build Tool: Run a CSI:Lab on design thinking

Design thinking builds the capacity to problem solve creatively. The process is focused on developing people, not products, and teaches skills that can lead to increased innovation within an organization. For example, practicing empathy can help your people better understand the user perspective and what problems are most important to solve. When Google’s researchers spent more time with a subset of Android users who were visually impaired, they learned that many needed help setting up their devices. As a result, Google added the ability to enlarge fonts, increase magnification, and turn on screen reading during the activation process.

Google’s CSI:Lab is part of the larger Googlers-to-Googlers (g2g) program, which offers opportunities for all employees to share their knowledge and learn from their peers. As part of orientation, new Googlers on their second day of work participates in a CSI:Lab focused on solving critical business challenges for the company. All CSI:Lab participants are encouraged to share what they’ve learned with others and to run their own CSI:Labs. With a base of nearly 250 facilitators, the CSI:Lab helps Google continue to build a vibrant community of innovators.

Keep in mind that the innovation process looks different for every organization. Ultimately, it’s about finding a process that works for your people and your culture. Make the message stick by using existing language that your organization already uses. For example, Google’s CSI:Lab uses existing Google phrases such as “focus on the user,” “think 10x,” and “be prototype-driven” to reinforce the general steps to the innovation process.

Take a closer look at Google’s CSI:Lab course materials and the accompanying facilitator guide below and customize it for your organization. Whatever method you use to get people thinking about innovation, build your design thinking process around your people in a way that works best for your organization.

CSI:Lab Lesson Plan & Facilitator Guide

The CSI:Lab (Creative Skills for Innovation) workshop gives people the mindset, process and tools to accelerate innovation and to find out what it takes to get from ill-defined problems to well-designed solutions. Attendees work through a complex challenge to come up with new approaches and potential solutions. After the session, participants will also have the resources to apply their innovation skills to future projects and challenges.

CSI:Lab Slides

Use these slides with the CSI:Lab Lesson Plan & Facilitator Guide to deliver your own CSI:Lab.

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