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Achieve “Impossible” Results PredictablyEnable your team to do what seems impossible,
but is merely difficult, through the power of
Scrappy Design Thinking

Scrappy Design Thinking Overview

Both design thinking and Scrappy Project Management© share an obsession with “the customer”. And both start by “thinking from the future” rather than getting stuck in the current situation, hampered by self-­‐limiting beliefs about what’s possible. Rather than using the classic design thinking model of Empathize – Define – Ideate – Prototype – Test, let’s use a cycle that’s a bit easier to remember:


  • Rather than instinctively jumping to HOW to solve a “problem”, start with WHY -­‐ Why is this project important?
  • Next explore WHO – who cares, who’s impacted, who’s involved, and who’s judging the success of your project?
  • Then move on to WHAT – what outcomes would go beyond “solving a problem” to surprise and delight your stakeholders?
  • Then, and only then, design and prototype HOW to achieve these outcomes and delight these stakeholders.
  • Go through the entire cycle again, expanding, revising, and refining your prototypes repeatedly, until you collapse in an exhausted heap, worn out, but with a self-­‐satisfied smile on your barrier-­‐ shattering face. Hmmm . . . perhaps I overpromise. Let’s see what happens.


ASK WHY LIKE A KID. Spend five minutes using the “Ask Why Five Times” approach. For example, if you choose a theme like “developing a new product for our target market” this exercise might go like this:


  • Why do we need to develop a new product for this market?
    • To remain competitive with other products on the market.
  • Why do we need to remain competitive?
    • So we can achieve next year’s revenue targets.
  • Why do we need to achieve next year’s revenue targets?
    • So we can stay in business.
  • Why do we need to stay in business?
    • So we can continue to provide our products to our customers.
  • Why do we need to continue to provide our products?
    • Because our products dramatically improve the quality of life for our customers.

What started off as a relatively uninspiring need to get a product to market and make some money has been transformed into a purpose beyond profit. When teams apply this exercise to their project theme they often end up with “To improve life on Earth!” or something equally inspiring. If you can’t get to something meaningful in five rounds of this exercise then maybe you’re working on the wrong project.


This is the most important part of the entire cycle, because if you don’t truly understand who your project intends to delight, it’s unlikely that you’ll delight them.

Get ready to obsess about stakeholders, because we’ll spend the most time on this part of the cycle! Who will benefit from your work? Who will use your product or service? Guessing at the wants and needs of customers is a poor substitute for swimming in their fishbowl.

Thought leaders like Steve Blank have advocated making customer focus the center of new product and service development. Steve insists that participants in his “Lean Launch Pad” classes interview dozens or even hundreds of customers.

Creating products and services without considering important stakeholders – like customers for example -­‐ is a common problem in new product development. As many as 75% of new products fail to attract enough customers to be considered successful! It’s absolutely vital to explicitly integrate key stakeholders into your development process. This is the essence of the first phase of the design thinking process. Read more…


Making an experience map often leads to creative insights into what is required at various points in the journey. But just stating the problem to be solved isn’t enough to inspire people to open their minds, break through barriers, and generate innovative solutions. This is a great time to craft what’s called a challenge statement.

Writing a good challenge statement isn’t rocket science. I like to start with Joel Barker’s paradigm-­‐shifting question: “What seems impossible today, but if it WERE possible, would transform X for the better?” Based on this, create a one-­‐sentence statement that is the focus of the rest of your project. While creating your challenge statement, here are the most important things to keep in mind:

  • It must be focused on the desired future.
  • It must describe this future in a way that inspires and engages the team.
  • It must NOT prescribe HOW to achieve the future state. Armed with your passion-­‐inducing challenge statement, it’s time to create the fabulous future!

But, before jumping into HOW you will achieve the future to which you aspire, you must spend time imagining it vividly.

Read more…


As you might have guessed, it’s finally time to imagine ways to fulfill the Big Crazy Dream defined in your challenge statement. A more powerful way to ask how is to ask, “What would make this possible?” I like “brainwriting” better than brainstorming for idea generation because, again, non-­‐native English speakers can usually write and read English better than they can talk and listen, and quieter people can contribute more, too.

Read more…

Partial Client List

Intuit, Symantec, Extreme Networks, P.A.R.C., Panasonic, AMD, Rockliffe, Bad Girl Swirl, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, HP, UC Santa Cruz, I-4, Kyoto University, Chiron, Entelos, Suntory, Daiichi Sankyo Pharma, Oracle, Kuraray, Mazda, Pigeon, Mizuho Securities, vmware, Yamaha, Cisco


The recommendation of a transformed cynic: Kimberly is a bit like a cyclone – she will turn your world upside down and blow you away. Unlike a cyclone, however, she will be sure that all of the important pieces remain; neatly reorganized and stronger than before she met you. She will also, undoubtedly, leave many gems behind for you as well – some ready to display and others for you to continue polishing throughout your life and career. You will definitely be richer for having crossed her path. With unrivaled passion, Kimberly effortlessly blends principles of transformational leadership, communication, cultural understanding and relationship building and links them directly to operational excellence with brilliant simplicity. I learned more practical skills in a 6-day program led by Kimberly than I have in nearly three decades of management education and experience. These lessons will not only allow me to foster an environment that is both enjoyable and highly productive, but will, as a result, make the company I work in stronger and more successful. Without question, Kimberly merits my highest recommendation.

— Ross McClure, Manufacturing Manager, SuperPower, Inc., a Furukawa Company

Kimberly’s Leading From Any Chair workshop is the single most powerful class I’ve attended, and the highest rated class I’ve participated in. Her teachings have fundamentally changed me as a leader, a coach, and a team member.

Lesley Kew, Intuit

Read many more testimonials…


kimberlyKimberly Wiefling helps organizations achieve what SEEMS impossible, but is merely difficult. How? By turning managers into leaders and groups of people into real teams.

DEEP EXPERIENCE with GLOBAL COMPANIES: Kimberly has worked all over the US, Europe and Asia, and has been to Japan about 100 times to help Japanese companies globalize. Her superpower is bringing people with diverse backgrounds and cultures together, across borders and boundaries of every kind, to achieve what none could do alone.

Her first book, Scrappy Project Management, was translated into Japanese by the #1 Japanese business publisher, Nikkei Business Press.

A TECHNOLOGIST with HUMAN SKILLS: A physicist by education, she realized long ago the limits of technology devoid of human skills – the so-called “touchy feely” aspects of working in teams so vital to success, and so frequently overlooked. Kimberly’s mentor, Dr. Edgar Schein, has been a guiding influence on her work to transform business results through practical, sensible approaches.

BUSINESS RESULTS FOCUSED: Kimberly facilitates highly engaging organizational change and team effectiveness workshops based on her “Possibilities Toolbox.” Her intensive behavior-changing “learning laboratories”, which she playfully refers to as “workshocks”, directly translate into business results. Her latest book is “Inspired Business Cultures – Discover Your DNA, Engage Your People, and Design Your Future”.

SPECIALIZING in CROSS-FUNTIONAL AND CROSS CULTURAL TEAMS: Kimberly has worked globally with people from every corporate function, and from over 50 different countries. Her clients include many well-known global brands in diverse industries.

FROM STARTUPS to the FORTUNE 500: Kimberly has extensive experience working with global companies and startups, one of which was acquired by Google, and another that was bootstrapped to seven figure annual revenues.

MAKING a DIFFERENCE: Kimberly is passionate about making a meaningful difference by working with organizations, individuals and teams committed to solving the problems of Our World – profitably and thus sustainably.


Kimberly Wiefling
Wiefling Consulting, Inc.
Phone US: +1 650 867 0847