Design Thinking in Plain English

I’ve been writing about design thinking for a few weeks now. I’ve spoke of Western culture’s growing emphasis on creativity and knowledge in business and the increasing importance of design thinking.

As Cultural Creatives we use design thinking naturally. Yay!

Below is a video, created by Standford University students, explaining what design thinking is and how to apply it.

This is a great video to watch if you aren’t 100% clear on the concept of design thinking or if you’d like a better understanding of how your mind goes about solving problems.

Systems Thinking My Way to Freedom

Systems Thinking My Way to Freedom

photo credit Georg

In order to write Pay What It’s Worth, my first book of what I hope is many books, I needed to trick myself into not being so scared. I didn’t believe I could do it. I didn’t trust that I had what it took to fulfill a dream I’d held for so long. I couldn’t see how I could clearly share everything that was within me.

As time passed and I continued to struggle with inaction, I decided that a re-framing was in order. I needed to see my newly forming book not as a static unchanging expression (a singular book) but rather as a system of expression (a book that could be upgraded with new versions as my learning and growth arose). Complex systems get created incrementally, layer by layer, by implementing sequential and layered designs that connect to deliver a better whole. They are not formed all at once, nor are they formed perfectly.

I understood this truth, lived it in my non-writing work, and with space and continued struggle, I saw the necessity for this thinking to be applied to my writing work. I was paralyzed without it, stuck reaching for the impossible goal of permanent perfection. I desperately needed to see beyond my ego needs. I desperately needed to understand that there was no real reason that the systems thinking I had grown to love and trust, to incrementally connect things layer by layer, could not be applied to my (or any) book, or to the introduction of an idea and approach I desired to share.

By embracing this systems perspective in my book writing (and in my sharing of an idea close to my heart), it helped me to create freedom to take action on my ideas. In shifting my thinking, I allowed my creation to be imperfect, and I was able to accept that these imperfections would be highlighted and gradually improved upon with time-space and experience. As a person that uses perfectionism as a tool for inaction, this shift in thinking was critical for me to be finally able to move out of the stuck place I was in. I needed to get outside my own desire to get everything exactly right, whatever that meant.

I needed to think about my creation as a layered, changing system so I could feel free in it — free to change, free to grow, free to not know, free to let it out as it was. Seeing my book as system to be grown incrementally helped me create the freedom I needed to move forward to create and express. Systems thinking released me from the unreality of perfection. Systems thinking allowed me the space to naturally make the connections I needed to grow, and systems thinking will continue to support me in growing and building the freedom of creation I desire.

photo credit: Georg

Design Happiness

Design Happiness

Design Happiness

“What if we looked at the world as a design project – how might we begin to make it better?” – Bruce Mau

Design is not just aesthetics. It doesn’t exist for business, culture, or nature; business, culture, and nature exist because of it.

It’s not making stuff pretty. Design is solving problems and changing lives. Design is applying your creativity strategically. And because of new technological advances, our increased sharing of knowledge, and our ingenuity, it’s now possible to design everything.

And when I say everything, I mean it. I’m not just talking about your stuff, I’m not just talking about matter. I’m talking about You, your existence, I’m talking about designing meaning.

Design defined.

To design (with a sense of purpose) is to:

  1. understand what is needed
  2. satiate that need

It’s really that simple.

Design is You breaking out of old patterns of thinking and behaviour. Design is You being empathetic and conscious to human needs and desires. Your own, and others.

Do it. Design it.

You can design your dream day if you understand what you desire and fulfill it.
You can design your dream business if you understand what you need and quench that need.
You can design your dream website if you understand what you require and execute it.

You can design the meaning of your life. And business. And everything in-between. You have the choice and the talent.

You won’t have to do it alone.

There’s a personal design revolution afoot. Some of us don’t want design done for us. We want it done with us or by us.

We want to use our imagination. We want to apply our creativity strategically.

We’re choosing to design our world like no one else can.

photo by: photographer padawan *(xava du)

Why I Do What I Do

Why I Do What I Do


Sometimes, I wonder why I do what I do.

Why do I love what I love? Why do I choose to spend my time in the way that I do?

Most of the time, I’m not asking myself these questions. Most of the time, I’m just doing my thing. But sometimes, I wonder why I do what I do, and sometimes, I get an unexpected answers to that question.

Yesterday was one of those days. I found a note I had written 2009’ish — it was about the point of this blog, and why I spend my time and energy authoring it. It outlined what this space means to me, and why its existence matters. To me, and to you. And I needed that, I needed the reminder of why I do what I do.

