Don’t Dismiss Anything
This Domain-Level Guide is designed to be used based on the Core Model. Please refer to the Don’t Dismiss Anything Core Practice before exploring this guide.
The organizational context adds new layers of subjects to observe, from the people and groups you interface with to the things you do and how you do them. These aspects, which are often in the team’s blind spot, embed infinite potential for innovation and creative breakthroughs. Insights derived from these subjects of Observation can become the seeds for creative ideas both in the context of the things you create and the methods and practices you use.
By being mindful of your actions and interactions and by Observing them as if you know nothing about them, you increase your chances of gaining new and valuable insights.
Observe Your Interfaces
Any team has multiple direct and indirect interfaces within the organization and beyond. Other teams, managers, partners, and the customers and users of what you create are all valuable sources of information that can affect the things you do.
While actively asking for information from your interfaces is almost always necessary, starting with mindful Observation is invaluable. When you Observe your interfaces, their actions, and mainly their interactions with you and with the thing you produce, you can come up with amazing insights that will affect future creations.
- Observe how different people and teams interact with you, with the team, and with the things you produce. Observe how you interact with them.
- Explore not only the nature of the interaction but also what is affecting it and what is the motivation behind it.
- Notice what your interfaces are aiming to achieve — what is their goal. Actively Wondering about it and opening it for discussion is essential. But when you start with Observing, you are likely to gain valuable insights that will help you in that discussion.
Observe Everything You Do
What you do and how you do it are essential raw materials. Opportunities for innovation often lie not only in the things you produce but also in the way you operate. At the same time, these aspects are often in your blind spot because organizations are naturally more focused on delivering external value.
By mindfully observing your actions, routines, and practices, you can create a valuable layer of insights that could quickly become meaningful ingredients in future creations.
- Observe what you do. Notice the tasks and activities that you do intentionally but also the things you do automatically or unconsciously.
- Observe the way you operate — how you do things — even (and especially) if it is already a routine.
- Observe behaviors, interactions, and underlying currents within the team and beyond.
- Explore them as if you see them for the first time — as if you are a newcomer to the team.
Explore as a Team
As your team masters creative exploration and mindful Observation, they will collect more and more insights. Many of them are likely to be the result of individual Observations. Turning them into collective insights requires the team to revisit them together.
By creating room for collective exploration of insights shared by team members, you send a message that any insight is valuable, even if its application is not immediate. Such a collaborative exploration will result in new ways to see each insight, thus creating a higher level of Observation.
- Create a space for discussing the things Observed by the team. Don’t dismiss anything.
- Explore them together and try to Observe any such insight using the different Observation Aspects.
- Record the insights whether you see an immediate use for them or not. These insights are valuable additions to the Collective Mind-Pantry.
One of the core activities in Design Thinking is to Observe the users of what you create. It sounds natural when you create something for a concrete target audience, but the same idea can be applied to any interaction you have with other people.
Observing the people at the other end of each of your interfaces is the first step in gaining better insights on what is important to them and being able to come up with creative ideas on how to improve your interaction with them.
A retrospective is an important activity in any organization wishing to continually improve itself. In many organizations, it is a dedicated activity done at specific times or milestones.
When you are Not Dismissing Anything and you are aware of your own actions all the time, you set the ground for real ongoing improvement. There is no need to wait for a special event: you can develop creative ideas on refining the way you operate practically anytime.