The Design Thinking Exercise That Helps Teams Tackle Difficult Challenges
They were randomly assigned to a team representing one of 15 divisions of the fictional company, Crazy Corporation. Each team was provided a file box full of arbitrary items — a paintbrush, toy army men and a plastic funnel in one; neoprene tubing, cheap sunglasses, and soda straws in another — but that didn’t matter. Neither did it matter that half way into the game, Crazy Corp’s engineering team insisted that their shiny new high-tech material (aka aluminum foil) be incorporated into the design or, that their marketing team introduced a specific market segment to focus on in the eleventh hour.
They felt how inspiration comes from unlikely sources when biases are checked at the door, how progress comes in fits and spurts, and the challenge of concisely representing their creation to company decision makers — in this case, a panel of judges. They did this with limited resources, a tight timeline and last-minute pivots.
Whether they realized it or not, those NASA scientists and engineers used the same design-thinking principles to solve the CO2 problem that the participants used in the game and we employ at Openfield Creative. While not life-threatening, we deal with challenges that do affect company bottom lines.
Our team of strategists and designers embrace “Box of Crazy” every day. We get our clients engaged with their organizational knowledge through Design Thinking. We do conventional and unconventional exercises from customer journey mapping to LEGO Serious Play to weeklong curated learning journeys where we take a group of clients to another city to have firsthand experiences and discussions with leading thinkers and practitioners.