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Design Thinking for Creative Confidence: A new way to solve workplace problems

"Creative confidence is about believing in your ability to create change. It isn't a rare gift for a select group of people, it's a natural part of human thinking."

Last week, we held an event that brought together top organizations in Chicago to discuss topics around HR, talent and growth. This meetup was part of our quarterly series called Mindful Growth. In our latest session, which was hosted at the University of Notre Dame Chicago Campus, we covered innovative ways of thinking outside-the-box to solve workplace problems. Here's a glimpse into the event:

What is Design Thinking? 

To kick-off the session, Wendy Angst, professor of organizational development at the University of Notre Dame, shed light on what design thinking is and why it's important.

Wendy explained that design thinking helps businesses better identify, understand and address the problems that impact organizations and their customers. It values solutions over processes, and creativity and innovation over traditions.

Design thinking matters because it provides a human-centered, action-oriented approach to solving problems. For example, a hospital was looking to improve patient experience. In order to come up with a solution, doctors brainstormed a different strategy by putting themselves in the patient's shoes. They tried to see things from the patient's perspective-literally. The outcome? Beautiful paintings where the patients could see them best- on the ceiling! This type of unexpected breakthrough without spending too much time, effort or money on one idea is exactly what design thinking is all about.

Putting design thinking into action

Once we learned about the impact of design thinking and it's importance to organizations, it was time to brainstorm and put it into action. Groups tackled how to reimagine experiences in the workplace to solve and address important issues. Topics like creating robust training for leaders, instituting organizational changes, increasing brand recognition, attracting talent and improving employee engagement were discussed.

We explored how design-thinking can help differentiate products or services to stand out from competitors. When organizations put design thinking at the core of effective strategy and development, it can spark organizational change. Design thinking can also help charter new discoveries by applying the principles of design to the way people work. And the results speak for themselves. As Wendy explained at the event, design-centric organizations like Apple, Starwood, Starbucks, Coca Cola and Pepsi have 200% more ROI than non-design thinking competitors. At the event, we practiced "design sprints" to generate ideas that apply to our organizations.

For more information on design thinking and it's impact on business, check out HBR's "Design Thinking Comes of Age," or Forbes Magazine's, "Innovation Saves the World."

Interested in attending our next meet up? Email