Leveraging Action Learning to Accelerate Innovation with Dr. Chuck Appleby

Mar 7, 2022 · , United States of America

Do you ever find yourself working on the wrong problem or spending too much time trying to scope a design challenge? The value of design thinking is not just in producing better answers but also in asking better questions. Reframing the questions asked is often the key to innovation. Rushing into solution-oriented action can encourage accepting obvious and conventional definitions of the problem that bracket out most potentially creative solutions at the outset. Properly scoping a design challenge is critical to getting to better solutions.

Action Learning is a process in which a small group of diverse people gather and use powerful questions to first define and then solve a challenge. In this workshop, Dr. Chuck Appleby will lead an interactive dialog to explore the power of action learning in framing design challenges. He will showcase how he has integrated action learning and design thinking to create a repeatable method that addresses complex challenges and fosters innovation amid great uncertainty. His experience over the past two decades has highlighted the necessity of clarifying the challenge; he has found that about 75 to 80 percent of the time, groups begin solving problems before adequately clarifying the core issues. The critical nature of this insight is evident in Einstein’s observation that “if the world were ending in one-hour, give me 55 minutes to clarify the challenge and 5 minutes to solve it.”

In this workshop you will learn:
1. The art and science of powerful questions
2. The fundamentals of the Action Learning problem solving method
3. The congruence between Action Learning and Design Thinking mindsets.
4. How to frame a design challenge prior to the launch of a design team

6:30 – Introductions
7:00 – Overview of Action Learning and Design Challenge Framing
7:30 – Experience a Challenge Framing Session in Breakout Groups
8:30 – Event End

We will be working on real challenges. Please bring a challenge you are currently facing (work, home, community) that you are willing to share with the group. The challenge owners who volunteer will get an added benefit from participation in the breakout sessions.

For those interested in getting insights into problem framing, please read the article in the link below: “Are You Solving the Right Problems?”

About Our Presenter
Chuck Appleby is one of the world’s foremost authorities on action learning. He co-founded the World Institute for Action Learning, Action Learning Source, and the Peer Learning Network. He has taught action learning and peer coaching in China, Singapore, Dubai, and Kenya, as well as the United States. Chuck combines action learning, design thinking, and change management in helping organizations foster breakthroughs and innovation.

He has supported design thinking and action learning projects at a wide range of organizations including Intel, John Hancock, Wells Fargo, Nielsen, Microsoft, the World Bank Group, Arlington County, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Goodwill Industries International, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Dr. Appleby has held adjunct faculty positions at the George Washington University and Georgetown University where he taught courses in action learning, design thinking, organization development.

He has a PhD (with Distinction) in International Relations from The Johns Hopkins University, School of Advanced International Studies. He has a BA in History and Economics from Dartmouth College. He is a keynote speaker on design thinking, leadership, change management, and employee engagement.

Event organizers
  • Design Thinking DC

    Design Thinking DC is an action-oriented community of innovative change makers who come together to share knowledge and experience in order to solve complex problems. Inspired by the human-centered design movement, we connect people from all professional backgrounds who seek to make the world a better place through community-based problem solving. Here are a few resources, if you're looking for a more comprehensive written introduction to the topic, with present-day context: Wikipedia page on design thi

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