What are Thinking Styles?
Thinking Styles are the archetypes that you would base characters on, like characters in TV episodes. (Try writing your scenarios like TV episodes, with constant characters.) Characters think, react, and made decisions based on their thinking style archetype. BUT they also switch thinking styles depending on context. For example, if you take a flight as a single traveler versus bringing a young child along–you’ll probably change your thinking style for that flight, including getting to the gate, boarding, and deplaning.
I teach a course on how to find the patterns that represent thinking styles.
Thinking Styles Are Used in Two Areas
The strategy space is where decisions are made about the direction you want to go with your solutions. Typically, product strategists and product managers, along with other stakeholders, make the decisions here. Up until now, these decisions seem to be less focused on supporting people, and with thinking styles, you can intentionally and systematically consider people you’ve been unintentionally harming. You can decide what part of the landscape you want to explore, see where to better support people there, and innovate in directions that have not been considered at all.
Thinking styles are used in the strategy space to:
- Define metrics of support by thinking style + tower/block (layered on OppMap)
- Realize who we are not supporting (recognize the narrowness of current solutions) by aligning org’s capabilities beneath towers then doing gap analysis
- Prioritize who to support first/next/not (urgency based on who is being harmed) by thinking style + lens (discrimination, physiology, culture, environment)
The solution space is where ideas about solutions are created, and where solutions are improved based on user research. It’s the area in which organizations spend most of their time.
Thinking styles are used in the solution space to:
- Create tailored/differentiated experiences by thinking style + lens (discrimination, physiology, culture, environment)
- Track strength/weakness analysis of your solution over time, by thinking style
- Frame other studies by thinking style (e.g. surveys, card sorts, usability tests, big data models, etc.) for cross-reference clarify the matrix of scenarios, with casts of characters based on different thinking styles
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