What is Design Thinking and why should you care?
Transform the way you think with Design Thinking
The day I stumbled upon the concept of Design Thinking, I initially thought "I'm a graphic designer, this is not for me...", but I was completely wrong.
Design Thinking can be applied to any field you work in, even to improve your productivity and personal growth.
- What is Design Thinking?
- Benefits of Design Thinking
- Steps of Design Thinking
- Application examples
- Tools and Resources to apply Design Thinking
- Frequently Asked Questions
But first of all... What is Design Thinking?
It is a thinking method to fix or solve problems focused on the user or customer.
Tim Brown, one of the founders of the concept and of the company IDEO together with David Kelley (popularized in the classrooms of Standford University) provides his definition of Design Thinking as:
"Design thinking is a human-centered approach to innovation that draws from the designer’s toolkit to integrate the needs of people, the possibilities of technology, and the requirements for business success."
It is a methodology used to solve complex problems. You simply have to put the user or customer at the center.
You have to ask basic questions about the user and their needs and then go and question existing models, which is really the heart of creativity.
So why should you care about implementing design thinking in your life or workplace?
It's simple. Design thinking has too many benefits to be ignored... Here's a list of some of the main ones:
Benefits of Design Thinking
Boost your creativity
Can't find more than one solution to a problem?
Here's an idea. According to Stefanos Zenios of Stanford GSB, "Good ideas are not new ideas. They are usually a combination of existing ones."
Design thinking promotes a collective approach to problem solving in which people with different experiences can merge their ideas. This alters your thought process and you automatically start using more of your right brain. Yes, the artistic part of the brain.
So, the next time you need to design a poster, don't discard what your programmer friend can tell you!
Raise your empathy quotient
Have you ever been labeled as apathetic, and do your teammates imply that you could be more supportive?
If you're nodding your head at any of these, maybe Design Thinking could help you.
Why? Because design thinking trains you to set aside your opinions and judgments about others and focus on being more accommodating to others. You can try the What, How and Why method to become a more empathetic and understanding person at work.
Become an all-rounder thinker
We have long been told that people are essentially of two types: those with the more active left side of the brain (and therefore more analytical) and those with the more active right side (the creative types).
Good news! Thanks to Design Thinking, you can activate both sides of your brain.
So now, you can manage both the budget and the creative theme for your next office meeting.
Solve problems like a pro
Do you look to other people for help in solving your problems more often than you would like? Do you wonder why your solutions are not always the best?
It could be because you are thinking more about the solution than the problem itself.
With design thinking you analyze the problem from the bottom up and work your way to a solution.
Process and Steps of Design Thinking
Design Thinking is based on 5 simple steps:
- Empathize with your users or customers
- Define the problem
- Brainstorming with your team
- Design a working prototype or temporary solution
- Test the proposed solutions to see which is more feasible.
Diagram of the Design Thinking process and stages
You are five steps away from solving problems in an innovative way.
Follow this process and you'll be solving other people's problems in short time!
Design Thinking Applications: Case Studies
Through these 2 case studies, you will see how Design Thinking is a versatile tool and how you can adapt it to your own situation.
Take a look to get inspired and learn how to apply Design Thinking in your own work and personal life!
Example 1: Design of a mobile application for the elder people
- Problem: Many mobile applications are difficult for older people to use due to an unintuitive interface and complicated features.
- Empathize: Interviews and surveys were conducted with the elderly to understand their needs and challenges in using mobile applications.
- Define the problem: The mobile application must be easy to use and easy to understand for seniors.
- Generate ideas: Several ideas were generated to simplify the interface and make it more intuitive, such as using large and simple icons, legible typography and a simple navigation system.
- Design a prototype: A prototype of the application was designed with the ideas generated and tested with elderly people.
- Test the solution: Feedback was collected and adjustments were made to make the application more user-friendly for seniors.
Example 2: Improving efficiency in a logistics company
- Problem: The logistics company was facing shipping delays and high operating costs.
- Empathize: Interviews were conducted with employees and the current logistics process was studied.
- Define the problem: The company must improve the efficiency of its logistics processes to reduce delays and costs.
- Generate ideas: Several ideas were generated to improve efficiency, such as automating processes, improving communication between departments and optimizing delivery routes.
- Design a prototype: A prototype of the changes was designed and their impact on the company was simulated.
- Test the solution: The changes were implemented and their impact on reducing delays and operating costs was measured.
In both examples, you can see how Design Thinking is applied to solve specific problems in a creative and user-centered way.
Resources for applying Design Thinking:
some useful tools and techniques
In this section you will find something useful to empathize with your users, define problems, generate ideas, design prototypes and test solutions. Everything you need to help you implement Design Thinking in your work and personal life.
Take a look and start applying Design Thinking today!
Tools for empathy:
· Interviews: to understand user needs and challenges.
· Surveys: to collect quantitative data on user needs.
· Empathy maps: to visualize users' needs in a graphical way.
Problem definition tools:
· 5 Whys: to get to the root of the problem.
· Ishikawa diagram: to identify the causes of a problem.
· How might we: to generate ideas to solve problems.
Tools for idea development:
· Brainstorming: to generate a large number of ideas in a short period of time.
· SCAMPER: to modify and improve existing ideas.
· Mind mapping: to organize and connect ideas.
· Sketching: to quickly draw sketches of ideas.
· Wireframing: to create a visual skeleton of a user interface.
· Prototyping: to create a functional model of an idea.
· A/B testing: to compare two versions of a solution and see which is more effective.
· User interviews: to get feedback on a solution.
· User observation: to see how users interact with a solution.
Frequently Asked Questions and Answers:
Now you have some tools and techniques to implement Design Thinking in your projects, including in the field of Graphic Design.
But don't forget that this is just the beginning, there are many other tools and techniques that you can learn and adapt to your needs. The important thing is that you get going and start applying Design Thinking in your work and personal life.
Related articles or content:
These articles, resources and/or content will help you improve and learn more about creativity and other related topics.
Artificial Intelligence or AI for Graphic Design Applications
Automate your Editorial Graphic Designs with GREP