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99 Skills of 21st Century Market Place : Week 20

Week 20 of the 99 Skills of the 21st Century Marketplace is Here! This week we focus on three critical Creative Skills: Ideation, Experimentation & Design Thinking. These are essential for navigating complexities and uncertainties, encompassing strategic thinking, problem-solving, making effective decisions, and adapting to new situations. Let us delve into strategies, techniques, and exercises to develop and enhance these Creative skills. By honing your abilities in Ideation, Experimentation & Design Thinking you can enhance your capacity for creativity, innovation, and problem-solving. Ultimately, they can help you to gain the ability to approach tasks with creativity, innovation, and a focus on user needs, thereby leading to enhanced success and fulfillment in various domains. Join us as we explore these vital leadership skills and share your thoughts on the 99 Skills because the 100th is You!

58. Ideation

A Quote:

"The best ideas come from a good mix of observation and empathy." - Sir Ken Robinson

A Definition: Ideation refers to the process of generating and developing new ideas, concepts, or solutions through creative thinking and brainstorming. It involves exploring possibilities, challenging assumptions, and fostering a mindset of innovation and creativity to generate fresh insights and perspectives. Ideation is a crucial step in problem-solving, innovation, and the development of new products, services, or strategies.

An Example:

There is a group of engineers working for a technology company. They are tasked with developing a new smartphone feature that would differentiate their product from competitors. The team holds an ideation session to generate innovative ideas. During the ideation session, team members propose various ideas, including incorporating a holographic display, integrating advanced biometric security features, and implementing a voice-controlled virtual assistant.

As the brainstorming session progresses, one engineer suggests creating a modular design that allows users to customize and upgrade specific components of the smartphone, such as the camera or battery. The team explores the feasibility and potential benefits of each idea. They consider factors such as technical feasibility, market demand, and the company's resources. Through further discussions and building upon each other's ideas, they refine the concept of modular design. After the ideation session, the team conducts research and develops prototypes of the modular smartphone concept. They gather feedback from potential users and conduct market surveys to validate the idea's appeal and potential demand.

Based on the positive feedback and market research results, the team presents their findings to the company's management. The company decided to proceed with the development of the modular smartphone, considering it a unique selling point that would cater to customer preferences for customization and upgradability.

In this example, the ideation process led to the conceptualization of a new smartphone feature that offered a distinctive advantage in the market. The team's collaborative brainstorming and the subsequent development and validation stages enabled them to identify a promising idea and bring it to fruition. This example highlights how ideation can drive innovation by encouraging creative thinking, collaboration, and the exploration of unconventional ideas to solve real-world challenges.

A Checklist:

1. Create a conducive environment.

2. Define the problem or challenge.

3. Encourage diverse perspectives.

4. Foster open-mindedness.

5. Generate a large number of ideas.

6. Embrace wild and unconventional ideas.

7. Build upon each other's ideas.

8. Use visual aids and stimuli.

9. Record and document ideas.

10. Evaluate and refine ideas.

59. Experimentation

A Quote:

“There are three principal means of acquiring knowledge… observation of nature, reflection, and experimentation. Observation collects facts; reflection combines them; experimentation verifies the result of that combination.” – Denis Diderot

A Definition: In the creative sense, Experimentation is the thrilling pursuit of creative discovery. It involves fearlessly exploring new territories, pushing boundaries, and challenging conventions. Through intentional manipulation of variables and a thirst for knowledge, experimentation fuels innovation, embraces failure as a lesson, and unlocks hidden potentials. It is a playground for the curious and a catalyst for extraordinary artistic expressions and innovative breakthroughs.

An Example:

A recent example would be of challenges faced by businesses during the pandemic. Vmart, a retail business, faced challenges due to restrictions and changing consumer behavior. To adapt and survive, they embraced experimentation as a way to explore new opportunities.

The business started by experimenting with its product offerings. They introduced online shopping options, and curbside pickup, and expanded their delivery services to cater to customers' changing needs. Through this experimentation, they identified the most effective channels for reaching their target audience and optimized their operations accordingly.

Additionally, the business experimented with pricing strategies. They offered discounts, loyalty programs, and limited-time promotions to incentivize customers to continue shopping with them. By analyzing the results and customer feedback, they fine-tuned their pricing approach to strike the right balance between profitability and attracting customers.

