Design thinking is generally defined as an analytic and creative process that engages a person in opportunities to experiment, create and prototype models, gather feedback, and redesign. Design thinking is a design-based approach to innovation that helps organisations identify, define and solve the problems facing their customers and other stakeholders, on a day-to-day basis. Creative thinking involves problem solving. The difference between creative thinking and logical or practical thinking is that you often look at the problem from an unorthodox perspective and your thoughts are less structured. It often passes through several phases and this is considered the creative thinking process.
By using design and creative thinking, you make decisions based on what future customers really want instead of relying only on historical data or making risky bets based on instinct instead of evidence.
Design thinking is Human-centred. Design thinking begins from deep empathy and understanding of needs and motivations of people. Design thinking is collaborative, and benefits greatly from the views of multiple perspectives, and others creativity to enhance your own ideas. Its optimistic with the fundamental belief that we all can create change no matter the hurdles (Budget, time, size of the problem). Design thinking is the confidence that new, better things are possible and that you can make them happen (Tim Brown CEO, IDEO).
The Design Thinking Process
What is Design Thinking? | 1:50mins
You will be exposed to a number of different models of design thinking, but in essence, they all follow the same philosophy.
Embracing design thinking means understanding that the customer is a real person with real problems, rather than a sales target. Instead of traditional market-research data, design thinkers dig for data that are user-driven and offer a deep understanding of a customer’s unarticulated needs. Design thinking helps re-frame questions in a way that expands the boundaries of the search itself.
During the Define stage, you put together the information you have created and gathered during the Empathise stage. You will analyse your observations and synthesise them in order to define the core problems that you and your team have identified up to this point. You should seek to define the problem as a problem statement in a human-centred manner.
To illustrate, instead of defining the problem as your own wish or a need of the company such as, “We need to increase our food-product market share among young teenage girls by 5%,” a much better way to define the problem would be, “Teenage girls need to eat nutritious food in order to thrive, be healthy and grow.”
The Define stage will help the designers in your team gather great ideas to establish features, functions, and any other elements that will allow them to solve the problems or, at the very least, allow users to resolve issues themselves with the minimum of difficulty. In the Define stage you will start to progress to the third stage, Ideate, by asking questions which can help you look for ideas for solutions by asking:
“How might we… encourage teenage girls to perform an action that benefits them and also involves your company’s food-product or service?”
Some of the key steps that can be incorporated in this space include the following:
- Explore what the apparent needs of the market or community of users.
- Explore what the latent, deeper needs of the market or community of users.
- Develop insights via inferences from the exploration.
- Look for emotional cues and signals.
- Zoom in and zoom out on the exploration from community to user, user to community.
- Change the perspective by re-framing the initial problem set.
- Draw and sketch thumbnail visions to drive further design.
- Design the problem.
- Define the problem statement.
During the third stage of the Design Thinking process, designers are ready to start generating ideas. You have grown to understand your users and their needs in the Empathise stage, and you have analysed and synthesised your observations in the Define stage, and ended up with a human-centred problem statement. With this solid background yourself and your team members can start to 'think outside the box' to identify new solutions to the problem statement you have created, and you can start to look for alternative ways of viewing the problem.
There are hundreds of Ideation techniques such as Brainstorm, Brainwrite, and Worst Possible Idea. Brainstorm and Worst Possible Idea sessions are typically used to stimulate freethinking and to expand the problem space. It is important to get as many ideas or problem solutions as possible at the beginning of the Ideation phase. You should pick some other Ideation techniques by the end of the Ideation phase to help you investigate and test your ideas to find the best way to either solve a problem, or provide the elements required to circumvent the problem.
Key Activities, Key Resources, Key Partners, and Channels are defined in the ideation.
- In ideation, the first thing is to unlearn what you know.
- Be attentive and ready for new ideas.
- Brainstorm by storming preconceptions using inquiry that questions the status quo.
- Connect the dots.
- Connect ideas across existing solutions or enterprise services already deployed in the market.
- Connect ideas by associative log or analogy.
- Connect ideas by using stories, patterns of behaviour useful to reach an outcome.
- Connect ideas leveraging synchronicity to create meaning for the user.
- Create focus and start to synthesize the model.
- Get feedback from executives and intended market or community of users.
The design team will now produce a number of inexpensive, scaled down versions of the product or specific features found within the product, so they can investigate the problem solutions generated in the previous stage. Prototypes may be shared and tested within the team itself, in other departments, or on a small group of people outside the design team. This is an experimental phase, and the aim is to identify the best possible solution for each of the problems identified during the first three stages. The solutions are implemented within the prototypes and, one-by-one, they are investigated and either accepted, improved and re-examined, or rejected based on the users’ experiences. By the end of this stage, the design team will have a better idea of the constraints inherent within the product, the problems that are present, and have a better/more informed perspective of how real users would behave, think and feel when interacting with the end product.
- In Prototyping it is key to build to think.
- Use role playing to prototype new behaviours.
- Use story boarding to draw out new experiences.
- Draw and create paper prototypes of the product or application.
- Draw and create lo-fi mock-ups of new product or application.
- Prepare to test these paper cut-outs with users to get feedback.
- Synthesize a breakthrough.
- Seek feedback