Because sometimes I forget, and sometimes I take it for granted. And I don’t want to do that so much anymore. I want to feel my purpose more. So, I’m going to share what I wrote — what I found — so you know why I’m here, and I know it too. I’m considering it a permanent record of purpose.

The goal of my work is:

To be inspiring an evolution in business values by expressing my beliefs about life, in my work.

The intention of this blog is:

Rise of the Innerpreneur provides ideas and strategies for business owners who question conventional business ideals and who are choosing to practice a new kind of economics, one based upon using their creativity and skills for the greater good — for one’s own Self, for society and for the planet.

The blog generates awareness that a more mindful form of entrepreneurship exists, and provides support and connections to this growing number of business people who are inspiring an evolution in business values by expressing their beliefs about life, in their work. I integrate such concepts as design thinking, spirituality, meaningful capitalism, and authentic marketing to illustrate that career success is defined by the individual, and that sustainable business growth depends on honest self-development and an awareness of how you uniquely add value to the world.

You really matter to me. Thank you for reading and for evolving with me.

I love you,


photo credit: Seth Sawyers

My Brain is Abuzz With Our Changing Minds

My Brain is Abuzz With Our Changing Minds

photo credit: Michael Casey

I love to read. It’s a passion. And now that I have learned a little about innerpreneurship and our Cultural Creative subculture, I am obsessed with learning more. Coupled with my own obsession, I recently had the pleasure of meeting my first mentor, Dr. Mishail Yanakiev, who has been filling my mind daily with information related to our movement.

The more I read, the more I am sure that there is a great cultural transformation underway. Slowly, people are changing their thinking. It is evident everywhere and it gives me hope.

People must have the desire to change, we can not make them. All we can do is lead by example and educate. Below are leading ideas in Social Science and Business, ideas that are spreading, ideas that further validate that our way of thinking is the future.

Changes in Social Science

Positive Psychology

Positive Psychology is a new branch of psychology that focuses on the empirical study of such things as positive emotions, strengths-based character, and healthy institutions. It’s purpose is to make the world a happier place, parallel to the way clinical psychologists have made the world a less unhappy place.

Penn State University and Dr. Martin Seligman are at the forefront of this new movement in Psychology. Their Authentic Happiness website has great resources if you want to learn more about this new field and has an extensive number of free questionnaires covering emotions, meaning, engagement and life satisfaction.

The questionnaires measure character strengths and aspects of happiness. For each one you take, the site keeps a record of your scores, so that you can return later and see how far you’ve progressed.

Penn State is also the first university in the world to offer a Masters in Applied Positive Psychology. If you feel like helping with their research they are currently looking for participants for their Postive Psychology research. Participation in the studies can be done completely online.

Another fascinating resource on Positive Psychology is BBC News’ site on The Happiness Formula.

Changes in Business

Systems Thinking

The old standard of business thinking (and what is still taught in many business schools, including the one I attended) is reductionistic and analytical. You are taught to deal with complexity by dividing things into parts for the purpose of making them easier to manage and control.

Example: A communications provider designs their business by creating business units that separately handle wireless, television, and publishing. The principle criterion used to evaluate a unit is that unit’s individual success. Each unit runs separately and has separate departments. Very little is interconnected.

Systems thinking is the growing standard in business thinking that is holistic and synthetic. Progressive business schools throughout the world are teaching young minds to deal with complexity by looking at the system as a whole and evaluating the inter-dependent parts based upon how well they serve the overall purpose of the system. This type of thinking is about the relationships between the parts.

Example: An architect designs a house by first sketches the house as a whole and then puts rooms into it. The principal criterion he employs in evaluating a room is what effect it has on the whole. He is even willing to make a room worse if doing so will make the house better.

Design Thinking

Synonymous with synthetic thinking (look at the whole, not the parts), and thus a component of systems thinking, design thinking is at the tipping point of replacing analytical thinking as the preferred way of reasoning in business. This is, of course, due to rising creative class and the growing emphasis on creativity and knowledge in business. Many argue that in order to develop, communicate, and pursue an effective strategy businesses must think more like designers.

There are now over 60 universities world-wide offering combined degrees in design and business.

The Desire to Change Is Growing

The status quo is being challenged all around us. Credit globalization, credit global warming, credit overpopulation, it doesn’t matter. The fact is, the world is changing. And people will have to adapt to these changes in order to survive. This idea alone gives me great hope, as the desire to survive will create the desire to change.

The harder I look, the more Cultural Creative values, lifestyles and world-views I see reshaping our culture. What other areas do you notice changing?