Everything You Need to Know About Design Thinking
Thinking out of the box at most unexpected times is what entrepreneurs are incessantly pressured to do. If you are a designer or an entrepreneur, you are no stranger to the constant need to innovate. If we want to stay ahead of all our competitors in the market, we need to conceive ideas faster than others that are at once actionable and practical. This is what gives us the upper hand.
That said, problem-solving sessions have become more of an exercise in analytics than being a creative activity. Millions of ideas bite the dust in boardrooms where company leaders often inadvertently reject creativity in favor of logical models. The unintentional consequence of this is that ideas that had the potential to generate long-term value often fall by the wayside; until..design thinking comes to the rescue.
Taking numerous leaps forward, playing a key strategic role in decision-making, design thinking enhances the user experience and delivers value. This innovative approach has been considered the remedy to stagnation. If you ever feel stuck, haul design thinking. It is a concept that is becoming hard to ignore with each passing second.
Design thinking is a non-linear iterative process that can make teams challenge assumptions, understand users, redefine problems, and create innovative solutions to prototype the test. It is basically an ideology concerned with solving complex problems and challenges in a highly user-centric way.
As evinced by the name, it is an approach based on methods and processes that designers use. It can be applied to any field; it doesn’t necessarily have to be design-specific.
This ideology focuses on practical results and economically viable solutions, desirable for the user and technically feasible. To come up with innovative solutions, you are expected to adopt a designer's mindset and approach the problem from the user's perspective. This innovative approach aims to turn your ideas into tangible processes or products as quickly as possible.
The Principles of Design Thinking
When we talk about design thinking, we generally think about highly complex, wicked problems. Design thinking helps solve the kind of challenges that refuse to be solved using standard methods and approaches. These problems are difficult to define, and there are chances that the attempt to solve these problems is likely to give way to even more problems.
Design thinking is an actionable approach that is meant to tackle the world’s wickedest of problems. It fosters creativity, user-centricity, innovation, and out-of-the-box thinking.
Here is a list of principles and pillars of design thinking in more detail.
What are the Principles of Design Thinking?
1. User-Centricity and Empathy is the Need of the Hour
Design thinking revolves around human needs and requirements. It is all about finding solutions that respond to users’ needs. There is no denying that people are the drivers of innovation. That is what makes stepping into the users’ shoes an essential part of the process. This is sure to build genuine empathy for your target audience.
2. Ideation is the Way to Go
Design thinking is a solution-based framework that focuses on coming up with as many ideas and solutions as possible. Ideation is one of the essential core design thinking principles. This step is a designated judgment-free zone where participants are encouraged on the number of ideas. Their quality tends to stay on the back burner.
3. Collaboration and Alliance
The main aim of design thinking is to pool a diverse variety of ideas. This innovative approach encourages collaboration between multidisciplinary and heterogeneous teams, which may not typically work together. Design thinking thrives on making people collaborate their ideas and give rise to something magnificent.
4. Experimentation and Iteration
Coming up with ideas is not the only necessary step. Design thinking is actually about turning those ideas into prototypes, testing them, and making changes according to user feedback. You must be prepared to repeat specific steps in the process as you uncover shortcomings as design thinking is an iterative approach.
5. Design Thinking Favors Action
Design thinking is a hands-on approach to problem-solving that features a bias towards action. Design thinking encourages you to rely on implementation rather than hypothesizing about what your users want. It would compel you to turn the potential solutions into tangible prototypes.
An Effective Design Thinking Framework
The design thinking framework is segregated into three phases: Ideation, immersion, and implementation. This framework can be further segregated into five actionable steps.
This first stage of design thinking allows the designer to observe consumers. This helps them gain a deeper understanding of how the consumers interact with or are affected by a product or issue. These observations must occur with the utmost empathy. The latter is powerful as it can uncover issues the consumer didn’t even know they had.
This stage involves defining the problems by gathering your observations from the stage before this. Be on a par with the difficulties your consumers face, what they repeatedly struggle with, and what you have mustered from how they are affected by the issue. You can easily define the problem your consumers face once you are able to synthesize your findings.
The next step would be brainstorming ideas about solving the problems you've managed to decipher. You can either hold these ideation sessions in a group where the whole team gathers in an office space that encourages collaboration and creativity or can proceed with them solo.
This stage of design thinking allows you to turn ideas into actual solutions. Prototypes are not expected to be perfect. The objective of a prototype is to come out quickly with a concrete version of the idea to see how consumers perceive it.
Once you are done giving a prototyped solution to your consumers, it is time to observe how your consumers interact. This stage is the one in which you collect feedback on your work.
Applying the Design Thinking Framework to Your Own Work
The best thing about this innovative strategy is that you can start small. For applying design thinking to your own work, there is no need to become a UX designer. Getting to know your customers and making a conscious effort to be more empathy-driven on a day-to-day basis.
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