It’s easy to let work get in the way of exploring new ways of doing things. Don’t worry, we’ve got your back – here are a list of things work shouldn’t stop you from doing, and what you can do about it:


When dealing with people from varied backgrounds, it may seem difficult to work through our differences towards a common goal. Empathy enables us to understand our team members, their motivations, and their underlying emotions. Doing so means we make work less about meeting deadlines and winning pitches, and more about making each member feel like their contribution is valued; that the work that they are doing is meaningful. Empathy requires us to listen more than we talk; listen to understand, instead of listen to criticise or respond.


As Design Thinking practitioners, it is imperative that user feedback is used to drive the team’s direction and decision-making. We get it – it is daunting to have opinions that are divergent from your boss, but ultimately, the customer is always right. We find that collecting real stories and experiences from users are the most genuine and convincing way to get buy-in from stakeholders. After all, what good is a solution if it doesn’t benefit the person who has to use it?


It could be judgement towards yourself, others, and of ideas – deferring judgement is about getting rid of premature skepticism and allowing new perspectives to enter rather than defending what we already know. The more quickly we embrace this, the more quickly we can see things from different points of view. Imagine this: there’s a new girl in the office. She dresses quirkily, in bright colours and bold accessories that are sure to turn heads every time she walks into a room. Some people may judge her looking different, for coming into a corporate office with a blatant disrespect for rules, but by holding on to this judgement, you might close yourself off from seeing that she could, in fact, have been hired because of her immense ability to freely express herself.


At work, we are always afraid of what other people might think of our ideas. Are they too far-fetched, crazy, or silly? Design Thinking empowers you to release all these inhibitions, and equips you with the creative confidence you need to come up with new, groundbreaking ideas that can open up uncharted possibilities; those we might otherwise miss if we take the “conventional” route. Point is, it doesn’t matter how your colleagues feel about your ideas – it’s your users that really matter. So, spend a couple of hours testing these ideas with people outside before getting too worried about how they ‘sound’.


We should remember that every success story was preceded by failure. Most successful startups and entrepreneurs did not get to where they are now on their first try. Embracing failure means focusing more on the learning process, than the solution. Instead of fearing failure, we should look at it as a checkpoint – to help steer you away from what didn’t work, and closer to what will. Remember: the more you fail, the more likely you are to discover new ways to succeed.