Introducing design thinking

 “We spend a lot time designing the bridge, but not enough time thinking about the people who are crossing it.”– Dr. Prabhjot Singh, Director of Systems Design at the Earth Institute

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I think we have all experienced products or services where the design looks great, but it still does not deliver great results for your customers. This is where design thinking can help.

What IS design thinking?
Design thinking is an iterative process which seeks to understand users, challenge assumptions, redefine problems and create innovative solutions to problems. It does this by using a holistic and empathetic approach to research customer experience and needs. You can use design thinking to tackle ill-defined or unknown problems because the process reframes these problems in human-centric ways, and allows designers to focus on what’s most important for users. The purpose is to design processes and products that exceed customer expectations and your competitors products.

You can find a more in depth explanation in the video below.

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What are the guiding principles behind design thinking?

Design thinking has a couple of principles behind the methodology:

  • You design your product or service with the customer in mind. You empathize with the customer and try to experience the product or service like they would.
  • You co-create the new service or product together with the most important stakeholders. These can be people inside and outside your company. Design thinking is not a solitary excercise.
  • You look at all of your services at once. Your customers tend to interact in several ways and with several products at once. When your focus on just one product or service you may miss the source of discontent.
  • Products are visible, but services are not. Experiences run through the senses: feeling, touching, seeing, hearing, tasting and smelling. You need to design your services with this physical experience in mind. People remember better when they have a physical or emotional experience.
  • You look at the environment of your customer as a whole. What does your customer do? Where is your customer when he interacts with your product? Who are there?

There are 5 stages to the design thinking process

And a lot more tools. Some you already know, other I will get into later.

 design thinking process
  • Step 1: Empathize 

The first stage of the design thinking process allows you to gain an empathetic understanding of the problem you’re trying to solve, typically through user research. There are a lot of ways to do this. Examples are ethnographic methods, interviews, focus groups and data analysis.

  • Step 2: Define

In the Define stage, you accumulate the information you created during the empathize step. Together with your coworkers you work in defining the problem or opportunity in a human centered way.

  • Step 3: Ideate

You have the insights and knowledge from your first two steps. This knowledge is used to generate ideas together with your stakeholders and project team. How can you solve the problem? 

  • Step 4: Prototype

Here you start to transform your ideas in solutions. These solutions are called prototypes and are meant to be low tech, scaled down versions of the product. This way you can test your product or service against low costs and improve or scuttle the idea depending on the outcome of the next step.

  • Step 5: Test

You start to test the best solutions identified in earlier stages of the process. Depending on the outcome you iterate or scuttle the idea.

There are many success stories for DESIGN thinking

I hope you enjoy this word search puzzle. The words can be found in every direction except diagonally. When you play on a mobile device you need to select the first and last letter of each word you found.

[game-wordsearch id=”4706″ ]


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