MIMA May “Secrets to Successfully Using Human-Centered Design”

May MIMA was marvelous. It featured Anna Love-Mickelson, co-founder of stoke.d, a human-centered design practice with studios in Nashville and Minneapolis. In addition to having a really great name and a cool, Samantha Bee vibe, Anna was wonderfully engaging. Her thoughtful style brought to light great nuggets of practicality and inspiration.

In all transparency, Anna’s overview of the presentation – “a Design Thinking 101, followed by a 201” – made me groan a bit internally… 101 this community is not. However, I was very pleasantly surprised. Top 3 Takeaways from the “101” portion:

1. Show, Don’t Tell – “The person who brings the prototype to the meeting WINS”

2. Radical Collaboration – Design is a team sport. While gathering many like-minded people in the room promotes easy collaboration, it doesn’t result in the best new thinking. There’s great benefit in differing perspectives and skills. The double plus of differing skills in room trickles into a more effective execution stage. This level of diversity can help drive the project to completion, reducing risk in the translation of concept to execution.
3. Embrace Experimentation – Get beyond your perfectionist tendencies and show that shitty first draft. Getting feedback early sharpens your clarity and promotes effective collaboration. “One who makes no mistakes makes nothing at all.”

Anna encouraged creating a culture with creative confidence – a culture where people don’t feel fearful of putting their half-baked ideas out there. To example this, Anna asked us to take 20 seconds to draw a portrait of the person sitting next to us.

They’re total shit, right? And that’s OKAY.

For the 201 portion, Anna was joined by Scott Mark, Director of Healthcare Innovation and Technical Fellow at Medtronic, and Dean Kephart, MN Executive Director of Distinctive Schools. Take a peek at Dean’s bio – his career is filled with interesting twists and very cool turns.

We wanted to share a nugget of wisdom from each:

Scott, in response to a question about how to get leadership to support design thinking: Find champions within your organization and know where and when to break the rules. Using words like “strategy” and “risk mitigation” work well in corporate cultures, too.

Dean, in response to a question about where he gets inspiration: Be a strong listener and truly curious. In addition to daily walks, he recommends an app called Curiosity that offers curated content on a number of different topics.

We have a little breather before June, but will be back at the event circuit in no time again! Watch for more Top 3s after Memorial Day.