As a buzzword, Design Thinking is taking the world of creatives and business by storm. A relatively new concept, design thinking involves tackling the unknown variables in solving complex issues. The crux of the subject is to take into account human consideration (empathize) and create multiple solution constructs (holistic/ collaborative). Some of the business use cases might include –
1 – Generating a totally new revenue stream from new product or service or innovation in existing lineup
2 – Solving a social problem that can lead to a greater good (e.g. water conservation efforts from government agencies)
3 – Elevate the user experience on a particular gadget or device (e.g. mobile app design UI/UX)
Design Thinking: The Key Steps
There are 5 steps in the entire design thinking process. These are –
1 – Empathize – Gain an understanding of the problem you are trying to solve and the people/market for whom you will be solving the problem.
2 – Define – The information collected during your briefing, user challenges, and other information collected in the ‘Empathize’ stage to define the problem statement.
3 – Ideate – Here’s where the million-dollar creative thinking part happens. All existing solutions are disregarded, and new ideas and innovative thinking are encouraged.
4 – Prototype – From a list of ideas generated in the previous stage, pick a handful and take it to the next level of prototyping – i.e. creating a tangible solution.
5 – Testing – Assessing the prototypes in real-world situation amongst real world participants is the last step of the design thinking process.
How can design thinking be implemented in real life?
In real life, applying design thinking is all about creating a sense of balance and harmony. At a very broad level, you can get answers to these questions to make a positive difference to your existing life –
- What components make up your life (career, personal, ambition, achievements)?
- What components do you want to add, subtract, replace, or keep?
- How can you change your daily routine to make a better impact on your life?
- How can you reinvent your life?
Let’s look at a practical approach to this –
1 – Maintain an activity journal
In order to understand what you need to retain, add or replace from among the different components in your life, you need to know what components comprise of your life. You can maintain a journal that contains details on activities that –
- Make you stressful
- Make you content
- You are happy to be involved 100% in
- Pump you up
- Drain your energy
This will give a glimpse of which activities impact you in what way so that you know what components you can retain, replace, or add to your life.
2 – Define your problem
Once you have collected information in stage 1 above, you know how your current life is structured. Now you need to define the problem factoring in these dynamics. Your problem can be
- How can I add a new revenue stream to my life?
- How can I plan a grand Europe vacation?
- What skills will I need to embrace to have a rewarding career?
- How can I keep up my energy levels throughout the day?
3 – Ideate
As opposed to knowing pre-defined outcomes with known variables, with life it is a bit different. You don’t know what will come up in the future and hence you need to find your way with the unknown variables of your future. You may know what you like or dislike or what saps your energy, but not much more than that. You can ideate on the possible ways that you can take to achieve a larger objective (i.e. resolving the problem statement). It’s not necessary that the first idea will lead you to accomplish your larger objective.
4 – Prototype and test
Take your ideas one step ahead and carve out real world solutions to addressing the problems. Again the first round may not yield the expected results. The key is to keep re-engineering, fine-tuning, testing, and assessing the outcomes till you are satisfied.
Know of any practical use cases of applying design thinking in real life? Do write to us and let us know your views.