Integrating design thinking. Where good ideas happen.

What’s Design Thinking?

Design thinking is a way to get the team involve and think creatively about a product. Design thinking helps the team understand issues, understand the customer, the KPI and other metrics as well find creative solutions for problems.

Design thinking brings people together for an intensive planning process, saving a lot of time that you and your team will be spending later on in meetings trying to explain what’s going on to each other. Without confusing ideas or personal assumptions in the way, design thinking helps to create a high-level product planning, identify and build high value backlog of ideas based on the customer needs. Design Thinking get everyone involved.

Expensive?

Everyone should stop doing their job to get together?

Well they need to get involve anyways, it’s either now and gaining a common understanding or it’s later on in a never ending meeting, without a clear goal.

Studies shown that design thinking will save you time, and most importantly it will help you create better products.

Design thinking starts with EMPATHY. (Please check my post about empathy)

You can create Personas now or after finding the problem and doing some observation.

**Define Personas based on all the different segments.

Finding the Problem

Watch real users and identify their pain points. A pain point is a problem, real or perceived. Entrepreneurs create opportunities for themselves by creating solutions to those pain points.

Sometimes we find problems and those problems are based on our own experiences and believes.

So, before you start defining your idea, watch some people doing the activity or work you want to make a solution for. Observation and asking questions to your real target market will allow you to see the true issues. People will tell you about problems and sometime about their solutions.

Everyone should participate on the observations.

After you finish your observations, each of one of you should put each observation on its own Sticky notes!

Create a experience map/ customer journey and label each theme, and each process.

Once you have all you pain points on the experience map make the team vote all the important issues. You can use sticky dots.

This will help the team prioritize their task on creating a solution for the pain points causing your customers the most problems.

If you really solve their problems, is much more likely you are making a good product.

Once you have the main pain points, you can transform your pain points to goals. (please keep in mind how are you going to measure if the product is working, if your customer is engage and if your customer is happy when you create these goals)

Ideation

Now you have you pain points, your goals, your personas, and your experience map and you can start thinking about the perfect idea. But the best one and the optimal solution is not your first idea.

Get the team together to ideate.

First, each person can spend 10–20 min to come up with ideas.

Sketch those ideas on sticky notes. You can draw or write. Share your solutions with everyone and start the second round.

Now everyone is open to everyones ideas and all those ideas are fresh and exciting on our head. So, take the combination of ideas and do another round in smaller groups of 3/4 people.

Scenarios

You have all your potential ideas listed, so you can create a story board.

The story board will show step by step how your solution would be use by your persona or personas. You don’t need to go on technical details.

Test your idea.

Create paper prototypes and show your prototypes to customers. The usability test is important to find mistakes and make changes on the storyboard and the journey map based on what you learned from the usability test.

Planning your development work with a story map.

I suggest you read the Jeff Patton’s book about user story, it’s a great tool.

ModernUX.se: It’s great tool for the product owner to get everyones understanding and contribution to the creation of the backlog based on user and business needs. It is the perfect discovery tool that can be used continuously throughout the product life cycle. The User Story Map can be used as a backlog where you slice your stories into minimum viable product releases, prioritize them and have great discussions together both with end users and developers.

At the top of the map are a sequence of activites or categories(yellow in the image above, blue below). These are the broad things that a user would do in the system. One user might administer the product catalog, this would be an internal user such as a sales person. Another user might order products, and this would be an external user such as a buyer.

Under each main activity, there’s a sequence of steps, the user scenario, that the user would do to achieve the main activity (purple above, yellow below). This is the narrative flow. For ordering a product, you first have to find the product, then select it and finally place the order. Possibly a lot of more steps are needed for the whole flow. — Please find more info at modernux.se about story maps

You can use STORIESONBOARD to create story maps online. You can try for Free.

Once you finish your map, prioritize!

Organize all your notes by what’s more or less important to the customer.

And you have your stories and backlog!

Ready to start your project!

**If you are working with design thinking or market research agency like mine (PLAY&TELL.org) keep in mind that from the prototype to an agile backlog or any other implementation causes headaches for the development team if they weren’t involve on the process.

Because the development team wasn’t involved they can’t understand the justification behind each design or process.

What do you think about design thinking?