Leading innovation in Kenya by understanding Design Profiles
In Nairobi, Kenya a diverse range of professionals came to take part in the Leading Innovations in Complex Systems Course run over 3 days by ThinkPlace. The course, supported by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the University of Nairobi, was aimed to develop executives across a wide range of industries to gain a deeper understanding of design thinking, complex systems and the attributes needed to be a leader of innovation in these contexts. Participants had a chance to gain practical experience by going through a one day design charrette where they had to innovate around a real world problem and generate user centred and empathic solutions. The course was ground breaking in more than one way. During the course of the three days, the participants were part of the first group to use the world’s first Design Profile – a psychometric tool developed by ThinkPlace Canberra and the Australian National University.
Using mobile phones, tablets and laptops, participants used the tool through designprofile.org to answer the question, what type of designer am I? After answering a series of questions and finding out their design profile, there was quite a buzz in the room, with people comparing profiles and discussing what their profile meant for how they work. Participants from a range of organisations including the UNFPA, The Kenya Healthcare Federation, FSD Kenya, The Retirement Benefits Authority, Concern Worldwide and the University of Nairobi amongst others, were led through a reflection on their design and innovation style and ways in which the Design Profile could be used within their organisations. 20 out of 22 participants strongly agreed that the profile accurately represented their characteristics and were eager to try the tool with their teams to see how they could better work together in the future.
There are eight Design Profiles based around three core dimensions of being a designer and innovator – how you relate to others, how you think about the design and how you work. It takes about 15 minutes to do the test, and provides detailed results for the individual about how they placed on the dimensions. It also provides insights into strengths and weaknesses, and which other profiles are good to work with to ensure a well-rounded design team. It's important to understand that there is no one right way to be a designer, as all design styles have their strengths. It is the diversity that makes a strong design team. Good designers are able to move between the profiles, that is, change the way they work depending on the stage of the design process they are in. However, everyone has a natural orientation to relate, think and work in a particular style.
Design Profile is a tool to help you gain understanding into individuals as a designers and innovators. It's about gaining insight into your design style at a particular point in time or in a particular context, and identifying how you can strengthen your design style through different ways of working and finding other designers that complement your profile.
The Design Profile will be available very soon, and has already received strong interest from designers and innovation teams from around the world.