Thursday, March 18, 2010

Design Thinking for Associations

Have you heard of "design thinking?" Here is Wikipedia's view:

Design thinking is a process for practical, creative resolution of problems or issues that looks for an improved future result. It is the essential ability to combine empathy, creativity and rationality to meet user needs and drive business success. Unlike analytical thinking, design thinking is a creative process based around the "building up" of ideas. There are no judgments early on in design thinking. This eliminates the fear of failure and encourages maximum input and participation in the ideation and prototype phases. Outside the box thinking is encouraged in these earlier processes since this can often lead to creative solutions.

Design thinking. (2010, February 26). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 12:29, March 18, 2010, from

In the world of associations, there is a need for busting through the "we've always done it that way" mentality and envisioning new possibilities. But we are the only ones who can do it - those of us working in the association industry. Those of us who care about our organizations and the way we spend our days and those of us who are willing to think of new ways, new questions, and new answers.

That's why I am hyper-excited about the upcoming "No More Talk" event Jeff De Cagna (Principled Innovation) and I (DelCor) are facilitating on April 22 in Washington, DC. If you have ever wanted to try something truly different using design thinking to approach association issues, this is your chance! Actually, I am really excited because I've never even heard of anyone doing something like this and it seems full of possibility.

No More Talk is about turning words into action to innovate the association community. You can bring your idea to the table or come up with a good one there and work with a team of similarly passionate association professionals to develop that idea. Winning ideas can potentially receive $1,000 seed grants to make action possible after the event ends. But the point is not about the money - the point is about bringing together a group of people with a pioneering spirit to do something new.

This event was inspired by the active online conversation surrounding Acronym Blog's month-long focus on "big ideas" at the end of 2009. You can read some of those posts here, here, and here for more background. I guess I figured that if I was willing to voice my opinion about big ideas as a blogger, I owed the community (and myself) to follow it up with action.

Who's invited? Advocacy professionals, association folks, consultants... anyone working in the non-profit realm who want to challenge themselves to breaking new ground. This is our think tank - this is our playground - this is our chance to be unpredictable by nature.

Don't be scared. Be excited and join us for this special event! Registration is open now and limited to the first 50 people. The cost is $30 (for meals) and we can't wait to see you there!

View the commercial here:

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