While known as an approach for product innovation, Design Thinking can help leaders navigate through the myriad challenges presented during and beyond COVID-19. On today’s episode, I chat with innovation guru Noelle Dye, who pioneered design thinking work as part of the team that developed P&G’s blockbuster Swiffer products. The essence of Design Thinking is truly understanding your customer, prototyping, failing fast, and iterating/failing until the innovation emerges. Noelle’s advice to apply it during this time is (1) observe your customer objectively and without attachment to any particular solution, (2) become your customer, and (3) engage your customer and truly listen, including what they don’t say. We discussed the inherent tension between employees (READ: leaders’ customers!) staying connected yet protected once we resume work in offices. Astute and creative leaders will solve for both important yet seemingly contradictory goals. The other key to success in Design Thinking is comfort with frequent failure (GASP!!!), so we also exchanged ways that fellow overachievers can let go of the need to be right, SHIFT how we gauge self-worth, and reframe failure as a necessary element of success.

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