Book Review: Frame Innovation

Frame Innovation

Frame Innovation: Create New Thinking by Design

By Kees Dorst

Amazon | MIT Press | GoodReads

Overview:

When organizations apply old methods of problem-solving to new kinds of problems, they may accomplish only temporary fixes or some ineffectual tinkering around the edges. Today’s problems are a new breed-open, complex, dynamic, and networked-and require a radically different response. In this book, Kees Dorst describes a new, innovation-centered approach to problem-solving in organizations: frame creation. It applies “design thinking,” but it goes beyond the borrowed tricks and techniques that usually characterize that term. Frame creation focuses not on the generation of solutions but on the ability to create new approaches to the problem situation itself.

I’m super excited and inspired (many parts of it are resonant to me):

  • The author defines many core concepts about design, such as design as a form of feasoning and the levels of design expertise and design thinking,
  • And he actually lays out a blueprint for thinking out-of-the-box (he calls it “frame creation model”).
  • The Frame Creation Model, in a nutshell, asks us to explore the problem space and its context before making any defining assumptions about the root causes of the problem.
  • In the early “exploring” phase, we need to zoom out – expend the problem space, question the the origial intention, attack the context, and come up with as many themes (which is basically how we describe the problem space from a certain perspective) as possible
  • In the later “converging” phase, we need to zoom in – consolidate the possibilities and converge to the final solution
  • That zoom-out-and-then-zoom-in implies that the assumptions are only made midway through, not early on – that’s critical to approach a problem in the appropriate way
  • Too many times we make certain assumptions early on and that automatically limits the approaches we may take on a problem, and therefore limits the possibilities of solving the problem in an organic and innovative way.
  • Throughout the book there many great case studies that really make me think how we should approach any problem

Highly recommended!

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