February 2020 > Originally posted on Medium
It’s NOT about a “Double” Diamond
At a recent
UX New Zealand
employment numbers on Design Thinking’s “Double Diamond”
as a nice way to show how the problem space exploration still gets
very little attention.
Number of people employed by double diamond quarter, from Erick
Erick’s graphic seems to have gone viral a bit, probably because it
supports the case that there is often not enough focus on insight
gathering and making sense of these insights.
Employment numbers are imho not necessarily the best metric, BUT
entrepreneurs do indeed often simply take their assumptions as facts
and even skip collecting and validating insights altogether … you
know, the dangerous “innovator bias”.
Bringing something from exploring a problem space all the way to a new
product on the market is never about one “Double Diamond” (… odds are
it’s also a lot more than
It is also NOT a linear process with 4 (Discover, Define, Develop,
Deliver), nor 5 (Empathize, Define, Ideate, Prototype, Test) or
whatever predetermined number of stages/phases.
Shaping a new value proposition is more like a long journey, with lots
and lots of diamonds of different sizes, maybe we can look at it a bit
like a “Diamond Chain”?
Diamond Chain, inspired by a graphic from the excellent “This is
Service Design Doing” book.
An acceptable answer to the question how long a diamond chain is,
would be with the question “how long is a piece of string?” i.e. it
Being diamonds, each one of these diamonds has: a start-point, a
divergent zone, a convergent zone, and an end-point.
It may be a tad (over)simplistic, but the divergent and convergent
zones are respectively, where stuff is being
collected/generated/created, and where the stuff is being organized to
make sense of it all . The “Groan Zone” (which also appears in “This is Service Design Doing”) highlights that switching from divergent to convergent is — more
often than not — extremely challenging.
Check out Facilitator’s Guide to Participatory Decision-Making to
learn more about the Groan Zone!
Groan Zone from the
Facilitator’s Guide to Participatory Decision-Making
The start-point and end-point of each diamond is where
documentation is (should be) consulted and
At the start-point the focus is on what we believe and where we are,
i.e. what is our vision, what have we done already, what do we know,
what have we tested/learned/validated so far.
At the end-point we record what we just did, what we learned and —
based on that — what we decided to do next, i.e. what type of diamond
will we do next (remember, it’s not a linear process).
As if the Groan Zone alone isn’t hard enough to navigate already,
whilst coaching and mentoring entrepreneurs/intrapreneurs we observed
that many also struggle with the “documentation” part.
The documentation is in many cases important, because between some of
these diamonds on the chain, this information is used as input to get
(continued) support/funding, in corporate environments usually
referred to a stage-gate of some sort.
This documentation can be in any format and it often comes in the form
of a Business Model Canvas or some sort of pitch-deck these days. The
completeness and value of the documented information is unfortunately
pretty poor. The content is also rarely — if ever — updated.
Previously my colleague
and myself already experimented with alternatives such as the
and we even created our own
version and later the
Although we found that our Business Blueprint did actually improve the
value of the content, we also concede that there’s still too much
confusion when “approvals” are needed … soooo, we are tinkering on
something new and we are in the process of writing up the first