Moving past the fear

Written by Parker Gates
Posted February 26, 2014

We’ve been leading these human centered design workshops, intensives, and project launches, for a few years now. At the end of all of these sessions we typically debrief the experience with the participants as a way of processing and emotionally organizing the events of the past day or two. The focus being HOW we worked instead of WHAT we worked on.
We consistently hear similar remarks during these debriefs. Like: how much they enjoyed working with people they never have the chance to collaborate with, how much they loved the feeling of working in an encouraging environment and how that differs so much from the culture they come from. How effective it is to use shared visual assets like post-its and how important good space is to creative work.
But the most common thing we hear about is an overarching anxiety about how to take this new way of working back to their workplace. To a place and a culture that they don’t feel will support this new way of working. In fact, most people seem genuinely afraid of being ridiculed and defeated.
In the past year Anna and I have started talking more and more about the importance of vulnerability not only as a basis for creative work but also as a means of sparking the kind of culture shift that allows innovation to really thrive.
Unfortunately just talking about it doesn’t seem to be enough. It’s not giving people the kind of courage and confidence in their newfound ability and tools to forge ahead without that foreboding feeling.

So here’s my prompt:
How might we enable participants and newcomers to design thinking to take this way of working back to their organization with enthusiasm instead of fear?

Tell us about a time in your life when you tried something even though you were really scared it wouldn’t work or that you might not be accepted if you behaved a certain way.
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