When you announce that you're going to paint a giant mural right in the heart of your city's downtown, there are some questions that naturally crop up. "What are you going to paint?" is probably at the top of the list. The short answer to that question is "we're not sure yet"-- but for good reason! We're using a people-centered process called design thinking to work through creating a mural design with the help of our community.
Design thinking is a replicable process that teams can use to generate as many good ideas as possible before narrowing down and implementing a solution. Our use of the process is fueled by two truths:
1. The best way to solve a problem is not by sitting around a table, talking in circles.
2. Everyone has ideas worth sharing, and everyone can have a hand in the design process.
Because the Mark III Taproom is a gathering place for the LGBT community in Muncie, we held a design session with the bar's staff to collect their ideas, values, likes, and dislikes. As we move through the mural design process, we will continue to research and gather information about what messages are important to downtown residents and businesses. We've also taken into consideration the colors of local businesses, historic sites, and campaigns which will serve to inform our final color palette.
There's a lot of buzz around design thinking-- the Harvard Business Review says it's coming of age, and local design thinking firms continue to emerge. If you want to learn more about the process, check out Stanford's free design thinking toolkit.