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Introduction to Design Thinking

Design thinking is a process that is usually used by designers to brainstorm solutions for a problem or to build new ideas for clients. The brainstorming phase usually has little or no limitations so that the fear of failure or shame does not affect the creative processes outcome.

Design Thinking draws upon logic, imagination, intuition, and systematic reasoning, to explore possibilities of what could be, and to create desired outcomes that benefit the end user (the customer). A design mindset is not problem-focused, it is solution focused, and action oriented. It involves both analysis and imagination.

The whole process usually consists of 5 steps:

  1. Empathize
  2. Define
  3. Ideate
  4. Prototype
  5. Test

Empathize

When we design, we rarely do it for ourselves. When designing for a specific group of users, you need to empathize with your users to fully understand what they need, and what they expect. You can do this by observation, interaction and by placing yourselves in their shoes

Define

After you have gathered your research on the users, you have to come up with a logical and practical problem statement that addresses most of the issues you found. You sort through all the data to find connections between them, eliminate the ones that are duplicate and try to make sense of the ones that remain to come up with a problem that will inspire your team to provide a solution for.

Ideate

This is your chance to use your knowledge of the problem and the user’s point of view, to come up with possible solutions. You can explore a wide variety of solutions by pushing your imagination to come up with not just a single but the best solution for  your users.

Prototype

Creating a prototype is an iterative process. You create prototypes of your solutions with which the user can interact and give feedback.

Test

Bring in real users to test your prototypes. Observe how they use it and where they find difficulties. Note down the areas of problems, refine your design and test again until you come up with an almost perfect product.

 

References

Design Thinking as a Strategy for Innovation, Linda Naiman