IN HIS book, “Choosing Courage”, Professor Jim Detert says, there are a host of qualities that effective leaders should model if they want to influence others and deliver truly positive outcomes. But chief among these is the willingness and ability to act courageously -- with competence.
Detert, who is a professor at the Darden School of Business, University of Virginia, where I took some courses on design thinking, emphasizes the need to be bold and courageous aside from being competent as a trait of a leader who drives outcomes.
Today, I see around me leaders, who may not be extraordinary but are inspiringly brave to push their ideas to the frontlines. And I envy these leaders, both in the public and private sector, around the world. Our vista of inspiration today is magnified by the digital highway so we can learn from other thought leaders around the globe in various fields.
One bold step I have assisted these past few months is the WISER program. The Western Visayas Regional Office of the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) under the leadership of Director Mario Cunado seeks to engage all provinces in the region in creating collaboration platforms. One such platform is a functional and dynamic information and communications technology (ICT) council.
For this purpose, we have designed a program I dub as Western Visayas ICT Stakeholders Empowerment and Resiliency Program (Wiser). Its aim is to understand, inventory and review the nature, models and level of engagement and responsiveness of various ICT councils, organizations or associations in Western Visayas. It also seeks to immerse stakeholders in design thinking activities such as stakeholders mapping and brainstorming to identify targets, problem areas, and concerns, and to identify major strategies to strengthen and sustain the ICT councils, organizations or associations. In short, Western Visayas seeks to become wiser.
I believe those who embrace design thinking as an approach to solving today's problems are courageous leaders. They believe that their competence lies in the ability to harness the competence of others to be part of the solution rather than the problem. To be part of the conversation, rather than useless discourses.
Tim Brown, founder of IDEO, defines design thinking as a human-centered approach to innovation that draws from the designer's toolkit to integrate the needs of people, the possibilities of technology, and the requirements for business success.
IDEO emphasize that design thinking simultaneously considers what is desirable from a human point of view, what is technologically feasible, and what is economically viable, and it holds tremendous potential for tackling some of the world's most challenging problems, but in order to realize that potential, we need a critical mass of trained design thinking leaders.
Professor Jeanne Liedtka of the Darden School of Business emphasizes the importance of examining, understanding and exploring the lives and the problems of the people to whom our company or organization aims to generate value through our products and our services before we start to create these products and services or in order to continually improve them.
Hence, design thinking is commonly referred to as user-driven design. It adopts customer validation and market research methodologies that are not necessarily scientific and systematic but are qualitative, and empathetic.
According to the Design Council of the UK, design thinking involves 4 D's, namely, discover, define, develop and deliver. To discover is to explore and challenge your assumptions, discover the questions you should be asking and gather the data. To define is to identify and define the real problem by analyzing data and reviewing findings, develop and deliver. To develop involves considering and exploring a number of possible solutions to the clearly defined problem. To deliver is when the best possible solutions are brought forward and prototyped with an iterative approach involving end-users.
A dream I wish to happen is to see many design thinkers get elected in 2022 across the country. Let us pray for this.
August 13, 2021
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