I just finished watching a TED Talks video by Tim Brown about the need for a fresh look at the idea of design. He believes (and I agree) that what needs to happen in this age is for innovative/creative people to become design thinkers. Design thinkers, Tim explains are those who, “solve problems and make world-changing innovation.” He went on to explain that this kind of thinking had three basic characteristics:
- Design thinking is human centered.
- Design thinking doesn’t think to build, but builds to think.
- Design thinking shifts from consumption to participation.
As I listened to him, my thoughts began to turn to my passion of helping Boomers and Gen-Xers reinvent retirement. I think that what is needed to accomplish this is for these two groups to engage in this “design thinking.” But if we are going to make the most of this kind of thinking, we have to begin with the question:
How can Boomers and Gen-Xers enjoy the benefits of retirement while at the same time remaining active, productive, and profitable members of our modern society?
We have to decide how our “retirement years” can be lived to the benefit of others while providing us with the time and personal fulfillment we need as well.
We need to be courageous enough to build our retirement businesses in order to think, rather than thinking in order to build. In other words, we need to see our business as a prototype of what it will become as we learn what will and won’t work in response to those we are seeking to serve (our clients/customers).
We need to shift our retirement thoughts from what we can consume or provide for consumption and build our retirement years by looking for ways to encourage active participation in life and innovative thought, by the greatest number of people.
This kind of design thinking will make our retirement years the best of our lives and will allow us to leave a legacy that will far outlive even our best efforts!
What do you think? How would you use design thinking to make your retirement years the best years of your life? What can we do to encourage this kind of thinking in others?