Let’s Talk About Design Thinking (And How to Use It)

Imagine your team at work being given an extremely complicated task that seems impossible. No one has a clue where to start or what to do after they do have an idea. Then as the deadline draws closer, everyone starts to panic and coming up with unrealistic ideas that have no follow-through. Sounds familiar right? Well I’m going to teach you a method that will prevent this problem from happening ever again.

Steps of Design Thinking

First, lets talk about Design Thinking in general. Design Thinking is a method used to solve complicated issues and how to find the perfect solution for them. When you first learn about Design Thinking, it will seem overwhelming, but overtime, it will become second nature when you are confronted by a difficult problem or task.


— Step 1 —

Empathy is how a person relates to others. In Design Thinking it relates to understanding your customers and/or clients. You have to fully understand what they want, what they need, how they act, and what their emotions are before you can begin to come up with an idea to please them. To do this you need to immerse yourself in these experiences and see how you react. This will help you understand why customers respond the way they do. In the end you should have a solid understanding of who these customers/clients are and what is valuable to them.

Define- Look at it like hitting the bullseye

— Step 2 —

The second step is to Define. This means to fully develop an understanding of the people you learned about in the empathy step and then determine your Point of View. Your POV is going to be a message that guides you through the rest of the process. It will remind you what the customers/clients want and lead you to the best solution for the issue concerning them. It should also inspire your team and help fuel the brainstorming of ideas within the group.


— Step 3 —

Ideate is the third step. In this phase the goal is to look outward and think of ideas beyond the obvious. This is the time to throw around ideas between your team members and discuss options, no matter how silly or unrealistic they may at first seem. Ideating will help expand the amount and the range of ideas, so that you do not get stuck on one track of thoughts. Through this step, you might uncover ideas that would have never been brought up using traditional methods.

Prototype- Sticky note walls are a great example.

— Step 4 —

A Prototype in Design Thinking is taking the ideas you came up with in the ideate stage and putting them into the real world. It can be as simple as making a flow chart, a wall of sticky-notes, role-play some situations, or even just a simple diagram on a scrap of paper. Keep it simple and easy at first to move with the flow of thoughts in the team. Prototyping can help bring a deeper understanding of the customers/clients and help you expand on ideas or solve disagreements.

Testing Humor

— Stage 5 —

The final stage is Testing. During this stage, you will gain feedback on your solutions or ideas, discover ways to make it better, and further gain knowledge of your customers/clients. A good trick of thumb is to “prototype like you know you are right, but test like you know you are wrong.” In the end, testing may show you that you have not found the best solution or even that your Point of View is wrong and needs to be revised.

Try Again

— Stage 6 —

Start again. If something went wrong in the testing stage, determine where the mistake started. Sometimes you have start all over at the beginning, and others you may have to restart at prototyping.

Now that you know the steps of Design Thinking, use them. They may just save your team from a chewing out from your boss. For more ideas on how to use Design Thinking visit this link https://www.creativityatwork.com/design-thinking-strategy-for-innovation/