#8: Design thinking and mental health

Design thinking and mental health: Episode Notes

Leaders often miss the close connection between design thinking and mental health. This happens mostly because they think of design as something purely aesthetic that is not relevant for their business.

Design thinking is a hyper-iterative process that encourages individuals to fail fast in order to keep experimenting and improving over time.
Specifically, design thinking helps cut through rigid frameworks and radical systems by making use of creativity and navigating new processes of creation through three key lenses:

  • Viability
  • Feasibility
  • Desirability
Because of the dynamic nature of design thinking, individuals understand that it is ok to make mistakes and deliver suboptimal performances in the initial stages of any process. On top of that, people who embrace this mentality learn to value the power of human-to-human connections that stem from open-mindedness and collaboration.
Ultimately, to design an organization around people means to create a safe space where all stakeholders have their own voice.
In order to achieve that, managers need to act as sponsors and lead by example, so that everyone around them is drawn to help co-create a new structure based on the right values.
By the end of our conversation, Emily suggests a practical way to re-assess your personal balance in a few easy steps:
  1. Get a hold of (sticky) notes
  2. Write down what areas in your life are consuming too much energy
  3. Write down what areas in your life take little energy
  4. Compare steps 2 and 3
  5. Should there be a significant imbalance, redesign your personal system

Our Guest: Emily Anding

Emily Anding Profile Picture

Emily is a thought leader in design thinking and learning, with a background in organizational & experience design, change management, and strategy. She has led projects around the globe for Lyft, IDEO U, GE Digital, and General Mills (the most exciting in Saudi Arabia, although the best street food goes to Bosnia), across industries including digital transformation, aerospace, manufacturing, higher education, oil and gas, and transportation. She believes that innovative solutions are created by leading with empathy, spotting patterns among disparate data points, and thinking beyond seemingly disconnected lenses.

Emily is on a mission to bring authenticity, silliness, and play to her teams, empowering people to do their best work. Outside of the office (virtual or brick and mortar), you can find Emily rock climbing somewhere in the desert, fossil hunting, playing banjo, propagating plants, or trying a new combination of spices to make the best sourdough pancakes in the world. She holds an MBA from the College of William and Mary and a BA in Environmental Policy from The Colorado College.


Emily Anding Linkedin profile

Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer

Untamed by Glennon Doyle

Women who run with the wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estés

Brené on FFTs (from the Unlocking Us Podcast by Brené Brown)