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So that brilliant idea of yours isn't the only version of it under the sun, but that's okay (most new ideas aren't) you're pouring everything you have in to making it real because you believe it is the one and true answer to the problem at hand.
A this point, killing that good idea could very well be a good idea.
It's easy to fall in love with an idea. And when we're not mindful of process, and spend our energy worrying about whether we'll be successful and on budget and on time (not that those are bad things, they're very important), we can also fall in love too early with an idea, simply out of fear. The mental or organizational dialog goes something like this: "This one is good, and we're in a rush, so let's go do it.". Early closure is the enemy of innovation. Better to move fast through lots of ideas early, throwing most of them out in the process, than to hone down to one in the very early days, polishing it to perfection in the vague hope that it is The One (Illustration by Daniel Haskett for SSIR).
We’ve posted some stories here about the value of design thinking—also known as human-centered design (HCD). Today, approaching both event-fundraising management and event creation from the perspective of a designer—that is to say, empathize, define, ideate, prototype, test—is increasingly becoming recognized as the most effective way to develop solutions that work. And now, for those of you who want to learn more about the method—and connect with other’s who are using it successfully—there’s IDEO.org’s recently launched HCD Connect.
Last week on the event fundraising blog, I wrote about why event fundraisers need design thinking. Design thinking is a method centered on innovating through the eyes of the constituent--be it the consumer of your microfinance services or a participant in your fundraising event--and as such encourages in-the-field research that builds empathy for people, which results in deeper insights about their unmet needs. This focus helps avoid the common problem of enthusiastic “outsiders” promoting inappropriate solutions and ensures that solutions are rooted in the needs and desires of the community.
Three simple questions have helped launched ideas as important as the Red Cross' Blood Donor System and the home defibrillator. And they may also be the three most important questions you can ask yourself before launching a new event fundraising initiative: What does our target audience desire? What is technically and organizationally feasible? And, what can be financially viable?
“Design is a funny word. Some people think design means how it looks. But of course, if you dig deeper, it’s really how it works. The design of the Mac wasn’t what it looked like, although that was part of it. Primarily, it was how it worked." -- Steve Jobs
Have you ever seen a five-year-old make paper airplanes? Then you’ve seen design thinking--approaching management problems as designers approach design problems.
Don't feel bad if you're not familiar with the term. Design thinking, as a concept, has been slowly evolving over the past decade--most notably at Stanford’s d.school and the University of Toronto’s Rotman School.