Design Thinking and Thought Workers

Speaking with a new acquaintance (father of a kid from my son’s daycare) that’s a Mechanial Engineer (at his daughter’s birthday party), we went back and forth on the topic of design thinking. He and I both agreed that between 75-90% of our day is spent thinking about the best solution. The last 10-25% is actually making the 3D model or typing in a code editor or moving around the vector objects in Sketch. That’s a big percentage of time spent inside our own heads.

Reflecting on that, the vacant lot next to my house sold and a new house is being built. I see the workers on their heavy machinery and see experts at their craft. The backhoe operator, the bobcat driver, the dump truck driver… people operating complex machines efficiently and effectively. I have respect for them, but they also remind me that I get paid every day to think through problems and come up with solutions… inside, in a temperature-controlled environment.

On top of the style of work, I love being able to engage in real Design Thinking methodologies. The discover > ideate > evaluate > prototype > deliver wheel is so effective when you’re allowed to follow each step along the way – I’ve been lucky to work with organizations that believe in the process!

Back in 1957, Peter Drucker coined the term “Knowledge Worker” – I’m grateful to get to do this kind of work every day. It’s always challenging – a new puzzle is waiting to be solved every day. It keeps me sharp. It pushes me to expand my skillset. Most of all, it’s fun.

If you ever get to the state where you’re not having fun solving design problems, it’s time to move on to something else.