Design Thinking 101 — What is it? (Part I of II)

At SEEK, in preparation for our upcoming 8th Hackathon, we introduced Upskill lunch sessions. These were run by SEEKers to teach fellow SEEKers new skills that would assist them in their hacking endeavours. We kicked off these sessions with a 2-part Design Thinking workshop to more broadly share Design Thinking with the rest of SEEK and promote taking a customer-centric approach in everything we do.

We had 60 attendees who:

  • Learned basic Design Thinking principles and techniques
  • Watched videos of real SEEK customers (candidates and hirers) using our products (to build empathy)
  • Performed practical exercises with a variety of Design Thinking tools to explore creative and innovative ways to solve their problems and delight them
  • Generated some awesome ideas for Hack 8 — the 60 attendees generated more than 400 ideas to address real user pain points in 10 minutes!
Teams coming up with ideas!

So what is Design Thinking?

Design thinking is an approach taken by some of the most innovative & successful organisations in the world, including SEEK.

The ideal product sits in the sweet spot at the intersection of desirability, feasibility and viability.

  • Desirability — Does it solve a customer problem and is it desired by the customer?
  • Feasibility — Can we actually do it, is it possible?
  • Viability — Should we do it, will it be successful?
The ideal product sits at the intersection of desirability, feasibility and viability.

In traditional product thinking we often start by asking ourselves what we could do to achieve a certain goal. This constrains us by what we think is possible or easy. Then we use desirability and viability to prioritise those ideas. This can mean we are constrained to only a few, unimaginative ideas.

Design thinking flips this on its head… we only care about desirability, initially. By removing the constraints, we are now free to dream up and imagine any possible solution by always thinking first and foremost about the customer. We’re also keeping an open mind and ensuring we don’t make assumptions about the real customer problem or solution. You may be surprised by what you uncover going through the Design Thinking process.

Design thinking is human-centred design. There are 5 easy* steps involved in the process of following human-centred design:

  1. Consider the customer. Watch them use your product. Interview them, understand them and build empathy with them
  2. Understand their experiences, and identify their frustrations or unmet needs by listening to them
  3. Ideate innovative solutions that might solve their problems
  4. Figure out how to make them feasible and viable
  5. Test your ideas with real users. Learn and iterate

Check out Part II here:

Read more about how we have used design thinking at SEEK:


Thanks to Rob Alford for championing the Hack Skills sessions, and hosting this workshop. The planning, organising and facilitating involved Nate Harrison, Sophie Hine, Mimi Turner, Tad Obiegly, Taryn D’Souza, Jo Piechota, Campbell Love, Aoife Johnston and myself, Kayla Heffernan.

*YMMV

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