportunity.” ¹


So, how can knowledge management utilise these processes & design thinking in general?
Many organisations struggle to separate knowledge management from IT and document management. They challenge seems to be explaining the differences and value to the end user. What this course provided was a method to ensure an understanding of the human element and defining the problem that knowledge management is trying to solve.
Design thinking starts with “desirability”; putting people at the centre of the problem to be solved. Knowledge management should be doing the same, ensuring that you gain a deep understanding of your stakeholder’s needs.

What the course offers is a pragmatic hands-on approach to design thinking and ‘wicked’ problem solving. Using a real world, current ‘problem’ to solve, the course allowed us, as a team, to discover and define a possible solution using some really useful exploration methods.


The three teams came up with some pretty detailed solutions and given our diverse backgrounds, all three solutions were quite different.

Even better, the course has provided me with other ways to understand the problems my knowledge management users have, to help me delve deeper into the challenges they face and allow us to find better solutions collaboratively.

  • Artefact analysis
  • Empathy mapping
  • Journey mapping
  • 2×2 grids
  • Story / Image boards
  • Critique circles

If you have been considering “design thinking’ as a notion, looking for different ways to understand your business challenges, or even have a ‘wicked’ problem to solve then I would recommend this course. And on top of all that, that it was fun!

Author
Ged Roberts

Applied Business Architecture