DESIGN THINKER PODCAST

Ep#19: The Viability Lens - Is it more than just cabbage soup?

December 05, 2023 Dr. Dani Chesson and Designer Peter Allan Episode 19
DESIGN THINKER PODCAST
Ep#19: The Viability Lens - Is it more than just cabbage soup?
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

The second of a three-part series on the three lenses of design thinking, this episode explores the viability lens. 

In this episode, you will be able to 

  • understand the key questions to consider when assessing a solution for viability 
  • learn how the viability lens contributes to better solutions 
  • hear real-world examples of applying the viability lens 

So, let's dive in to explore how to apply the viability lens to create better solutions. 

Speaker 1:

Welcome to the Design Thinker podcast, where we explore the theory and practice of design, hosted by me, donnie, and me Peter. Hello everyone and welcome to this week's episode. In this episode we continue on our three-part series looking at the lenses of design thinking. To refresh our memories, the three lenses are feasibility, viability and desirability. This week we're going to be diving into viability, so let's dive into the conversation. Hey, pete.

Speaker 2:

Hi Donnie, how are you?

Speaker 1:

Good, how are you?

Speaker 2:

I'm well, thanks, yeah, good to see you.

Speaker 1:

Let's talk about the viability lens.

Speaker 2:

The viability lens. Yeah, yeah, looking forward to this one, I thought I would look up the definition again and start there. Yeah, this is an interesting one, though the definition of viable rather than viability, this one says it's an adjective, capable, and the meaning is capable of working successfully. Feasible is the next word in the definition. It says capable of working successfully, semicolon feasible. I think we and our listeners should mentally raise the word feasible from our definition of viable, because for us that's a whole different lens. So capable of working successfully, that's my noise for raising feasible in my brain. But then the example is the proposed investment was economically viable. So reading or feasible gave me a little bit of an anxiety spike. And read that next instance, the proposed investment was economically viable and a bit of a sigh of relief because that's exactly in my mind what our definition of viable or viability is focused in on right.

Speaker 1:

The definition that I find that I quite like is ability to survive or live successfully.

Speaker 2:

That's further down in this definition around the kind of biology. So that, before we go on, and maybe slightly more seriously than my mental erasing of the word feasible, so to make a distinction between aspect of viability and our feasibility lens yeah, feasible, and yeah, I think it is important because it comes up in the conversation of these three lenses, of what is the difference between feasible and viable, and for me it's partly about choosing the definition that's most useful. But, yeah, what do you think about that surviving successfully? In relation to how does it distinct from feasible?

Speaker 1:

So, for me, feasibility is about is it something we can conceivably do? That's what we talked about last time, yeah, whereas viability is, is it something that can survive for you know, some amount of time?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, okay, nice.

Speaker 1:

So I know, in the context of design thinking and designing products and services, we often, often viability is looked at in terms of commercial viability or financial viable. I do think there's I think that's a very narrow way of looking at that lens.

Speaker 2:

Okay, I'm glad you think that because I'm hoping you can help me expand my thinking and to share with you. My thoughts had been relatively narrow around asking the question in our viability lens Space is this commercially viable? But actually I think it's more helpful to think about the question is it economically viable? Because sometimes the interest isn't solely commercial? But we can come back to that and I think it's a good opportunity to hear your broader thinking around viability.

Speaker 1:

