Kofi Okyere-Dede
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We call it Fight Club

An inside look at how we think at Dekode

What we wanted to do

How we did it

Have you ever thought about thinking?

It’s still up for debate but supposedly the average human has between 60 and 80 000 thoughts per day… if you think that much, shouldn’t you consider HOW you do it? We didn’t pay too much attention to thinking about thinking until our mentor and good friend pointed it out to us. The question is where to begin… we use two frameworks that we love:

Design Thinking

There has been a ton of talk about design thinking in the recent past, a system popularised by David Kelly the founder of IDEO. The methodology has strong proponents who at a whim can give examples of incredible success stories – like reworking an entire city by creating a government department that uses design thinking. Other people are less excited calling design thinking, “B.S,” “a cult” and finding some way to compare it to syphillis 🙂

wow right!

If a way of thinking is going to be this polarising – it’s probably worth forming your own opinion.

‍For us design thinking is a systematic way to approach problem-solving. We love how it approaches user research and prototyping. The closest example we could find to how we think about design thinking is an article by Jared Spool about stone soup (definitely worth the read) – Design thinking is a vehicle that encourages us to engage with our clients and walk them through a process that they can visualise, understand and measure. Here at Dekode we:

  1. Discover
  2. Distill
  3. Prototype
  4. Deliver

We also happily repeat steps 1 through 3 if the hypotheses we held were wrong or we encounter new, important information. Finally we can apply strategy to design and show that we are here to add value to a business, streamline its processes and solve it’s real problems.

If you want a copy-paste logo in a day – we will gladly recommend somebody else to you. We are not “pretty-makers,” we are strategists.

The double diamond approach to design thinking

Integrative Thinking

Should I choose Option A or Option B?

Integrative thinking as a methodology says… Neither. The complexity of life means that we are frequently faced with conundrums, moreso in the journey of an entrepreneur. Roger Martin popularised a method of thinking created to handle these exact situations.

When faced with a choice between two diametrically opposed ideas, choose NEITHER.

The argument here is that a human has what he calls opposable minds, the ability to maintain tension between two opposing ideas, and come up with an even better solution than had they just picked one.

Martin observed that brilliant leaders and entrepreneurs are unsatisfied with tradeoffs, simply picking the lesser of two evils is not good enough – and we should not be satisfied with that. One should rather clearly define the problem, seek two diametrically opposed approaches to dealing with them and then construct an opposing model, one that encompasses as many “pros” as possible from each of the approaches.

So large-scale investigations are still being conducted, but as it turns out, our co-founders (being brothers) may actually be genetically predisposed to having diametrically opposed ideas. Understandably this caused great tension in their childhood… there were hammers involved, bricks, punches and sometimes even cybersecurity hacks (don't ask, we wont tell).

Our co-founders are genetically predisposed to being diametrically opposed – with years of experience

Discovering integrative thinking allowed them to realise just how important their interactions were and allowed them to put structure to the madness and use it for good. One of the key components of integrative thinking is to fall in love with each of the opposed models – treating each as though it is the only model there is, asking only what is great about it and forgetting its flaws. This is much easier if there is one brother to fall in love with each side and truly understand and present the pros of their model to the other.

We playfully call it fight club, but it represents an ideal and underlying approach that we all agree upon. Zaid Al Kazemi says it best: "The integrative thinker is not constrained by models and thrives in the unknown. He is able to be patient enough to resolve the chaos. He trusts his ability to find a creative resolution, invites every opportunity to broaden his mind. Slowly, but surely the integrative thinker finds a better way."

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Posted on
February 14, 2019
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