I’ll be honest, I’ve always been a Brandon Walsh girl over Dylan McKay! I have to say, I just watched Netflix’s Riverdale episode, and how they honour Fred Andrew (who was played by Luke Perry). I have to say… WOW! They really nailed it!

How they handled Luke Perry’s death, was absolutely beautiful. The writers truly honoured Luke Perry and the audience that grew up with him. We got to truly mourn his death (here is a little photo tribute). My sister and I were bawling throughout the entire episode. These writers were definitely thinking with their hearts and that level of empathy was so evident. We actually felt like we attended his funeral and got to say goodbye to him. They invoked so many memories and really helped us along the journey. There were a few hidden surprises, that just took our breath away.  

This got me thinking about how this is a great example of design thinking. First of all, we all hear the words design thinking but it’s hard to envision and understand. Design Thinking is Human- Centered design, versus system centered. The Riverdale show writers, really understood their target market. Having all the Riverdale parents being teen idol stars from the 80’s, we know from Luke Perry, Molly Ringwald, Mark Consuelos, Skeet Ulrich, Robin Givens & Mädchen Amick

They really kept the audience in mind when writing this episode. They really understand & understood their target audience and the different audience personas. Which means that every piece of content speaks to the audience personas. Which is exactly why this Riverdale episode and the funeral of Fred Andrews (aka Luke Perry) was such a big deal. How they handled this so tastefully, will encourage even more loyalty.  

Design Thinking provides a hybrid approach to problem solving. It does not just look at data analytics and science, it also uses emotions and intuition. Design Thinking really provides a hands-on-approach to problem solving. Not just researching on a computer or google to problem solve. It wants you to get out their on the field to talk to people to ‘hear’ & ‘understand’. Less talk and more action. It’s an iterative process, where we seek to understand the user, challenge ‘same-old’ assumptions , and redefine problems to identify additional opportunities. Design Thinking is a total shift to the mindset.  

There are lots of times that we get caught up in meetings and not actually talking to people that would be impacted. We make decisions without doing early testing. Designing the solution in real-time with the actual end users (aka  people that will be using their solution), is where you will hit that sweet spot.

Here are some tips for you to start to embrace design thinking

  • Know thy audience, including audience Personas – get to truly understand your audience. What are they struggling with? What are worked well before? What doesn’t?
  • Learn from Failures – so try and test early. Get out there and listen and learn. Don’t just sit there and google to do research. Design Thinking goes beyond a computer, it goes back to the basics (pre internet time). Just get out there and talk to people!
  • Embrace Ambiguity – don’t be afraid of not knowing things. This is where many folks fall victim to ‘Imposter Syndrome’. Look at the gaps and unknowns as clues. Play detective and enjoy the mystery. It will allow you to be open to hearing and exploring new possibilities. One of my favourite quotes “I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work.”Thomas A. Edison
  • Iterate & continuously improve – don’t develop something and go into a black box, until you finish developing everything. Touch base with your customers/target audiences frequently, grab their feedback to improve things throughout the process.

I hope this helps. I’ve also included a free little checklist to help you find questions to gather feedback. Just click here REFLECTIONS AFTER ACTION REVIEW. It takes 10 minutes to do a reflection to thinking.


Let me know what your thoughts are. 

Best Always,




Innovation Training – Design Thinking Mindsets

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