Well, I think, from an organization perspective, we want to think about it. So, obviously, if you are a business and you're creating a product or service, the economical or financial viability is important, so I'm not dismissing that. In addition to that, though, I think we have to think about and I always struggle with is this a viable, or is it more around alignment, but is it viable for overall strategy? So all organizations have a strategy or mission or vision, all of those things that explain who we are as an organization. So I think we have to look at solutions and align them back to does this align to our strategy, does it align to our vision, does it align to the goal that we're trying to get to? And along the sides of that, along those sides, I think reputation is another thing we need to consider, Like is this solution from a? Is it viable to our reputation? Is it going to enhance it, is it going to sustain it, or is it a thing that we're going to do that might get us a quick little lift, but long term, it's going to have a negative impact on us. The other one that's becoming more and more important is sustainability, and here I'm specifically talking about environmentally sustainable. More and more, this is something that organizations are starting to consider. We're all starting to feel some of the impacts of what our climate is doing, and so that needs to be part of that viability lens. Is what we're doing viable for our environment?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, cool. And then I was just looking at some notes from our conversation around feasibility and we kind of brought them politically and ethically as two separate things and I think that, yeah, when we talked about it in the terms of feasibility and we started to think much, maybe those are more in the realm of viability rather than viability and feasibility. I don't know if you had any more thoughts on that, but yeah, I guess right now we're talking about what is our definition of viability in this context, right, and rather than why is it important or how we actually think about or ensure something is viable.

Speaker 1:

I wonder if the question that we need to ask, then is around is this solution enhancing Right? Does it enhance our financial situation? Does it enhance our strategy? Does it enhance our sustainability goals? Does it?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, it's a nice weak question and yeah, that's a really important question and sometimes one that could be easily missed you, and especially if you combine it with something you just mentioned, which is around long term viability or survivability, because sometimes we can, you know, in any aspect of our life we can do something that's potentially a quick fix or it then gives us a short term boost, but the effort required to keep that kind of short term boost going or plateauing something that that new level isn't actually feasible, not possible to keep it going. So, yes, it's like, does this enhance all or some of these dimensions we talked about and does it enhance it over the long term?

Speaker 1:

Transactions are very good at forgetting the long term. I often find that what we do is we come up with a lot of short term things and hope that we can stitch them together and make a long term impact, and that's not to minimize. You know there are trade offs. Sometimes you have to make trade offs between the long term and the short term, but it's just practicalities of life. However, I think we're starting to lose our ability to focus on the long term because we become so focused on the short term, and I think that's where this viability lens really helps us push our thinking Okay, well, we'll get this in the short term, but what does that look like when it goes out three, five, six, eight, nine years?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, nice, okay, so we've got emerging here. Then, viability is a number of these different kind of questions or domains, like economic, strategic, reputational viability almost the most important Now sustainable viability or environmental sustainability. Yeah, and what we're talking about is the long-term viability. That's helping us clear on the what. Maybe we've already started to answer that. Why is it important? But why is this important? What would happen if we didn't consider viability?

Speaker 1:

Well, if we look at each of these subcategories that sit in the lens, if we don't consider the viability, we could end up investing a lot of money, time, energy, effort on something that we're not going to get a return on. We could end up investing all of those resources in something that's going to be damaging to an organization's reputation, drive them away from their strategy.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, from a reputational point of view, yeah, it could be that it's actually as we talk about it. I think about it as really simple as like if you don't think about viability, or you accidentally deploy, deliver something that isn't viable in the long term, then the consequences are almost the opposite of. You know, you'll damage your reputation. Just continue your list. You'll potentially damage the environment.

Speaker 1:

And even just like the long-term sustainability in terms of like, how do we keep this going right? I think a good analogy to think about this is like you have all these like fad diets, right? So people decide, oh, I'm going to lose a bunch of weight quickly and I'm going to go do some I don't know where. You just eat cabbage all day or whatever crazy thing it is. It's not sustainable, right, and at some point you're going to need to eat something other than cabbage and like is that weight loss going to be sustainable on this thing? That was a short-term fix, so that's the analogy that always comes to mind for me when I think about viability Is this something that can be sustained Like? Is this a cabbage diet or is it more of a lifestyle?

