Design thinking is a highly user-centric process or method which focuses on solving wicked problems by implementing innovative solutions. Wicked problems are those which are ambiguous, and factors affecting them to change with time. Wicked issues include poverty, hunger and climate change, etc.
Design thinking has gained popularity from recent years because of its preference to solve users’ problems in an innovative way, which not only benefits the users but also increases the organization’s trust and confidence to continue its product or service.
Design thinking emerged or converged from fields like architecture, business, and engineering. It is not limited to designer teams only, but anyone in any area can use it. Industries like product design, services design, business design, leadership, and organizational change, use the design thinking process. Organizations now know the importance of design thinking and hire designers. Several Universities are teaching design thinking. One of the leading universities includes the Hasso Plattner Institute of Design at Stanford.
Design thinking purely focuses on user problems and look for the best possible solution or the method through which those problems can be reduced. Design thinking seems like a systematic and linear process, but it is not. In this, many steps may be running parallel, experimenting with various solutions at a time.
Let’s get deeper into the process of design thinking, what’s its importance? How are organizations providing benefits to its users? And how these solutions can be upgraded when any variations in problem occur. Here is everything you need to know about design thinking.
Importance of Design thinking
The world has become a global village. Everything has come to our fingertips. The whole world is interconnected with each other. Technology has reduced the distance. Where everyone has come close, problems have also evolved. And these modern world problems need a stylish way to solve these problems.
For example, cardiovascular disease is no more a rare thing to hear. We can’t solve this problem by eating the same burgers, pizzas, and drinking carbonated beverages. We need to adopt a different approach to reduce the problem. In this whole scenario, the design thing provides us a way to think out of the box and find a solution that is different from typical solutions.
The base of Design thinking is creativity and innovation. In Design thinking, priority is solving a user problem. When organizations focus more on the user’s issue instead of their benefits, this will not only reduce the fear regarding newly launched products but will also increase customer loyalty and retention.
Design thinking opens up a new way of solutions to problems. Design thinking lets us know how people will think, feel, and behave by using a particular product or service.
Stages of Design Thinking
Design thinking is a non-linear, creative problem-solving method. It provides a layout of five phases while performing design thinking. These stages act as a roadmap to solve a problem.
Ever heard about compassion? OH, you must know. But ever heard about understanding while designing a particular product? Probably no. Yes, in design thinking, the first step is empathy. In design thinking, compassion means to get to know about the problems of people not just by asking but by interviewing them, by involving them at the emotional and psychological level and get to know about their problem.
For example, an organization is thinking of designing a product to target diseased patients. A volunteer from the organization will talk to unhealthy people, ask them about their food problems, what they want, and what the challenge they face.
Define (the problem statement)
From the previous stage, you must have got an idea about the current problem. There may be many problems. But, you need to come up with a single problem statement to start working on further. Define your question, for which you want to provide a solution. While defining a problem statement, must incorporate, “Users want….” Instead of “Company needs…” etc.
Example: So, the volunteers got an idea about the problems, like patients don’t want to cook, or they want something ready to eat which is healthy, or maybe they want something which they can modify according to their likeliness.
Ideate (Think of ideas)
Now, as you have come with a clear problem statement and gather facts and figures. You and your team can now look for possible solutions to a problem. Try thinking out of the box. Different ideation techniques are used like brainstorming, brain write, and scamper. Think of the solutions that are already available in the market and look beyond those ideas and solutions. When you and your team have come up with ideas. Discuss them and came up with brand new, creative ideas fulfilling users’ requirements.
Example: You came up with the idea that you will manufacture a healthy product for heart patients containing all essential nutrients with deficient fat, no processing, and using all-natural ingredients.
You don’t need a lot of time and resources to prototype. You just a pen or paper or a slate to write down the solution and develop that solution into reality, if it’s a product, write down the specialties of that product. Introduce this within your team, outside your design team, or within a small group of people. Ask for feedback, note down the recommendations. This step can either change, improve, or reject the solution, and you have to go back to previous stages to improvise variations.
Test (the solution)
It is considered as the final stage of design thinking, but this is not .this stage involves user testing. The tested product is being improved after prototyping and then introduced to get user feedback. As design thinking is an iterative process, it let this stage doesn’t end here. Still, most of the time, after getting feedback, that particular product or service is revised, improved, and allow the designer team to think of new ideas they haven’t consider before.
Design thinking is the need of the new era. It is an iterative process, look for user interest, and a unique problem-solving method. But keep in mind, these stages are not as followed as written because at every stage if you encounter any revision, you have to go back to the previous step and introduce that problem. In short, phases of design thinking run parallel.