Design Thinking at Work + Three Tensions Designers Navigate with David Dunne — DT101 E23

David Dunne is a Professor and the Director of MBA Programs at the University of Victoria’s Gustavson School of Business. David and I were introduced by Paolo Korre, who you may remember from an earlier episode of the show. We’ll chat today about a range of subjects, including the use of design thinking in redesigning an MBA program.

David’s background in experience and marketing helped to lead him to design thinking. When he returned to school intending to become a professor, he found himself deeply interested in student-centered methods of teaching. He worked in design on the side, taking sabbaticals to spend time with designers and in design schools.

Design thinking is a practitioner’s art, and it takes experience with it to really make the methods your own. This applies both to my own journey and David’s, and we’ll explore the concept today in our conversation. We’ll also talk about the struggle to help students to make methods their own, rather than only learning the methods.

David and I talk about helping people to achieve the ability to think about how they’re thinking. He recommends meditation as a powerful tool to reach this space of metacognition, and suggests the book Why Buddhism Is True. David also teaches students about cognitive biases and runs exercises to help them discover which biases are most prevalent in their teams.

We’ll also dig into his book, and what designers or people on design pathways can learn from it. He’ll explain the three tensions that he sees in a design thinking process: inclusion, disruption, and perspective. We’ll also hear about the four models for how designers can respond to these tensions. Don’t miss this deeply informative episode with a wonderful guest!

Learn More About Our Guest

David Dunne on LinkedIn
Design Thinking at Work

Show Highlights

[01:18] We hear about David’s background, and how his experience in business and marketing helped to lead him to where he is today.
[07:13] What was the learning curve like for David during his early projects?
[09:55] Dawan thinks of design thinking as a practitioner’s art, he explains, and you develop your strengths and see your weaknesses through its practice and interaction.
[12:35] How often does Dawan succeed in getting his students to make methods their own, rather than simply learn the methods?
[15:31] An important aspect of design thinking is that the process brings you face-to-face with your own limitations, David points out.
[18:17] David responds to Dawan’s perspective on having a “provisional mindset.”
[18:41] What other aspects of mindset has David been exploring in his work?
[24:21] David talks about the feedback loop that can result when you don’t do basic sketches to begin with.
[28:46] We hear David’s response to what Dawan has been saying about the challenges involved in working with teams.
[31:01] Is there anything that David has seen really help people move into the space of thinking about how they’re thinking?
[36:35] David talks about the three tensions that exist in a design thinking process, and what they suggest for designers or people on design pathways.
[40:14] The second and third tensions are disruption and perspective, David explains.
[45:17] David talks about the four different models of ways of acting in relation to the tensions that he covers in his book.
[51:10] One of the conversations that Dawan often has early is that these methods aren’t appropriate in all contexts, he points out.
[52:25] David explains something that he has found universal.
[57:40] We hear about an experience that David had early in his journey as a designer, and he points out that design becomes instinctive over time.
[61:42] David mentions that he’s co-writing a book with Paolo Korre.
[62:07] Where can people learn more about David and his work?


David Dunne on LinkedIn
Design Thinking at Work
David Dunne’s bio at the Gustavson Brand Trust Index team leaders page
Paolo Korre
The Reflective Practitioner by Donald Schon
Why Buddhism Is True by Robert Wright
The Importance of Cognitive Errors in Diagnosis and Strategies to Minimize Them by Pat Croskerry, MD, PhD
The Total Economic Impact™ Of IBM’s Design Thinking Practice
Design Thinking and How It Will Change Management Education: An Interview and Discussion
Roger Martin
Jeanne Liedtka on Design Thinking 101

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