Design Thinking For Beginners made easy

Design Thinking

Yes…. You got it right!

Design thinking is thinking about design. But with a small addition i.e. thinking about Human centered design.

Fortunately, this does not need knowledge of any programming language. This can be applied by someone at a low level management to a top level management. This can also be applied to any complex issue around you and is is NOT limited to products. Sounds interesting? Yes it is very interesting!

The design way of thinking applies to anything. Something like even systems,  procedures, protocols, and customer/user experiences etc.

Last year, I read this book called “Change by Design” by Tim Brown. Tim Brown is CEO of a company called IDEO that champions in this field – Design Thinking. The subject caught my attention. In curiosity, I did a course on design thinking from University of Virginia (Coursera). Thereafter I have been applying this in my personal and professional life.

Do you know, Steve Job was the real Design thinker –  He once said

“Design is how it works!”

I am sure, by now, you must be quite curious to understand how Design Thinking works. Let me try to explain you for basic understanding.

Incase, you already have a understanding of the topic, then skip the article. I would recommend following books/courses to boost your understanding on the subject

Change by Design – Tim Brown

Hooked – Nir Eyal

Design Thinking for Innovation – University of Virginia (Coursera)

Below is a high-level diagram of DT process

Design Thinking

01_EMPATHIZE : This is the first step towards design thinking. It is basically understanding the user concerns without applying own assumptions for the issue that normally people do . This involves consulting experts to find out more about the area of concern through observing, engaging and empathizing with people to understand their experiences and motivations, as well as immersing yourself in the physical environment to have a deeper personal understanding of the issues involved

02_DEFINE / IDENTIFY : This is about defining the actual problem.

“Framing the right problem is the only way to create the right solution.”

This is similar to product management process where, before finding the solution, we need to find the real problem based on the information/data collected during the empathise stage. The end result of this stage is meaningful and actionable human centered problem statement.

03_IDEATE : Now that you have clear empathetic understanding of users concerns backed by the real problem identified, team now gets down to work using multiple problem solving techniques like brainstorming, Worst Possible Idea etc. This stage allows the team to think beyond the obvious solutions hence this process helps to generate lots of solution to the problem which are then prioritized for testing.

04_BUILD / PROTOTYPE : The next process  is building the prototypes which are usually inexpensive, scale down versions for validation of solutions/ideas generated in third phase-IDEATE. It is actually experimenting with ideas and see if they work when applied. The testing is carried out within a small group that can range from DT team or department or selected users. It helps to understand the impact of solution on user and also provides clarity to the team on the limitations/constraint  present within the product /service

05_TEST : The last process in design thinking  and is iterative in nature. During the testing with the best identified solution from the last stage, it helps to refine the problem. There may be a situation that you have ended up framing the wrong problem statement. Testing helps you to discover it!  Testing is another opportunity to build empathy through observation and engagement—it often yields unexpected insights

The goal of improving lives is an important endpoint to the process of design thinking. In fact, it’s what design thinking is all about: finding fresh, creative solutions to problems, but in a way that puts people and their needs first.

Do, let me know in comments if you want me to write on any new topic. My old & new blogs are available here – My Little Blog!