Speaker 2:

Okay, nice, is this a cabbage diet? And you sorry, I interrupt you, you are is it? Rather than is this kind of an overall lifestyle adjustment? So it sticks into account. All of our previous habits are what comes to mind for me when we, when we in the viability it's like you mentioned it as well as fundamentally, will we be able to get back more than we put in, and then the kind of addition to that is in the long-term. So, in the case of a, I guess you know, fundamentally, in the case of a product or a service which is being, you know, if we are a commercial, for-profit organization, then it does come down to the commercial question of can we sell this for a higher price than it costs us to make it deliver it, et cetera, although, as I say that I'm thinking well, maybe not, because actually there's, you know, such things as loss leaders.

Speaker 1:

But that's where it comes back to strategy, right? Yeah, yeah yeah. Sometimes taking the loss upfront has a payoff in the long-term.

Speaker 2:

Yeah.

Speaker 1:

Sometimes it doesn't. Sometimes a loss leader is just a loss, but this is where I think another thing that you're bringing up here is that this is where we have to think about the solutions we create in context to other things that exist in the organization, and again, I think this is the viability lenses where it allows us to do that.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, okay, you have just literally just written down the word system as well. So, thinking of the organization or has a system which, in itself, is within part of a system, and you can kind of keep going and keep going. But yes, that was a bit of a light bulb that brightened for me there. It could be designing, in our case, or working on a particular product or service. It's both easy or sometimes necessary to really just focus on that particular product and service, but it's one of these kind of contradictory situations where you're also, at the same time, or the very next thing you need to do is take a step back and, okay, how does this fit into the context, how does this fit into the strategy and also fit into the organization system and all the other systems that whatever you're designing is part of? Yeah, this is really helpful actually thinking much more broadly about viability.

Speaker 1:

Well, I think all of these lenses have much deeper meaning, like, I think, the three circle diagram and the three words. They're a great visual and they're a good, quick thing we can use, but there is deeper meaning to each of these lenses that you kind of have to dig into and understand to really be able to execute on them.

Speaker 2:

well, yeah, and that means not sure if pausing is the right word, but certainly investing time and effort into these questions that we're asking and into seeking the answers to these questions. And I guess the word pausing comes to mind because I think of pausing to consider rather than kind of running ahead without thinking about, without any of these things, which is often because of the short term thinking that we're, the system we're becoming part of, which is more and more short term. Often we feel driven to and either unable to pause or really having to fight against the kind of flow to pause and take time to think about what actually, what are we doing? What is in this case? What are these viability questions?

Speaker 1:

So I think so far we've defined viability. So what is viability? Do you wanna recap that for us?

Speaker 2:

Viability is capable of working successfully and capable of surviving successfully over the long term.

Speaker 1:

And then we talked about some topics to think about within viability. So financial, economical, commercial, that money aspect, strategy in terms of like, how does this align with the strategy of where we're trying to go? Sustainability in terms of environmental context, reputation. One thing we didn't talk, we haven't talked about yet, that we did talk about last week and we decided to park, was around political, social, ethical, maybe we unpack that a little bit. Do we need to consider political in the viability lens?

Speaker 2:

Well, let's unpack that, because last time, when we were discussing feasibility, we decided to belong to viable. So, on the same with ethical and with social, we kind of played with the idea of maybe that belongs in desirable, but let's work through to those three things actually, and then, yeah, I'm keen to come back to this idea. Once we've done that, let's come back to this idea of the system and where that kind of sits. So, yeah, political viability, what's? I'm trying to think of some examples of things that might be desirable and feasible but for some reason they're all viable from a political point of view. Maybe. We talked about this last time and if you go out with, some features of some social networks are essentially either turned off or not available or diminished. In some countries like China, for example, the features of some social networks Facebook, Instagram, et cetera they're just not available to people who use those apps in that country because politically they're not permitted, because the government there has a different perspective on what citizens can and can't communicate with each other compared to other countries. Is that a viable example or obviously a non-viable example?

Speaker 1:

I think so. When you said political, my brain was going somewhere completely different.

Speaker 2:

Oh, okay, all right, let's get it. Okay, good, let's get into this. Then when was your brain going?

