Design thinking was one of my favourite subjects while in my undergraduate. The freedom to design while fulfilling a need was something that always inspired me to work.
“A human-centred approach to innovation.”, this is how Tim Brown, CEO of the global innovation and design firm IDEO, defines design thinking. I am in complete agreement with him. I feel the ‘Human approach’ is what makes it interesting. How can we have a blog about design thinking without this video:
Your customer has to be at the centre of your problem-solving process. It’s ‘Human’ centred design after all!
Design thinking is a process of creative problem-solving. It’s not just designing because you can, it’s designing because there is a need. It’s literally how designers think – but it’s not ONLY limited to designers. A lot of people think “Well, this won’t work for me, I’m not a designer.” But turns out this concept can be applied to any field, for growth and productivity. With the help of design thinking businesses now can change their approach towards problem-solving, and thus reach their goal in an easy and more interesting way.
Rather than sitting at a desk, trying to come up with a product, design thinking makes you come up with a solution to any problem out there. It’s all about testing real-life data to come up with a solution. By using this, you make decisions based on what customers really want. instead of relying only on historical data or making risky bets based on instinct instead of evidence.
Before we move ahead, What is the design thinking process? According to the D.School, Design Thinking is a process consisting of five interrelated activities.
It starts with EMPATHY:
It’s time to talk to people, engage in conversations and start asking the right questions. With the answers you get, you create a frame for yourself. Empathy is crucial, we need to understand the people who we are designing for, and treat the problems we are trying to solve as our own. Now it’s easy to confuse empathy with sympathy. Here’s a video explaining empathy and its importance:
After finding out the problem, and mapping it out, the next step is DEFINE:
Here you define the problem and the problem area. Well-defined problems mean well-understood problems, which lead to breakthrough solutions. When developing new products, processes, or even businesses, most people don’t define the problems they’re attempting to solve and fail to articulate why those issues are important.
Only once you properly define a problem, do you move to IDEATE:
The D.School’s definition of ideation is “The mode of the design process in which you concentrate on idea generation. Mentally it represents a process of “going wide” in terms of concepts and outcomes. Ideation provides both the fuel and also the source material for building prototypes and getting innovative solutions into the hands of your users.”
Here you generate ideas using different methods like brainstorming, visual brainstorming, SCAMPER etc.. I’ve always felt that ideation happens better in groups, where you can bounce ideas off of one another. All ideas are welcome and focus on QUANTITY over QUALITY. More number of ideas the better. Sometimes even the silliest idea sparks off a brilliant one.
Here is a video of how a brainstorming session should be like, fun, interesting and inspiring:
Once you have THE idea, you go ahead and PROTOTYPE it and then you TEST it:
Don’t sit with your idea trying to perfect it. Make a functioning prototype (Minimum Viable Product) and send it out for testing. Only when you do will you get feedback and understand how to move ahead. Whether to go ahead or go back to the ideation stage, it all depends on your testing feedback. Design thinking is never a linear process. Here’s how it actually goes:
Two videos I found while browsing through youtube, about Prototyping in design thinking:
In conclusion, to summarize this post:
Important Aspects of Design Thinking:
- Prototyping and testing.
Why Is Design Thinking Important?
- It reduces the risk associated with launching new ideas because you test as soon as you prototype
- It helps not only designers design, but organizations grow and learn.
- It generates solutions that are innovative
- Captures the mindsets and needs of the people you’re creating for. So the product or service is based on the needs of these people.
- D.School, (2010). An Introduction to Design Thinking PROCESS GUIDEEmpathize. [online] Available at: https://dschool-old.stanford.edu/sandbox/groups/designresources/wiki/36873/attachments/74b3d/ModeGuideBOOTCAMP2010L.pdf [Accessed 12 Jan. 2018].
- The Interaction Design Foundation. (2018). Design Thinking: Get Started with Prototyping. [online] Available at: https://www.interaction-design.org/literature/article/design-thinking-get-started-with-prototyping [Accessed 12 Jan. 2018].
- YouTube. (2013). Brené Brown on Empathy. [online] Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Evwgu369Jw [Accessed 12 Jan. 2018].
- Vimeo. (2015). IDEO Brainstorming Video from IDEO U. [online] Available at: https://vimeo.com/138588491 [Accessed 12 Jan. 2018].
- YouTube. (2016). Design Thinking 1: Empathy Based Prototyping. [online] Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d_n2QEf-WiU [Accessed 12 Jan. 2018].
- YouTube. (2016). Design Thinking 2 Rapid Prototypes HD. [online] Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vpd7uov5UM0 [Accessed 12 Jan. 2018].