More and more, people are realising that they are creative. Throughout the last 10 years, the myths and illusions of the marketing world have been chipped away and businesses, start-ups, entrepreneurs, large organisations and public sector teams have realised that they can do a lot of their creativity themselves.

However, we believe that all departments and teams can be more creative. It's not about pretty pictures or being able to draw or having wild and wacky advertising ideas. It's about being able to solve complex problems in a structured framework and generate ideas to move the business forward and be more successful. Almost anyone can do it and, with good collaboration, teams can achieve huge results as they collectively build on top of each other's ideas.

We use the design thinking model as the base point for our approach to building a creative culture, solving complex problems and generating awesome ideas. However, design thinking on its own is not enough and we have embellished this framework in order to help it work in complex scenarios. This article explains a little bit about how we have managed to do this.

Design thinking is made up of five stages. Empathy, Define, Ideate, Prototype and Test. Most people are very clear on the concept of brainstorming or ideation and have a good knowledge or understanding of what it means to prototype something and then test it before incurring costly time, energy and resources in building a product, service or rolling out something across an entire organisation.

We concentrate significantly on the Empathy and Define stages of design thinking and we add a pre-stage which we call "problem mapping". Without mapping the problem properly, spending significant time on the Empathy stage and a very significant amount of time on that Defines stage any activities post these events will be a waste of time. Therefore, our energy is focused on these first three stages.

We utilise the idea of four workshops. One for each stage up to and including ideation. We also spend a significant amount of time in the Defines stage brutally exploring the real problems by using something called the "5 Whys".

As we progress through the four workshops we are constantly referring to other frameworks such as agile thinking, lean start-up thinking, customer segmentation from marketing theory and the concept of iterative development.

We hold workshops and training sessions on this for organisations and we are asked to run workshops for clients where the team will be addressing a challenge/problem.

We also believe that in education the art of being able to embrace a completely unknown quantity and turn that into indefinable challenge and then to be able to generate ideas in order to solve that challenge is a huge scale and we look forward to sharing it with as many people as we possibly can.

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