Speaker 1:

I think my brain was going like, if you are a government and you're deciding on creating services and thinking through, like, in this political environment, is this service that we're gonna develop, is it viable in this? So that's kind of where my brain was going with that.

Speaker 2:

Okay, yeah, could it be both?

Speaker 1:

It could be both, but then what I come back to is recently I was watching a documentary on the passing of the Equal Rights Act in the US and how so many politicians were at the time. So this is, I think, the 60s, 70s. At the time, so many politicians were advised to not touch it. So I think about that like at the time it wasn't politically viable if you were looking to stay in government or be voted in, whatever the outcome was, but that didn't mean that it wasn't something that should have been done. We look back on it and we go, oh, the Equal Rights Act. Obviously well, most of us at least obviously that's something that should have been done. So I think that's where I struggle with this political one, because so, from the way that I'm looking at it, politically, it goes down a different path, whereas I think where you're looking at it is are the products and services we design? Do they have features that may not align to the legalities of some countries?

Speaker 2:

Yes, and those that kind of legality the legislation comes from in some countries? Directly from the political? I think it can well. Maybe the point is that you're exploring the viability of your design, whatever it may be, whether it's a large-scale system design or a small-scale product or service. Then consider the political. Do you remember last time we talked about? It's a great opportunity to build your cross-functional team. When you're thinking about desirable, feasible, viable, it helps you bring in the right expertise. I'm trying to think in the organization, who would you bring in? What sort of person or what sort of role or skills to experience would be good to bring in and help with the political?

Speaker 1:

Now that you're framing it up that way, I wonder sorry, this is going back a little bit of rabbit-worn.

Speaker 2:

That's right. I like a good diversion tangent rabbit-worn.

Speaker 1:

Is this more about having some global contextual awareness? So let's say we were designing I don't know. Okay, I'll pick this one because it's what comes to mind at the moment. Let's say that we work for a travel company and we're designing trip packages. I'm going to go ahead and take the bet that at the moment, travel to Jerusalem isn't very appealing If we didn't have the awareness of what was happening around the world. We may be designing things that just don't land well.

Speaker 2:

Yes, and another example that came to mind. Actually, it's probably similar to this social network, but if we think about Uber, some of the conflict it's found itself in with governments either national governments or, more often than not, city or state governments around how they're allowed to operate, in what way their Uber drivers are considered, are they employees or are they self-employed, are they contractors, etc. I wonder for me not to dismiss your point about travel and consideration of where is acceptable to travel to, but for me this is like the political viability question and, as we've seen with Uber and other organisations like them they've been involved in similar conversations and I've said that word legal, maybe it's feasibility, but I think there is something in this long term because we've defined viability as a long term survival. So initially, let's take Uber as an example, welcomed with open arms by 90% of the population, including, I'm sure, the politicians that in these cities that use their services. But as different forces came into play, politicians discovered that it's not 100% upside and they had some people who can choose to either vote for them or not vote for them, in the form, in this case, of a whole bunch of taxi drivers who are up in arms about this competition being introduced and therefore the politicians pay attention to the people in their city who vote for them, versus the big corporation that can't but does have influence in other ways. Yeah, I guess maybe this might be an example of. In the short term, uber didn't come across that hurdle that hopes to go, a barrier to their continued success, a gay viability, but they did have to deal with that.

Speaker 1:

I don't know. I feel like to me this comes back more to legal than political.

Speaker 2:

Okay, but what about the question of the voters? Isn't that what politics is in a democracy?

