There are certain contexts in which the behavioral change of the individual is the goal of an intervention: just think of a design thinking training, maybe in the form of a multi-day workshop. Before and after such an intervention we might want to measure changes in attitude and behavior of participants.
Most of the time however we work on projects, where it is crucial to have the right people in a team. And, if we don’t have the right people (yet), then at least the ones who are willing to grow and learn. This is why it is crucial and in the very self-interest of any innovation team to put quite some brain into team member selection. A warning at this point: evaluating a team member is not easy due to emotions and social dynamics. You might »feel« if your colleague is a good team member and you will have arguments in favor and against that but a reasonably objective assessment can usually only be made by neutral third-party observers, like a design thinking coach, HR specialist, or psychologist. They know how to use the more sophisticated methods for measuring individuals whilst they perform their team and project work (see infobox below).
So, the bad news is: none of the objective and meaningful measuring methods are simple. They all need this third-party observer or researcher for analysis and can’t be performed by anyone without prior training. This is why this level is the hardest for self-measuring in your team. But in the table below I collected some easy to use, yet sound heuristics, which you could use for help if you have no third party that supports you or your team along the whole project.
Evaluating an individual team member before, during, and after a learning experience or project
|Individual Example Metrics||Before||During||After|
Reputation and track-record for design, innovation and entrepreneurship|
Get information about the team member’s skill set and reputation before starting the project:
|Displays or demonstrably develops an innovation mindset|
Are they willing to grow? → Find out by using Carol Dweck’s Growth/Fixed Mindset Scale ;
Are they open to discovery and challenging their own assumptions?
→ Do “I used to think, now I think/know” exercises regularly.
The number and quality of contributions the person made in the different working modes of design thinking|
Some questions you can ask yourself here are:
How to measure: hold retrospectives and post postmortems after every sprint.
As you see, the table’s focus is particularly on behaviors beneficial to design thinking. Basic hygiene factor behaviors, essential for all kinds of teamwork, like showing up at all, making time for the project, being social and polite, pulling work voluntarily, etc., are not part of this examination. Yet, I have to acknowledge that the lack of even such basic behaviors is often a problem in practice.
Besides above heuristics there exist some recent scientific instruments you could use to measure behavior beneficial to design thinking work. However, these are definitely more time-consuming and therefore often not so well suited for fast project business. In the next article of this series we will look into how one can measure the performance of design thinking teams.
Advanced methods to measure individual creativity and innovation behavior
In this setup a researcher video-observes, codes, and analyzes critical DT team behaviours, such as supporting, blocking, asking questions, interrupting, deviating, building on (ideas of) others, and more as an indicator of how well they really support each other when being in a »design thinking working mode« . Behaviors can be analyzed for each person individually.
With this instrument one can assess an individual’s set of attitudes, opinions, beliefs and behaviors widely associated with design thinking based on 22 constructs . In a similar vein the Innovation Self Efficacy Score (ISE) is an indicator for the development of confidence regarding important design thinking abilities .
The Alternative Uses Test measures an individual’s divergent thinking ability and in addition the Remote Associates Test measures convergent thinking. The ‘Dual Pathway to Creativity Model’ is a creativity test, which helps examining whether a person displays a healthy alternation between flexibility and persistence. In other words are they willing to quickly let go of their own ideas and thoughts and engage with the ones of other team members, but also to want to thoroughly delve into a topic?