CL – Design Kata

There was a recent and still on-going discussion on a Linkedin forum on “Pursue Design Kata” initiated by Paula Thornton, the owner of the Design Thinking group on Linkedin.

It tells very clearly what a ‘kata’ is. It is not a technique but a way of life for an organization to remain adaptive to constantly changing social and business environment.

In the video she refers to I wanted to portray this ‘way of life’ for an organization, which in this case shows a factory.

The case depicts the way in which people pursue a ‘wicked problem’ which in this case was that of a repetitive customer complaint. Wicked problems are not very easy to crack since these can’t be defined and don’t have very straightforward solutions or any single right answers.

Usually, in such cases industries try to resolve such problems by amending their ‘check sheets’ to include more inspections and precautions. Some of them would go a step further by simply reviewing and augmenting their existing systems without really finding out the real answers to the problem, which would generally call for a change in design — of processes, products, design and existing practices much of which would be challenged especially the tacit assumptions that get woven into our daily work.

It is probably clear from viewing the video why finding answers to wicked problems, which every organization faces, are difficult to figure out. They are so because of the interdependent nature of various things that go into making and shipping of the products and services.The advantage of cracking such ‘wicked’ problem is enormous — it opens up great opportunities to solve many problems and issues simulataneously.  I would like to compare solving such ‘wicked’ problems with the resonnance phenomenon — we get the maximum work done for a small amount of effort.

Confidentiality terms prevent me from delving any deeper into this case. However, the educational intent and content, which form the worth of this video artifact have not been sacrificed or comprised with. Hopefully, it would not disappoint you in any way. Rather you may enjoy viewing a ‘new way of life’ in organizations that accept ‘complexity’ and ‘chaos’ as natural emergent phenomenon and visually determine the interactions between things and people that produce ‘wicked’ or ‘vexing’ problems so as to ‘balance’ their systems and continously amend their way of working for the benefit of the society at large. 

It helps organizations to be adaptive and innovative and at the same time helps them hone and maintain their creative leadership edge.


CL is the short form for Creative Leadership




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