Speaker 1:

So, if we go back, if we take the example of Uber specifically, right, so as a company scales their products and services across different jurisdictions, they have to consider the legal implications of that, because different countries have different rules and laws. That is a question to me. That's a question around feasibility, like, could we feasibly scale the solution, or is it specific to a certain geography? And if it is, that's okay. We just have to be deliberate that there's a limitation to the feasibility of this. But coming back to your questions around the voters, in a democracy, I guess for a for profit organization, there's the element of we have to make sure we're following the rules. So legally, is it feasible? And then there is the we have a ethical obligation to make sure that we're doing the right thing, and we all know from history not all organizations take their ethical responsibilities. The degree to which they take those responsibilities vary. So I'm really struggling with this political one because I don't know how it sits in with design.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, maybe it's let's. Let's tee up an episode with somebody who can help us. I think it through. He's got more. Maybe that's why I was thinking like, who in an organization would you, would you engage? Would you bring in to help you know, the design team? Think through these questions, I wonder. You know companies have external affairs and people maybe they would. They would be helpful. I'm interested in, I think it's. So it's an interesting area to think about.

Speaker 1:

I definitely think it's interesting.

Speaker 2:

And.

Speaker 1:

I like the idea of a future episode with someone that knows more about it than we do. Yeah we'll say this, and then we can move on to the next thing I do think, as designers, we do have to have a certain level of awareness of what is happening. Yes, politically.

Speaker 2:

Yes, I agree, it's our responsibility to consider all of these things and to make sure that a team were involved in, not even leading, but a team were involved in and helping. I think it's our responsibility to make sure that they are considering each of these things. All of these things we talked about, no matter which lens we happen to decide they fit into on that particular day, in that particular situation, because you know we've seen the consequences of that not happening. Yeah, well, now we can get really political, but let's get into that in another episode, the politics of design. What else did we have on our list?

Speaker 1:

So we had ethical. So we talked last time about how legality was about can we do it. Ethics is about should we do?

Speaker 2:

it.

Speaker 1:

So how does that play into design work?

Speaker 2:

Well, you know, as a designer or as a design team, it is, from a legal point of view and from all other considerations, of feasibility. We have a social media app that is to quote Jake Knapp from the Google sprint book and make time, as his other book describes it as an infinity pool. P, double L for those my accents yeah, but an infinity pool. What it means by that is you know you can scroll like you could sit on Facebook or many other apps and just scroll. You know if you're able to stay up 24 hours a day, seven days a week and you would just continuous. So that feasible. But is it ethical To do that, with the knowledge that human beings respond to the dopamine response. Do the dopamine response to the kind of random, sporadic newness of that infinite scrolling of information, knowing that it works out with that knowledge? Is it ethical to do that? Because you know that you can have somebody who's in a particular circumstance literally sit there for 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and maybe not literally in that case, but for a long time, for such a time that it's damaging to their mental health. So, knowing all that, is it ethical to do that? I mean, it seems to be viable because it's a way to keep people's attention and therefore be able to sell advertising. Is it ethical?

Speaker 1:

One. This is why I think, when we think about viability, we have to think about ethics, because it has to be part of the consideration of viability. Otherwise, you end up with things like that that can be quite damaging, and I think there is.

Speaker 2:

Isn't it me that's usually a little bit understated in my Quite. Damaging, yes, it can be quite damaging.

Speaker 1:

I think I'm starting to pick up on the New Zealand, british way of saying things. If we polite one, so it can be very damaging. How do we and I think that there's a lot of danger in? I think that ethics or design has come under a lot of scrutiny around ethics and I think also, like in my work, I combine behavioral science and design thinking and there are all sorts of ways that can go wrong. And I have a lot of fears about people doing a little bit of reading about behavioral science and then using it in very unethical ways, and sometimes that can happen unintentionally.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, yeah.

