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chapter 4

start using these

principles in your org

right away

The principles explained within are practical enough to start doing in your organization right away. These consist of: investing time to define the right challenge to work on, setting up a cross-functional team, focusing on creating something of real value for your audience and only use 10% of your intuition - and 90% of testing and learning.

  • An action plan for news and media organizations to quickly implement Design Thinking.

  • Invest time to define the right challenge to work on.

  • Set up a cross-functional team.

  • Focus on creating something of real value for your audience.

  • Only use 10% of your intuition — and 90% of testing and learning.



These principles aren’t theoretical; we’ve seen them work in other industries. More importantly, we think these are practical enough to start doing in your organization straight away.

Here are four things that can be done today.

1. Invest time to define

the right challenge to work on

Before tackling any challenge, start by asking a few key questions to ensure you progress down the right path. Is it a real and urgent problem? Is the challenge human-centred and focussed on the user? Is the challenge accessible, understandable, or even inspiring?


To make sure you don’t go too broad or narrow when scoping a challenge, keep the following in mind; does the challenge allow for a diverse scope of solutions? Is it narrow enough to be manageable and not too big or vague? Does it take any relevant constraints into account? Does it allow for creative freedom?


Try a quick test and see if you can come up with some solutions in 5 minutes. Quick options can help you flesh an idea out further — it’s a path forward to test a point of view. If you’re still struggling with it after 5 minutes, it might mean you should rethink your starting point.


2. Set up a

cross-functional team

Establishing the right team is key. We recommend working with teams of five to eight people. Here are the skills you will need to cover off:

  • A high-profile decision maker in the organization. This needs to be someone that will drive the solution forward after the project sprint has been completed.

  • Design-thinking expertise. This may be found in the project lead who has experience in projects and brings together a background in design, technology, or business innovation.

  • User/audience voice. This person represents the user in the room and advocates for them. Assign a persona for that person to “wear”, and equip them with sufficient user research to speak for the audience with authority.

  • A subject-matter expert who’s familiar with the context of the challenge. Deep subject knowledge and expertise are crucial to move product development faster.

  • User experience to develop an audience-centric, user-centric product.

  • Maker abilities. Someone who’s capable of creating a digital prototype — or a minimum viable product (MVP). This is usually a product designer or front-end developer.


3. Focus on creating something of real value

for your audience

We have a whole chapter on this. So jump to chapter 5 on running your own design sprint if you want to know how.


4. Only use 10% of your intuition — and 90%

of testing and learning

Having a product mindset relies on learning constantly from the user.

No product is infallible or is ever 100% perfect. Not being afraid to fail, testing solutions as early as possible, and learning from users is one of the key mindset changes.

Media and news organizations tend to need the perfect piece of copy as this was part of the print culture. In the digital and audience-centric age, testing and learning early on with your users is king.


Design Thinking

for Media

Run a Design Sprint

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