“How do I find others who share my passion for design thinking?”
That was one of the first questions I asked as I immersed deeper into the world of design thinking. I wanted to meet individuals who shared my passion for design thinking but didn’t know where to start. I’ve found schools, meet-up groups, & online communities to be some of the richest areas to find fellow design thinkers.
For those who’ve received formal training in design-thinking, the easiest & most obvious place to meet other design thinkers is through your school and fellow classmates. It’s one of the benefits of enrolling in a design thinking class through an institution like General Assembly or Stanford d.School. Large universities like the University of Washington (http://comotion.uw.edu/) also have dedicated innovation departments with plenty of design thinking expertise and opportunities to connect.
Online design thinking classes can also offer fantastic opportunities to connect with the design thinking community. For example, both IDEO U and Coursera offer online design thinking classes with very active message boards and ample opportunity to meet others. IDEO U in particular, provides some great opportunities to create cohorts with fellow students.
There are also plenty of local design thinking groups for people who live in larger metropolitan areas. IDEO & AIGA are national organizations in the design-thinking space, with many regional groups that one can join.
- OpenIDEO – https://beta.openideo.com/chapters?
- AIGA – http://www.aiga.org/benefits/
In addition to these national organizations, I was pleasantly surprised by the power of Meetup.com. There are quite a few design thinking meetups throughout the US with plenty of members. Seattle’s Design Thinking & Innovation Collective for example, has well over 3,000 members!
- Meetup.com (Seattle example) – https://www.meetup.com/Design-Thinking-Innovation-Collective/
- Overview of my experience at this meetup: https://theaccidentaldesignthinker.com/2017/08/26/the-design-thinking-meetup-experience/
Online networks are the final area I’ve explored. Thus far, I have experience with Design Thinkers Academy Network, LinkedIn, & Google+.
Design Thinkers Academy Network has well over 6,000 members globally and lots of interesting content that I admittedly, have just recently begun exploring. (http://www.designthinkingnetwork.com/)
LinkedIn’s largest design thinking groups include ‘Design Thinking’ and ‘Design Thinking Group’. Both groups have lots of members but limited real “dialogue” (most posts consist of people pitching their organization and services).
Google+ has only a few, small groups with little content. The best I’ve found is ‘Design Thinking Exploration’; a good portion of the content comes directly from the group ‘owner’ but there are other regular contributors as well.
Insider Tip: If you’re having trouble finding design thinking communities, look for the following keywords that often overlap or are adjacent to design thinking: UX, Agile, CX, Design, Service Design Thinking, Human Centered Design (HCD), Innovation
In summary, there are many ways to immediately engage with the design thinking community, both online and in-person. Don’t hesitate to leverage the power of shared learning and enjoy the camaraderie of joining a design thinking community. Finally, please do let me know of other great design thinking communities I haven’t mentioned as I’m always on the lookout for more!