Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Liz Sanders, Co-Creation and Making To Think

I had the good fortune of meeting Liz Sanders at the Barcelona Design Week. Liz is the founder of MakeTools, a company that explores new spaces in the emerging design landscapes. She is a visionary in pre-design research, and has introduced many of the tools, techniques and methods being used today to drive and inspire design from a human-centered perspective. She was also a teacher and colleague of some of the design thinkers and practioners at SAP.

She was very pleased to hear about the design thinking work we are doing at SAP. It was a previlege to spend a day with her and learn from her. The work she is doing is what many software product design companies badly need to learn today.

Her lesson is very simple. Don't just ask you users what they want. Ask them to express themselves by making something with their hand. She showed and told me about examples of nurses designing their workspaces and executives designing their strategy by making something rather than talking.

It would be a great step forward if software product designers can incorporate this into their design and customer research process. I mentioned to her that we follow many of her teachings at SAP and her work should become part of training for product designers and software product managers.

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