Design thinking is a process for creative problem solving.
Design thinking has a human-centered core. It encourages organizations to focus on the people they're creating for, which leads to better products, services, and internal processes. When you sit down to create a solution for a business need, the first question should always be what's the human need behind it?
In employing design thinking, you’re pulling together what’s desirable from a human point of view with what is technologically feasible and economically viable.
It also allows those who aren't trained as designers to use creative tools to address a vast range of challenges. The process starts with taking action and understanding the right questions. It’s about embracing simple mindset shifts and tackling problems from a new direction.
Why Is Design Thinking Important?
- It can help you or your team surface unmet needs of the people you are creating for.
- It reduces the risk associated with launching new ideas.
- It generates solutions that are revolutionary, not just incremental.
- It helps organizations learn faster.
Done Right, Design Thinking...
- Captures the mindsets and needs of the people you're creating for.
- Paints a picture of the opportunities based on the needs of these people.
- Leads you to innovative new solutions starting with quick, low-fidelity experiments that provide learning and gradually increase in fidelity.
Areas Where Design Thinking Can Apply
- Product design
- Service and experience design
- Business design
- Organizational change
The Core of Design Thinking Is...
Boiled down to its core elements, design thinking is about empathy, ideation, and experimentation. It is not a linear process but rather a looping back to different modes until you arrive at a creative solution.
- Empathy - Design thinking is about getting outside your own perspective and getting informed and inspired by the people you’re creating for. ”
- Ideation - During the design thinking process, you’ll generate lots of ideas, some of which you’ll keep, and others you’ll leave behind, but all are equally valuable for getting you to unique solutions.
- Experimentation - Small experiments are an incredibly effective way to make ideas tangible, to learn through making, and to quickly get feedback from the people you are designing for.
The Design Thinking Approach
Design thinking relies on the human ability to be intuitive, to recognize patterns, and to construct ideas that are emotionally meaningful as well as functional. The elements of design thinking combine to form an iterative approach—one you can try out and adapt to suit your needs. As IDEO founder David Kelley says, design thinking is not a linear path, "it's a big mass of looping back to different places in the process"
- FRAME A QUESTION - Identify a driving question that inspires others to search for creative solutions.
- GATHER INSPIRATION - Inspire new thinking by discovering what people really need.
- GENERATE IDEAS - Push past obvious solutions to get to breakthrough ideas.
- MAKE IDEAS TANGIBLE - Build rough prototypes to learn how to make ideas better.
- TEST TO LEARN - Refine ideas by gathering feedback and experimenting forward.
- SHARE THE STORY - Craft a human story to inspire others toward action.