what is design thinking?
Design thinking is a creative problem-solving practice, that puts the end-users needs at the center of the solution, helps create new and innovative solutions by encouraging users to explore new perspectives and approaches.
We can use this practice to create a wide variety of forward-thinking solutions, new software applications, new products, we’re using design thinking to create solutions for both customers and co-workers.
Design thinking is unique, because it focuses first on people’s needs, instead of how the work gets done, or what’s currently available. it’s a mindset shift for looking at problems, using empathy and collaboration, while ensuring that the solutions we develop, are not only desirable meaning. they make the end users life better, but that they’re also feasible to produce and viable the solution makes good business sense.
There are five basic steps or phases to develop Design Thinking, it’s easiest to learn these in sequence, but in practice you may find yourself jumping back and forth across steps.
1- Gathering information about the end user.
This means, learning about what they want. but don’t have the way they do things, their preferences, and their environment. using customer data interviews and observations, helps us learn what users are doing, and why, and gives us a deeper understanding about their needs. this leads to the second step.
2- When trying to come up with new solutions?
We have a tendency to want to jump in at first in design thinking. we must clearly define the problem before. solutions are even discussed. we also need to narrow down the target audience. it’s not uncommon to think our solution will solve everyone’s problem, but this is rarely the case for example, instead of focusing on a solution that will help all customers use a website, it would be more effective to narrow the focus, to help new customers successfully start their service on the website, this more specifically defines the problem, and narrows the target audience from there.
We can get even more specific, what classifies someone as a new customer? are they residential or business customers? what unique needs does a new customer? have how do we define success? we might find we need more research, to ensure we fully understand the customers unique needs.
After diagnosing the problem and determining the scale of users, it’ll affect it’s time to brainstorm. we’re looking for a wide range of new ideas without being influenced by existing solutions, the goal here is to generate as many crazy wild ideas as possible, once we have a number of ideas, we can start to narrow them down by
considering how to make each idea possible, some ideas will be discarded, some may be combined, and totally new ideas may emerge, we may need to determine which ideas are most worthy of moving forward to testing.
Design Thinking is about experimenting with possibilities, during the test phase, the ideas are made into simple low-cost prototypes to test possible outcomes, when creating prototypes, the focus is on content not aesthetics, and to be tested by those who will actually be using the end product. if we are designing a dashboard for customer service representatives, we want actual customer service representatives to do the testing.
Having multiple low-cost prototypes lets us test multiple ideas without investing much money up front as we learn what works and what doesn’t. the prototypes are modified and the quality increases until we have a final product, that meets the actual needs of our target customer. creating and testing prototypes saves time and money, and avoids developing products that won’t get used.
Now it’s time to identify the activities, capabilities, and resources needed to bring the new product or service to life, and ensure every finding an insight possible from end-users are embedded into the final product.
Design Thinking isn’t just about experimentation, it’s also about continuous learning. it doesn’t stop after implementation, feedback from end-users is collected after launch to make modifications and refinements, when we use Design Thinking principles challenging problems become more manageable, leading to faster more creative, and more effective solutions that are focused on our customers. anyone can use design thinking to find new and innovative solutions to problems. next time you’re facing a tough challenge, consider using design thinking practices, to help you uncover a solution.