Wednesday, August 28, 2013

gift minded

Why gift giving?

If you visit the at Stanford, which I highly recommend, you can take part in their crash course in design thinking. One option for the course is to redesign the gift giving experience. You do this activity with a partner, in a rapid cycle of  interviewing (gaining empathy), prototyping and getting feedback on your solutions. It's truly excellent, so please give it a try!

I think they made an inspired choice of topic, because at the heart of innovation and problem solving is something akin to the desire to give. Certainly, part of the thrill in solving a problem is intellectual, but part of it is in offering the solution to another, and partaking in their pleasure.

Also, the gift giving experience is riddled with danger, in the sense that the giver often has an emotional investment in the gift being received well, with joy, surprise, delight, gratitude, etc. Have you ever given a gift that the other didn't seem to appreciate? It's a painful experience, and one that sometimes damages a relationship. The other might feel that you weren't paying attention, or weren't generous, or even that you saw him or her in a way that was fundamentally at odds with his or her vision of self.

It's basically the same when we make a product or service: we're showing our level of insight and compassion, and our vision of our users.  So the gift giving approach is one to keep in mind as we endeavor to amaze and delight.

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