Do you know what Design Thinking is?

Leitura de 4min

Organizational and entrepreneurial consultant Maria Augusta Orofina, a pioneer and key figure in development of innovative business models and design thinking in Brazil, explains: “Reaching solutions for increasingly complex problems requires a dynamic action starting with the analysis of various ideas, translating them into viable proposals that make sense to people.”

With the experience of one who has trained and enabled more than 6500 in the last six years on the topic of innovation and business models—and she has a Master’s degree in Knowledge Management with extension courses completed at Duke University, UC Berkeley (United States) and the University of Barcelona—Maria Augusta believe that the application of the Design Thinking approach would result in innovative solutions never thought of before. Check out the consultant’s interview with Panorama magazine:

What is Design Thinking?

Design Thinking is an approach to idea creation that allows for agile, innovative solutions. Thus, by providing collaborative environments, new ideas and process improvements can emerge, uncensored and freely. In short, it is geared towards solving problems and generating value by identifying and meeting the needs of the people. Institutions that adopt this approach are continually redesigning their processes with an eye toward innovation and effectiveness.

How could this approach help to improve Brazilian cities?

Reaching solutions to increasingly complex problems requires a dynamic action starting with the analysis of various ideas, translating them into viable proposals that make sense to people. If approached this way, Design Thinking represents a new way of learning that stimulates the consideration of a variety of propositions so that the best solution emerges naturally.

This approach could help improve Brazilian cities starting by forming and stimulating the emergence of study groups focused on the city’s problems so that, in a collaborative way, the residents can share their assessments and opinions, whether in person or through digital platforms.”

How could society participate in discussing the problems and proposing ideas?

By encouraging the participation of civil society in the idea generation process for the solution to complex problems.. For example: by creating a digital portal so that people can have space to express their opinions and, at the same time, track the improvements made starting from their proposals, promoting a sense of belonging on the part of the population.

Each individual has experiences, relates with other people, and offers strategic information that should be valued. The collaborative construction of solutions consists in organizing the information, applying the collective knowledge, and knowing when and how to use it in the form of problem resolution.”

How could Design Thinking cause municipal planning to evolve?

I don’t follow the process of municipal planning, but I am sure that the Design Thinking approach could help a lot. It considers three basic pillars: 1. Practicality – What is possible to apply in the near future; 2. Viability – What can be implemented sustainably at the institution; 3. Desirability – What makes sense to people. Imagine that in the municipal administration. It makes total sense.

What are the challenges for the effective use of Design Thinking in municipal government administration?

That is still in its infancy both in Brazil and worldwide. To effectively adopt the Design Thinking approach, we have to have smart cities,connected by platforms. In these cities the technologies become incidental to the human being. To promote people’s engagement, we need agile, effective connections on any public road. That way, the average citizen can contribute at any time via applications or other means.

Is there any case of applying the Design Thinking approach to public administration?

As an example in Brazil, there is the  Gávea urbanization project, in the Zona Sul neighborhood of Rio, called Parque Urbano Inteligente da Gávea (Smart Urban Park of Gávea), or the Puig Project. This project is set up as an urban park based on smart cities, integrating technological development and social development to generate quality of life and well-being for society. Overseas, there is a very successful experiment in the city of New York, with the creation of online platforms such as a permanent contact channel between the city and its residents gathering, analyzing, and occasionally applying feedback.

What about you? Are you familiar with design thinking? Do you want to tell us about an innovative project that has brought solutions to your city or workplace? Let’s talk!