Furthermore, the business experimented with its marketing efforts. They utilized various digital marketing channels to reach a wider audience, such as social media advertising, influencer collaborations, and email campaigns. Through A/B testing and data analysis, they identified the most impactful marketing tactics and optimized their campaigns to maximize engagement and conversions.

In this scenario, the retail business embraced experimentation to navigate the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. Through continuous testing and analysis, they adapted their product offerings, pricing strategies, and marketing approaches to meet changing customer demands and maximize their business potential. The willingness to experiment allowed them to stay resilient, identify successful strategies, and thrive in a challenging business landscape.

A Checklist:

1. Clearly define the goal or objective of the experiment.

2. Identify the variables and factors that will be manipulated or tested.

3. Develop a hypothesis to guide the experiment.

4. Design the experiment, including the control group, the experimental group(s), and methods of data collection.

5. Determine the sample size or population to be included in the experiment.

6. Ensure ethical considerations and obtain necessary approvals or permissions.

7. Conduct the experiment following the predetermined design and procedures.

8. Collect and record data accurately and consistently.

9. Analyze the data using relevant statistical or analysis procedures.

10. Evaluate the validity and reliability of the experiment.

11. Consider potential limitations that may impact the results.

12. Communicate the findings and implications of the experiment effectively.

13. Reflect and identify opportunities for further research or improvement.

60. Design Thinking

A Quote:

“Design Thinking is neither art nor science nor religion. It is the capacity, ultimately, for integrative thinking" -Tim Brown

A Definition: Design thinking is a human-centered problem-solving approach that emphasizes empathy, creativity, and collaboration. It involves understanding user needs, ideating solutions, prototyping, testing, and iterating based on feedback. It fosters innovation by balancing the feasibility, desirability, and viability of the solutions created.

An Example:

For example, a manufacturing company wants to enhance the safety and efficiency of its production line. They apply design thinking to tackle this challenge and drive innovation within their operations.

First, the company empathizes with its workers by conducting interviews and observations. They gain insights into the pain points and potential hazards faced on the production line. Based on this understanding, they define the problem as improving safety protocols and streamlining workflow processes.

Next, the company engages in ideation sessions with cross-functional teams, including production workers, engineers, and safety experts. They brainstorm ideas for enhancing safety measures and optimizing the workflow. These ideas range from implementing automated safety sensors to reorganizing workstations for better ergonomics.

With these ideas in mind, the company creates prototypes and conducts pilot tests on the production line. They involve workers in the testing process, collecting feedback on the effectiveness and feasibility of the proposed solutions. Through iteration and refinement, they make necessary adjustments to the prototypes. Once the optimized safety measures and workflow processes are finalized and the company implements them on the production line. They also provide training to workers and ensure that the new plan of action is smoothly integrated into their daily operations.

To evaluate the effectiveness of the implemented changes, the company monitors safety metrics, productivity levels, and worker feedback. They assess the impact on accident rates, work efficiency, and overall employee satisfaction. Through the application of design thinking, the manufacturing company successfully improves the safety and efficiency of its production line.

They create a safer working environment and streamline their operations by empathizing with workers, generating innovative ideas, prototyping, testing, iterating, implementing, and evaluating. This leads to increased productivity, reduced accidents, and higher employee morale. This example showcases how design thinking can drive improvements and foster innovation in operational processes, ultimately benefiting both the company and its employees.

A Checklist:

1. Empathize and Understand User Needs.

2. Define the Problem or Challenge.

3. Foster Creativity and Generate Ideas.

4. Create Prototypes for User Interaction.

5. Test and Gather User Feedback.

6. Iterate and Make Improvements.

7. Implement the Finalized Design Solution.

8. Evaluate Impact and Collect Feedback.

9. Refine Further Based on Evaluation Results.

Come & Collaborate

Thank you for joining us on this journey through 99 skills at the 21st-century workplace. We believe that the key to success is continuous learning, so we encourage you to keep seeking out new knowledge and skills.

To help you on your path, we are offering a special #DISCovery Session for our readers. This one-on-one coaching session will help you identify your strengths, set career goals, and progress to a personalized plan for success. To book your session, go to a and use the code "99SKILLS" for a special discount.

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