Speaker 1:

Right. So there is a danger in, as people start to use design more, as people start to use behavioral science more, that we start to create things that can be quite that can be very harmful to people. We have to bring ethics into the conversation, into our design work, into our decision making, more and more and more if we want to be good design practitioners.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I completely agree with that, and I think it's not easy, especially given, I guess, the forces that we're trying to harness and also the forces that oftentimes we're kind of, can be going against the flow let's put it that way in an organization or in a system. So, yeah, it's not easy. Imagine a future where designers or actually, well, imagine anybody in any organization or your contract is, you know, like the Hippocratic oath. It's like first do no harm. But that's certainly a question that we should be asking. You know, it's a bit like a NASA countdown space launch. You know, as we're going through, we've got a checklist of things and you know, right at the top of that checklist or right at the bottom, depending on how we're counting up or counting down to launch something is first do no harm framed into is this doing any harm question. If the answer to that is either yes or not sure, then let's just pause the countdown and again, pause that word. Let's think about and explore and try and really expand our thinking to understand, you know what, the consequences of what we're about to change in the world with our design and our implementation of that design. Let's think beyond just the immediate and what chain of events. Might it unfurl? Yeah, first do no harm.

Speaker 1:

In research ethics there's this concept of you know we have to accept that all research has some level of risk. Anything we do has some level of risk. But what you're always taught is you have to figure out are the benefits of doing this research worth the rest? So the benefits always have to outweigh the risk by a considerable amount. So it can't be a marginal amount, right? We can't harm people to do research and what they get out of it is marginal, and I think this is an important thing to come back to, particularly as we start to. So we know that all design work has to start with some sort of discovery. We have to go out and engage with consumers, but we have to consider is that what you know is the stuff that we're going to go ask people to engage in? If it is going to retraumatize them in some way, is it worth doing it and are we actually going to do something that will make things better for those people? A real life example of this is you know, one organization that I worked with wanted to go out and do interviews with people that have experienced a very traumatic loss due to a weather event, which can be very traumatizing for people to relive and tell their story, and I kept asking OK, this is going to be a very traumatizing thing for people to talk about. What are we prepared to do? Like? Well, why do we really need to do this? Is there some other way we can get to this? And when we do this, is what we're going to do differently? Is the thing that we're going to create? Is it going to be worthwhile for people to have to sit through and talk through this thing Because for me it wasn't worthwhile doing until there was a commitment and a very clear understanding of what we were looking to understand, why we needed to understand it and how, by doing this, we're going to make something that's better for that situation. Because it's pretty crappy if you go out there and you ask people to you know, share an experience that was painful, and then you're like, oh well, that's great, but there's really nothing we can do.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, yeah, it's the word selfish comes to mind. It's extremely selfish, the opposite of desirable as well. And yeah, interestingly again empathy comes to mind, like we talk about empathy and being empathetic. Yeah, we should build that into our thinking and our considerations long before starting engaging with the people we think we're going to be able to help or the people we're interested in finding out more about. Yeah thank you for that. That's an important point. Yeah, so again, you first do no harm, like again that word pause comes up to my mind all the time, just like just pause and think and have a conversation.

Speaker 1:

Well, I think in modern life we do not create time for reflection. We spend very little time thinking about what are we doing and what impact is it having. Because I think we all get, particularly in organizations, we get so hung up on the delivering of the thing and I think I've talked about this before like we get so hung up on the delivering of the thing but we kind of lose the plot of like, why are we doing it in the first place? But you can't do good design work if you're not making time to reflect. And that's not a let's reflect at the end. It has to be a daily practice and it doesn't have to be a three hour exercise either. Right, like there's research that shows 15 minutes of reflection can increase productivity by like 70% or some crazy number. Because when we pause, as you said, and we think about what it is that we're doing and the impact that it's having, we can start to tweak our path.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, it's like a cycle. The cycle that pops up comes into my mind. I use it quite often as this plan executing, debrief and learn. So you know we're talking about the debriefing and learning and that can be something we do for ourselves. It doesn't like you say, it doesn't take long. Yeah, I agree that we can find ourselves falling into the trap of not doing that, just continuing down a path because we're driven to deliver or in some ways seduced by that kind of end goal of delivering something.

