Level Seven Live – Reconnecting

Gill and Dorothy launch a series of conversations about linking design thinking and team coaching for a collaborative and inclusive post Covid culture.

Further Thoughts to Support Innovation – Nurturing a Design Thinking Mindset: Inspiration


In March 2018 I wrote a blog on the 7 thoughts to support innovation, click here for the full article https://www.level7live.com/7-thoughts-to-support-innovation/ with a slight, tongue-in-cheek nod to and attributed to the famous 5-boys chocolate advertisement of the early 1900’s


Design Thinking is a problem-solving process aimed at solving ill-defined, wicked problems, problems that have many possible solutions.  Design thinking offers a structured approach to thinking and action and facilitates logical, creative and innovative thinking.  Lately it has occurred to me that to be an effective problem-solving and embrace the process of design thinking is not enough, we need to approach our problem-solving activities with a particular frame of mind, something that I am calling a Design Thinking Mindset.


I thought it might be useful to revisit the seven thoughts to support innovation and reflect on whether they are still relevant and in particular do they offer any insight into how to go about developing a design thinking mindset.  In this blog I will revisit the first thought – Inspiration.  I suggested that inspiration is connected to being able to trust your intuition and intuition is inextricably linked to imagination.   The quote I used to exemplify this was:

 ‘Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will get you everywhere.’ Albert Einstein

Inspiration arguably runs through any aspect of the design thinking process.  As a facilitator of design thinking I might need to inspire the people I am working with to help them to get onboard with the process or idea of the moment.  Then there may be times when I need to look deep within myself and tap into my internal reservoir in order to inspire my own creative capacity.

My view why I think design thinkers need to show and to cultivate the capacity to inspire is that the wicked problems are described as ill-defined and ambiguous and they often exist within uncertain conditions; inspiration may be something that can provide a degree of certainty to the people and to the problem itself.  Something worth reflecting on further.

My suggestion to develop your inspirational qualities is to cultivate your intuition, know it, acknowledge it, listen to it (it may not always be right!) and be courageous to act on it.

Dr Gill Stevens


A Design Thinking approach to problem-solving needs diverse team members


In December 2017 we wrote a blog on what makes good teamwork.  Click here for the full article https://www.level7live.com/7-steps-to-team-work/


Since that time the world has changed in ways that we would never have imagined.  Our business offering has changed too in that it is more focused and in line with what we believe people and businesses need to live and work harmoniously and productively.  We have embraced a design thinking approach to all that we do and principles that underpin our work and life are those that very much underpin our approach to coaching and problem-solving.


Our ‘7 steps to team work’ provided a snapshot of what effective team work looks like, now we propose an additional dimension to the what, in terms of who makes an effective team?


In our design thinking work we know that diverse, multi-functional teams produce richer outputs, however, this diversity can also produce potential conflict.  People with different views of the world will undoubtedly have different ideas and opinions and when discussed and viewed positively can help teams to make significant breakthroughs.


In reflecting on team diversity, an interesting perspective to consider is one that discourages us to look at people as a stereotype, especially a generational stereotype.  Social Psychologist, Professor Leah Georges suggests that generations do not actually exist, it’s a construct that enables us to compartmentalise people and allows people to act in ways that are widely promoted and assumed about that group and actually people of different ages are more similar than different in their needs and motivational drives.  https://www.ted.com/talks/leah_georges_how_generational_stereotypes_hold_us_back_at_work


So how does this view help us when assembling a team for a design thinking Sprint?  Perhaps we could start by being courageous to view people as unique individuals. Georges talks about a person’s “onlyness” and it would be helpful if we aim to understand them in an empathetic way and the contribution they have to offer, irrespective of their age or whatever stereotype we want to categorise them as.


What stories can you share that will highlight and help to breakdown stereotype barriers and encourage more diversity of ideas, behaviour and action in teamwork?


Let’s start a conversation.


Dr Gill Stevens

Level Seven


Syndromes: Are they a guilty pleasure?

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I attended a seminar last night on the subject of ‘Helper Syndrome’.  It was enjoyable and thought-provoking.  Our speaker was knowledgeable and engaging and I enjoyed our small group discussions and the opportunity to reflect on areas of my coaching practice.  This experience has provoked my deeper reflection on the subject of psychological labels.


When I hear the word ‘syndrome’ it makes me think of a clinical condition.  A quick look on Wikipedia and the list of syndromes are many and varied and indeed our presenter said that one of the definitions of ‘Helper Syndrome’ comes from the medical literature.

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Collaboration – today’s poster child


Taking inspiration from such an amazing collaborative effort between academia, researchers, formula 1 engineers and no doubt others who deserve a mention, this effort needs to be celebrated and praised and held up as a role model for multi-functional teamworking and output.

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Design Thinking: Empathy – Collecting the narratives

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When we think of the word ‘design’ what comes to mind?  Possibly ‘fashion design’ or ‘engineering design’ or ‘building design’ the list could go on.  We now have ‘organisational design’.  One definition of the word design is:  purpose or planning that exists behind an action, fact or object.  This definition seems somewhat cold.  When we think of the word design, often the idea of creating something colourful or elaborate comes to mind.  The notion of creating something often evokes some sort of palpable feeling.  There is often an emotive connection that is often felt with the idea of working on a design.  It is no wonder that design has, until now, been the domain of creatives.

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Design Thinking: Integrating Design Thinking principles within the organisation

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In the last decade, organisations were preoccupied with reacting to the pace of change that was coming at them from all angles.   These changes were wrapped up as problems that needed solutions that were often the subject of large-scale change management initiatives.  Looking back in time it is easy to see why employees experienced ‘change-fatigue’ and often resisted implementing what was being asked of them.  It was easier to keep on doing the same and avoid anything new that required more physical and mental effort.

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