EQ and Design Thinking - 10 years later

Is Emotional Intelligence (EQ) still not part of the fiber of the language of your Design Team? Read on…

Over 10 years ago, Harvard Business Review published an article by Tim Brown CEO of IDEO on Design Thinking. Brown described the personality of a Design Thinker, rich with attributes of EQ. I’ve recapped them below:

  • Empathy: imagine the world from multiple perspectives (those of colleagues, clients, end users, and customers (current and prospective)), take a “people first” approach, notice things that others do not and use their insights to inspire innovation.

  • Integrative thinking: rely on analytical processes but can also see all aspects of the problem and create novel out of the box solutions.

  • Optimism: assume that no matter how challenging the constraints of a given problem, at least one potential solution is better than the existing alternatives.

  • Experimentalism: pose questions and explore constraints in creative ways that proceed in entirely new directions.

  • Collaboration: the best design thinkers don’t simply work alongside other disciplines; many of them have significant experience in more than one.

And 10 years later, now more than ever, those traits are ever so necessary for today’s creative efforts:

  • Empathy: the world gets “smaller” by the day as technology continues to increase our accessibility and exposure to each other. Simultaneously, the world seems to be getting “harsher” with more mass shootings, political divide, refugee struggles, and more. As we design solutions to these global realities, design minus empathy is missing half the conversation.

  • Integrative thinking: as the world gets more complicated and technology gets more advanced, integrative thinking requires the emotional aspect of openness. This openness allows you to see more nontraditional possibilities vs more linear thinking.

  • Optimism: as “purpose” permeates more of our professional language today, the two feed into each other as optimism pushes us forward toward purpose-driven work.

  • Experimentalism: this comes not only with openness, but resilience and the ability to face fears and failures, all of which are tied to emotions.

  • Collaboration: as our teams get more diverse and our problems more complex and solutions more involved, communicating with people of different backgrounds (age, education, ethnic, language, etc) is the thread that moves us forward in EQ design.

Increasing our team and individual EQ continues to be critical to enhancing design progress.

ENGAGE: Need to assess how “EQ savvy” your team is? Click here to contact me and let’s get started. 

GO FURTHER:  I’d love to hear your thoughts. Feel free to comment below or send me a message.


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