The Link Between Design Thinking and Resilience

One of the most important aspects of resilience involves developing a flexible way of thinking about challenge and adversity and being able to solve problems in an accurate way.


Design thinking is a type of innovation methodology – a problem solving process to help you generate options, test strategies, and get feedback so that you can develop new products, processes, skills and experiences.


Here is how you can use “ Design Thinking” to become a resilient leader:

Observe. The end-user is you, so you have some work to do.


Define the problem. What is the exact problem you’re trying to solve? This is an important question because you can lose years working on the wrong problem.


Reframe counterproductive thinking. Your automatic negative thoughts (“ANTs”) about stress can cause you to miss critical information. As a result, you need to be able to quickly reframe ANTs in order to think more flexibly and accurately. Be kind to yourself, by getting support from others, and taking a balanced approach to your emotions.


Ideate. Too often, people get stuck chasing their first idea or trying to find one perfect idea or solution to a problem, which rarely works. It’s important to withhold judgment during this step and create as many ideas as possible, even those you might consider to be wild and outside of the box. In design thinking, more is better when it comes to idea generation.

Create a “ LIST of IDEAS ….things that excites you most! Don’t edit it at all at this stage – simply capture every idea that comes into your head and your heart. When you are done, then categorize your ideas based on their themes.


Rapid Prototyping. Take your ideas and conduct small experiments. Prototypes should be designed to get some data about what you’re interested in so you can visualize alternatives in a very experiential way. Most importantly, prototypes allow you to try and fail rapidly. The easiest form of prototyping is a conversation.


Feedback and Iteration. Take that information and make changes to your prototypes as necessary until you fine tune your solutions.


Implementation. Once you have validated the utility of your solution, it’s time to act.