I’m pretty sure you heard before about Design Thinking is an innovative, creative and user-centric problem-solving process, that focuses on creating solutions and products by understanding customers´ needs and objectives.
However, today’s post is about the process and steps by itself, so let’s talk about Design Thinking.
- Empathize. A common Design Thinking practice defines empathize as the understanding of users’ needs, wants and objectives. So far, that’s true but during the time most of the Design Thinking practitioners forgot the business needs. However, main concept idea doesn’t change but for sure if you add business needs and maps these ones with users’ behaviors and needs, you’re attending both stakeholders at the same time, and that the right understanding of empathize.
- Define. Based on the learnings you get from previous step, come up with a definition of what the needs, problems and objectives are of the users. The outcome of the define phase should be a clear understanding of the problem you’re trying to solve, and a well-defined user-centric problem statement. Again, keep in mind business users and needs and of course your main focus is final users but your client is a company doing business.
- Ideate. Now you have a clear problem defined, it’s time to think of different ways you can best solve it. During this time try to come up with as many creative solutions as possible and explore different ideas which could solve the problem at hand. At the end of this step, shortlist a few of the ideas in order to move forward. Just remember. Don’t tie up with the first idea comes up to your mind, ideation step usually takes time and as mature you’re on Design Thinking process, you’ll get quickly ideas, but again don’t push yourself for the best idea at first try, push yourself more on quantity than quality.
- Prototype. Now that you’ve chosen a few ideas to experiment with, it’s time to turn them into testable prototypes that help you evaluate the proposed solution, highlight flaws, and understand the users’ behavior at an early stage and a low cost. At this stage create a prototype is more about how the idea will works and not how it looks. Keep in mind do a quick HiFi/LoFi prototype will not take more than a week and less than a one single day. Again, take in care users’ needs to be solved by this prototype but don’t forget business needs also at the same time.
- Test. Lastly, it’s time to test your prototype with real users. The testing phase will allow you to collect deeper insights and feedback from the users you’ve empathized within step 1 and will help you identify areas of improvement for your prototype. For sure on this step, you’ll validate your idea and with the results will create a backlog of improvements for future product features. Keep in mind all the feedback received will convert in user stories and archive them for future product releases.
A final word
Design Thinking is not a linear process which will require you to go back and forth based on the insights you collect on every step and will make you rethink and re-evaluate and reevaluate your proposal to find the best solution for your users.