Speaker 1:

And don't get me wrong, delivering is important. I am a personality, I'm very much goal motivated. Yeah, at the same time that what you're delivering, the quality of what you're delivering, the impact of what you're delivering also matters.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, just as much, I think just as much as like having those equal weight it's amazing.

Speaker 1:

Hey, here's this. Half thought about crappy product, but it's on time, yeah.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, yeah, that's fundamentally clashes with my values and something you've just somewhere to just use a really just shifted maybe my thinking around, or giving me an additional way to think about these lenses. Maybe you thought about it already, but whenever I've thought about this lenses before, I've thought about them as a almost like a question framework and like is this desirable, is this feasible, is this viable? But what you've just said helped me think. Actually, we could set this as like a goal setting or objective framework and we are going to do something that is desirable, feasible and viable. That is our goal. And then you flip that into oh, how might we make this as desirable, feasible and viable as we possibly can? I don't know, that might seem like either a moment for some people or a subtle shift, but actually I think it's. For me it's a really helpful, just a different way of thinking about it and just a way that you could kick off a piece of work to go right. This is our challenge. Like, as we go on, we're going to continue to hone this idea through different cycles of doing and thinking. Our overall objective is to make this thing as desirable, feasible and viable as we possibly can.

Speaker 1:

Absolutely. I mean to me, when someone says, oh, we're taking a human centered approach or design thinking approach to something, what my mind is saying, okay, we're going to create something that's desirable, feasible, viable. Maybe all of us need to get a little bit more explicit in saying that or stating that when we do that, and on the flip side, I like framing them as what if? Questions. I also like framing them as yes, no questions, as a way of holding themselves accountable. Right, when we say, you know, is this desirable? Will people want it? That's our way of to be able to answer that. We have to have gone out and done the discovery work. Yes, we have to have gone out and done the empathy work.

Speaker 2:

Yeah.

Speaker 1:

I think it's kind of three layers right. One is expressively as a goal, like we are going to create something that's desirable, feasible, viable. Then there is the framing it and the how might we make this desirable, feasible, viable? And then there is the accountability aspect of it. Is it desirable, Is it? And framing those and yes, I know questions so that we can hold ourselves accountable.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, nice, and that kind of fits in with my checklist idea like this If the answer to any of these questions is no, then we're not going to do this.

Speaker 1:

Okay, I think.

Speaker 2:

Go up.

Speaker 1:

I don't think if the answer to any of those questions is no, I don't think we kind of throw the whole you know baby and bathwater out. I think for anything that's a no. We need to understand why. And then I think it goes back to a how might we?

Speaker 2:

And continuing the cycle, in other words, iterating.

Speaker 1:

Because I think sometimes we have to remember that I and this is where I struggle with frameworks and models and stuff like that and processes is that it paints the world as being very idealistic and the real world is not idealistic and sometimes, sometimes we do have to do something that doesn't outside of breaking laws and harming people, which is always a no, to be clear. Sometimes we do have to do something that isn't. That might not quite meet the mark of feasibility yet, but we have to go out with it and then we have to figure out how to make it more feasible Again, as long as we're not harming people and we're not breaking any laws. And this is where the idea of really being committed to prototyping and continuous improvement is really important, because we don't live in an idealistic world. So we always have to balance these frameworks that we talk about with reality. An example of this is like we might be working on a solution and we have X amount of budget. We get down the path and we realize we'll actually, if we're going to do this, we actually need more budget. But we can't get more budget till we can prove that we could do something with the budget we have. So that's an example of where we might have to make some trade offs again, as long as we're not breaking any laws and harming people when we might have to deliver something as a proof point so that we could get the funding to really push the solution that meets all the check boxes right.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, that makes sense. It's like a, and also in doing so you start to discover whether something is actually viable in reality or not.

