One is living proof that prosperity is not the end all and be all of the national aspirations. Another is wracked by the undeniable deadweight of affirmative action for a racial majority. The third has been known as the “Sick Man of Asia” for decades after being an economic star in the 1960s, second only to Japan. Is there a common thread running through these three distinct narratives?
“If a man carrying half a bucket of water passes you by, you can hear all kinds of water sputtering. If, however, he carries a full bucket of water, it will be much quieter.” When it is only half full, the bucket is lighter and is likely to shake back and forth, whereas a full bucket will be steady because it becomes heavier.
At the heart of Design Thinking is empathy. What drives the other parts of the process – from prototyping to iteration – is a desire to give a seriously impactful solution to a seriously problematic pain point. And the beauty of Design Thinking and empathy is that it can be applied to increasingly sophisticated areas from products and services to culture, policies, interactions, and experiences.
The fates of these two countries seem so inextricably intertwined, thanks to shared realities that had already become increasingly complex by the time Singapore separated from Malaysia in 1965 – after a stormy 23-month union.
Then, midway through mopping the dining-room area, I threw my hands in the air. Out loud, I shouted at anyone who was there to listen (just me), “Why does this matter? What’s the big deal? Why do you care so much?”
One such way is to “invest but only a little bit.” Companies need to understand that small tweaks and just a comfortable amount of investments are enough to make creative problem solving, iteration, and innovation a part of their DNA.
While the ideation and synthesis phases often require decision-making and discussion, during prototyping a more fluid and organic interaction came into play. The team members were still making decisions, but they did so by visualizing and, quite literally, building on each other’s ideas. To some extent, I would argue that Eastern cultures were more comfortable with this way of working than Western cultures, which tend to be more comfortable in discussing and debating a focus point or idea.
What constitutes “acceptable” has changed throughout the history. The education and empowerment of women is one such area. Before 1920, for example, it was illegal for women in the United States to vote.
The real driver of change will be not one brilliant head but several heads that collaborate. These two powerful terms have crept into mainstream business vocabulary, helping companies like Google and Microsoft seal their reputation as two of the world’s farthest reaching businesses.