#6 – Design Thinking

Creativity and Innovation

Whatta lesson I had from the last Creativity and Innovation class! Lemme share it here, hopefully it will be beneficial 😀

Adi Panuntun came to my Creativity and Innovation class on March 21st, 2011. He was graduated from DKV ITB class 1997. He owns a production house, Sembilan Matahari, and together with his friends he created Cin(T)a the Movie. He shared his experience as a designer, another field of study that any entrepreneurs should take a look inside a little bit.

Adi Panuntun

God is a Director


On my previous post I stated that Idea is the most powerful thing. And last week, Adi Panuntun asked the class “Why do people keeping their idea for themselves only?” Various answers came from the class, including afraid of being mocked, afraid of being wrong, feeling insecure that someone would steal the idea, etc. But you know what? These people were being mocked and laughed at when they were expressing their idea.

Sosrodjojo - Founder of Teh Botol Sosro

Pak Sosro dulu diketawain sama orang-orang disekitarnya. Mengapa? Mungkin kurang lebih kaya gini percakapannya disuatu sore saat bapak-bapak sedang duduk-duduk di teras rumah:

Pak Sosro: Eh bosen nih gua minum teh harus nyeduh dulu (duduk)

Teman #1: Ya elah banyak mau lo

Pak Sosro: Ok. Gua akan buat teh dalem botol! (mulai ngangkat tangan ke udara)

Teman #2: Apa sih?

Pak Sosro: Iya! Gua akan buat minuman teh dalem botol, jadi kite-kite ga perlu nunggu bini-bini kita nyeduhin teh lagi, bisa langsung leeep. Dan teh dalam botol ini akan gue namanakan “TEH BOTOL SOSRO” (berdiri dari kursi)

Teman #3: GILA LO, SRO!

Teman #2: Wah gak bener nih otak sih Sosro!

Teman #1: Parah bet dah!


Pak Sosro: (menjauh dari kursi) Ok. Kita lihat siapa yang tertawa terakhir (pergi memunggungi teman-temannya yang masih asyik tertawa)

Mungkin cerita di atas hanya imajinasi saya. With all due respect Pak Sosro, ampun saya cuma iseng. Tapi,

Pak Sosro’s idea way back when would sound really stupid, and didn’t make any sense. Why would people want to have tea from a bottle? Well, turned out that PT. Sinar Sosro generated a net profit of Rp2.1 trillion at the end of 2009. Yeah, who’s laughing now?

The same thing happened to Tirto Utomo,

Tirto Utomo - Founder of Aqua

He was the man behind the most well-known brand, Aqua. Aqua is a brand for bottled water. Well, did you imagine what his acquaintances would say when he proposed the idea of Aqua? You know, putting water, plain water into a bottle. Dude, that was tough.

He was even crazier because he quitted his job in Pertamina as one of the top manager to build his idea of putting in water to bottle. Guess what? Aqua generated profit of Rp3.08 trillion in 2010.

Man, you gotta be that crazy to be that rich!

So, first if all, be brave in expressing your idea! Not “but” for any idea coming from your head!


Design Thinking is about balancing Exploration and Exploitation. Exploration means pushing forward your creativity without limits, and on the other hand Exploitation keeps your analytical skill to come at the same level with your creativity. Do you know the greatest entrepreneur of all time who can balance those two? He’s the one and only, Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple Co. Didn’t you ever wonder why he would named his IT company after a fruit? Steve Jobs is good in doing this: create meaning by connecting things!

Let’s have a test, shall we? What would be the connection between Apple (as a fruit) and a board marker, physically and conceptually?

Apple Fruit


Here’s what I have in mind,

Conceptually, boardmarker is the essential stuff for lecturing. Teachers and lectures use it everytime. Newton was inspired by the falling of an apple from its tree when he discovered the Gravitation. Physically, both apple and boardmarker have green and red color. In class, I really like taking notes with colorful pen! It feels good!

As a result,

The connection between Apple and boardmarker would be: Knowledge. The story I’m going to put into this connection would be: Fun Learning! See that boardmarker is used inside the class while Newton learned something barely from being in a class, he was sitting under the apple tree, thinking. Therefore, I’m building a school where the learning process will not always coming from inside the class. This kind of learning process will give the students lessons that can’t be gained if they just sit in the class, listening to their teacher. Since boardmarker can be used to draw various color, which lead to art, the school will focus more on educating art for children.

And, I will name my school: The Apple Tree, Modern Art School.

Ok. I’ve learned how to become Steve Jobs. No, what I’m trying to say is I’ve learned to express my idea, practicing by connecting two things. So now I already have my own idea, and successfully expressed it. How am I going to process that idea even deeper? It’s time to  think like a designer.

If you ever wonder what is the definition of Design Thinking, below picture will probably answer your curiosity.

The Definition of Design Thinking

If so, how is exactly a designer’s thinking process?


Thinking Process: Focus on Human Experience

The picture above is our thinking process in everyday life. But, for a designer, the thinking process always focuses on human experience. Observe, Brainstorm, and Prototype are where we’re required to be creative, whereas Synthesize, Vote, and Story Tell are where our analytical skill is required.

O1. Choose people to share their ideas, 2. Write down quotes, not summary, 3. Who? What? Where? When?

S1. Look for emotion expressed / non emotion root causes, 2. Common context, 3. Ask “How might we?”

B1. MBA hats off! Defer judgement!, 2. Be prolific, 3. Do not wait! Write it down.

V1. Cluster & sort idea, 2. Three stages in voting: (1)Desirable – Human Interest, (2)Viable – Business/Economy aspect, (3)Feasible (Technology), 3. Choose concept

PSo that you can see, touch, and feel everything you have in your mind!

STPut story to the idea!


There are changes in the retail market place over the next 10 years. How should we response to these changes? Suppose there are 2 different people who want to address the issue:

1) Traditional Business Strategy Class

2) Innovation and Design Class

Will they have different answers? I am pretty sure they will.

Traditional Business Strategy Class Even as a marketing student, where I also study Customer Behavior course, turn out that the study is deficient in knowing what customer really wants and needs. It is all about what they would act and react. There’s something different about hoe designer would think, it is their ability to see the most practical cause, something you have to deal with Human Interest.

People from business strategy class might research on trends, and the market place. They might analyze the sales report, and any kind of reports they could have such as reports from the expert, the competitor landscape, etc. Their main goal would be objective. They might be looking for the best solution ever! They plan everything down, the new business strategy complete with the calculation o NPV and ROI. They might be very logical for example using macroeconomic theory about supply and demand.

On the other hand,

Innovation and Design Class The innovation and design class people have slightly different approach on how to address the issue. They might be also read reports. However, their actions would be based on subjective assessment. While the business strategy class people are looking for the best solution, designers wouldn’t want waste their time searching for the best solution, but the better solution. Because establishing something to be the best would make a false assumption. They might take their time to walk around the store to do direct observation. They might talk to both customers and providers, looking for something that a business analysts would miss. There’s some emotion takes control in these actions. As it is previously mentioned, a designer looks for human interest. They focus more on how a human experience something.

Now that’s that. See the difference? Gotta balance them both, fellas 😀


“Conventional wisdom blocks idea and innovation. It only makes another follower” – Adi Panuntun, March 2011

“Assumptions limit our creativity” – Adi Panuntun, March 2011

Keep inspiring, Bang Atun! 😀



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