Socratic Design©

After working for ten years with small and big companies, universities, art-academies and governments defining their goals, values, philosophies and strategies; I finally come to a robust and coherent Socratic Design Method, a method to free people and organisations from the burden of unproductive or even destructive procedures, unclear language, old thoughts, silo thinking and wrong assumptions. If we want to create strong new values, we must be in a state of virginal thinking, not as a stand alone, but as a hyper creative collective.

Fragmented organisations and innovations

Many organisations are fragmented by separate departments, different disciplines of thinking, different values and procedures or just by non-communicative transactions. In order to create new products, services and apps we need a strong shared base of common intelligence. We all want fast and strong new innovations, because the world is changing so fast, but being on the surface of these super speed currents, bears the risk of a speedy disappearance. The art is – like in physics – to have a strong sensitive and communicative team that works within a united paradigm and that knows how to investigate what true values for the quality of life are, how to test and how to imagine new futures. Basically we look for the invariance in our world and for what needs to be changed! We also know why we do this (the mission of the company). Then you have shaped a strong course for any situation or for any future! Prepare for the uncertain! “

Thoughts instead of thinking

On top of that we have a wrong idea of our way of thinking: when we have a thought in our heads, even it is the same thought several times, we have the sensation that we really „think”. Unfortunately we are not: we are just „rehearsing” the same thought over and over again. Thought is the past tense of think! These thoughts are additive and provoke a release of endorphin. This is also the main reason why we cannot listen to other people, we transform the thoughts expressed into our own familiar thoughts.

Fragmented personalities and innovations

In order to create real quality for good life practices, we ourselves need to be in a state of „clear mind”. But not only our surroundings are fragmented, we have incorporated these fragmented ideas and thoughts. You mirror your surroundings. When the car forces you to put on a safety belt, you will act like a responsible driver. When the workplace radiates distrust by cameras, electric gates, checkpoints or even at random check on theft, you will feel more distrustful and will possible act like it. If you – e.g. as a hotel owner – trust your client and allow free use of the minibar, people will act moderately because they are treated that way. Our mind is full of „environmental assumptions”. Culture bring these in our heads: „People are selfish.”, „man is to man a wolf.” , „Academics have more wisdom.”, „Manual labour is lower then brain labour.”, „Men are rational beings.” and „Abstract things are more truthful then concrete stuff.”.

Deep dive challenge

The challenge is to create an context in which we are free from old assumptions, that boosts real creative thinking and where all participants can leave behind isolated atomic selves, addictive thoughts and blockades in listening to the other. In this context different silos and departments will come together in a new value landscape and a pristine way of thinking.

Coherent community creates coherent futures

The Socratic design realises this context at different levels: it establishes a strong disciplined dialog that forces us listen to the other, to the weak signal and to the voice of our past and future culture. It transforms the participants into creative thinkers. It shapes an environment of respect and shared collaborative wisdom. It molds a strong empathic community that makes out of the box thinking possible. When the group is at its best it creates new concrete practices for the company and for clients. These practices, products and services will also change the people living with it.

The Socratic design lab is a context that instantaneously creates a new level of valued interactions, starting from some strong principles:

  People are moral creatures and we need shared values.
  Crafting a common question is the starting point in creating knowledge.
  Concrete personal experiences can lead to knowledge creation.
  The art of listening can get you out of automatic thinking.
  All thoughts can be interesting.
  Everybody can philosophise.
  Products, services, surroundings, or any practice always implies values and assumptions.
  Only from an optimal mental state of the group, can future/user scenarios really be effective.
  The methods are successful because they liberate tacit knowledge, energy, hidden values and biological strength of empathy.

We are empathic creatures! So lets use that.