Speaker 1:

I also want to add design thinking always has this. I always get these comments around like oh, it's just a fluffy thing, or it's this or that, it's about making pretty things, yeah yeah, so by post it notes and yeah and sharpies, and brainstorming and yeah. Yeah, what I really enjoyed about the past two conversations so feasibility and viability is really teasing out that design work is also this it's about thinking of the practical implications of bringing something into the real world and making it work in the real world. So it's not just the fluff.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, yeah, I always think of them and describe it as this is like this, like really, yeah, it's like the tough and, like you say, the word fluff, but on the and it is also because it is about you know, you know ideas and and you know generating those and using our imagination and creating, but it is yeah and Yang is that and also the actual reality, the hard nose reality and making those tough decisions about, yeah, this thing would be a me, it's highly desirable, but there's no way we can do it or keep it going. So it's just, we can do it, yeah and for me it's. You know, it's a bit like, you know, the two hemispheres of our brain working in conjunction and but there being this continuous kind of balance or conversation and, you know, cycling through these questions of desirable, feasible and viable until we come up, ideally, we come up with the right balance of of each of them. But yeah, I agree, or try and emphasize that point, that it's not just the so called fluff but it's also the tough fluff and tough.

Speaker 1:

Or it's. It's about making the fluffy practical. That was a good chat. I really enjoyed that.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, that was great. Thank you for giving me lots to think about. And do you want to give us a recap? And then give us a recap and ask me what my take away is.

Speaker 1:

So let's see, we talked about what is viability, so I think we kind of landed on a definition around succeeding in the long term. Is it something that can be successful in the long term? We took, we looked at the different categories of things we have to look at when we're thinking viability. So financial strategy, sustainability, reputation. We had a very long circular conversation about politics and we decided to put a pin on that and get some expertise to weigh on that, because we were out of our depth. And we talked about ethics and how we have to start bringing ethics more into the conversation of design. And then we talked about some practical examples. We talked about how do we frame up thinking about the three lenses. So it's a goal, it helps facilitate the how and it can serve as an accountability checklist for good solution as well. Yeah, yeah, I think that's. Have I missed anything?

Speaker 2:

That's a great summary, oh, apart from cabbage soup.

Speaker 1:

Cabbage soup. I have not tried the cabbage soup diet, by the way.

Speaker 2:

No.

Speaker 1:

I like my cabbage raw and crunchy.

Speaker 2:

I like my cabbage in a stir fry. We've discovered a new icebreaker. How do you like cabbage?

Speaker 1:

What kind of cabbage?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, it's a replacement for Mars Briggs.

Speaker 1:

What's my takeaway?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, what's my takeaway? Yeah, this thing actually finished off on, which is these three layers. So we've got the three lenses and we combined them with these three layers of framing things up as goals, as how might we use, and then finally, most importantly, the accountability and framing, and I'm going to play around with how to visualize that and also how to visualize a set of questions that start to explore these different aspects of feasibility, viability and and desirability to what's your takeaway? An action item for you, yeah, yeah.

Speaker 1:

I'd love to see that when you pulled that together, Pete.

Speaker 2:

I'll share my first prototype with you.

Speaker 1:

My takeaway is actually kind of related, just solidifying that idea that we need to be more explicit, that when we say we're doing some, we're taking a human centered approach. What we're really saying is we're going to create something that's desirable, feasible and viable, and then how we can use these lenses to facilitate the process and also hold ourselves accountable. That came out of a question or a pondering you had.

Speaker 2:

A valuable policy and reflection. Thanks for helping me feel good about that.

Speaker 1:

That is, you know, we often like to have real life examples and that was a real life example of pausing and reflecting and the impact that it can have. Thanks for tuning in everyone today.

Speaker 2:

Yeah.

Speaker 1:

Be sure to check us out next week when we talk about desirability.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, we can forward to that one Me too.

Speaker 1:

Awesome. Thanks, Pete. Next time See you later.

Speaker 2:

See you next time. Bye performance.

Exploring Viability in Design Thinking
Political and Ethical Factors in Design
The Importance of Reflection in Design Work
Using the Lenses for Accountability