Design Thinking - learnings from the wild nature.
Updated: Mar 17, 2020
I adopted a dog 2 years ago. And since then, I have developed a keen interest in observing animal behaviour. Similarities I find between animals in nature and Design Thinking are startling. For instance, Me and my wife love to travel with our dog (Tub). We have been on various treks into the forests of Himalaya. Tub being a mountain dog, has natural liking for the mountains. Whenever he is faced off with any difficult or new situation, first thing he does is to freeze and then with his senses, ‘senses’ the danger. He senses the environment. He observes each and every element in the surrounding. Sees everything, Smells everything. He gets aware of the surrounding. He makes a mental map of the ecosystem, which extends beyond tangibility - doing this he is able to understand critical elements that he needs to be careful of, and then he thinks of his next move - should I wait? should I move ahead? should I retreat? so on and so forth. While doing this, he also tries to eliminates all dangers and negates all possibilities of harm, he even sometimes find opportunity to find his own food! Well he is an animal after all.
Having a 'plan' is not enough. It also requires certain amount of gut. Even if he is certain of every element, there is nothing he can do to overcome the anxiety of those last few moments. Anything can happen in those few seconds. But, that is the point where real courage lies. That is the point where others might just turn back and leave. And this courage differentiates between life and death in the wild.
Similarly, Design mandates you to understand the complete ecosystem before making any strategy. It tells you to hold tight, look around, gauge everything, every stakeholder and then make sense - be certain. Obviously being certain is not enough. Once you have the complete mental map of the situation - you will have to take last leap of faith. You will have to make a move or else you will waste everything that you have done so far. That is the time of real courage. In that critical moment, you either live or die.