Monday, December 15, 2014

The Power of What If

Today's post comes from frequent contributor "Dad" Matt Blaisdell. Enjoy!

What if DeMolay had more public ceremonies to present in schools to cover a larger membership growth target? That's a question which is drawn from Human Centered Design & Research.

Human Centered design is a creative approach to problem solving which starts with people and ends with innovative solutions tailored to meet the needs of your target market. It is used a lot with interactive solutions such as a Kiosk in the mall or the ATM at the bank down the street, but have you ever considered the Human Centered Design for DeMolay? 

Everything from the phone you have in your pocket to the stores you go to first at the mall has been designed, based on needs, goals and target markets (who we want to gain interest from.) The same goes for DeMolay and our internal interactions, such as our International Congress, our DeMolay & More Store, our Chapters and even the functions and purpose of our meetings. When DeMolay was first being designed, "Dad" Land had a goal and need in mind for an intended target market. He asked questions (internally or through feedback) about what works and what doesn't and tried new things - because progress doesn't happen when you spin your wheels in the mud.

Over 95 years of idea incubation, creation, collaboration and visualization for DeMolay has brought us to where we are today - a revised edition to our Ritual, updated forms which adhere to the needs of our leaders, our DeMolay presentations, and have you seen the old DeMolay shirts and clothing that were for sale? Most wouldn't be caught wearing something like that today, right? That's a lot of successful progress, which would not have happened if somebody didn't ask why and try something new for the sake of innovation.

This is where Human Centered Design comes into play in regards to DeMolay and what we do as members, as advisors and as people who want to see it succeed...

The 15th edition of our ritual was created because...

Someone asked a question why we're doing something this way...

Some of the words used were dated.
The grammar wasn't consistent.
Our open ceremonies weren't as easy to access, as members, in comparison to our closed ceremonies.

Our submission forms have been updated because...

Someone asked a question why we're doing something this way...

Technology has allowed for a larger availability for internal access.
Changes in information requirements and content

Our membership presentations have been updated because...

Someone asked a question why we're doing something this way...

The target market has changed and updated their interests.
New technologies allow for new styles of presentations.
Interests are diverse and widely spread across a lot of areas.

Our apparel designs on the DeMolay & More Store updated because...

Someone asked a question why we're doing something this way...

Stock has run out of specific product, which is traditional.
New technologies emerge, allowing for new design styles.
Internal research happens, which shows which type of product sells and what doesn't.

I'm a huge proponent for innovation and questioning established mannerisms in any way of life. The key in Human Centered Design is to ask why we do things and how we can do it better when it comes to interactions.

On a local note, why do we do the things we do in our Chapters, State or International. Who's goals and needs are in mind? Like I mentioned above, a lot has happened in 95 years. Tons of changes, tons of adaptations (both good and bad), tons of rerouting directions based on needs and goals. 

DeMolay can go two ways in the next 95 years

1) Continue to build upon the established and accept what has been given to you. Do it because "it's the way it always should be."

2) Ask why, what the needs and goals are and where will DeMolay be in 95 years.

To create innovation through DeMolay, you should rethink it from the users (members of tomorrow) point of view, setting aside established functionality for general idea generation (playing the what if game)

4  Step List of Human Centered Design Innovation

1) Determine the needs & goals of your targeted market and members of tomorrow.
2) Share ideas and collaborate. Nothing can be solved by a single person, so collaboration is key in innovative success to determine different idea perspectives.
3) Visualize your ideas. Visualizing helps to understanding problems, communicate new ideas and identify new opportunities. Think of lots of ideas. Some too crazy too work and some too crazy to try. Hold on to the good and toss out the bad, but the main concept is to      develop new ideas that haven't been thought of before.
4) Interact with your idea. Try your ideas and test them to see what works and what doesn't. That might mean get together with some Chapter members and mock up a new prospect party presentation style or get feedback from a new brochure design.

The purpose of this article isn't to call out what doesn't work in DeMolay Chapters and organization as a whole, but to encourage members to consider the needs and wants of the members of tomorrow, in order to progressively work towards the next 95 years of success in DeMolay. Think and share ideas with your brothers and advisors and play the "What If..." game. 


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