One of the key benefits of design thinking is that it enables you to approach problem-solving in new ways—this can be a great benefit when faced with challenges within your organisation or team. Empathy is the key; rather than thinking like a ‘designer’, emphasis should be placed on end-user needs, focusing on problem resolution. In essence, design thinking is the process of ideation, prototyping and testing.
- What is the benefit of design thinking?
- What are the 5 stages of design thinking?
- The human-centred approach to design thinking.
- What are the 4 Ds of design thinking?
- Gather feedback from real people.
- Design thinking and your business.
- Design thinking vs. traditional design
- What is the difference between problem-solving and design thinking?
- How can a design thinking workshop help me?
- Final thoughts.
What is the benefit of design thinking?
The benefits of design thinking are many, from improving productivity for the end-user to saving time and money. The human-centred approach is instrumental when dealing with problems that are less defined or complex. It is also equally beneficial when the problem is apparent and resolution quickly found through technical knowledge. This approach centres around finding the right product or solution for the market while delivering a better experience for your target audience.
What are the 5 stages of design thinking?
- Empathise: Use empathy to understand the needs, pains and frustrations people experience when completing a specific task. You can do this by observing them as they go about their daily business by understanding how they work or by directly interviewing or surveying them. The objective is to learn individual behaviour and how their current reality influences them in identifying challenges.
- Define: Use this stage to clarify the project focus by addressing the problem, outcomes (designs) and constraints. Define clear goals and objectives.
- Ideate: In this stage, you need to generate lots of ideas by brainstorming and visualising scenarios or future states. Use techniques like low-fidelity sketching to speed up the ideation process. You can also use design tools like storyboards or video scenarios to help you think about a product’s real-life application.
- Prototype: A prototype is a low-fidelity model that shows how the end-user experience could work in practice. You can test out the proposed design with end-users to see if it would solve their problem and measure how they react to it
- Test: Validate or prototype your solution with real people; design thinking only really works when you test your idea in the real world.
The design thinking framework helps you to think differently about your challenges. If you’d like to try using design thinking in a project or your business, here are some tips and guidance:
- Define the problem
- Observe and interview users
- Ideate solutions and test them out with end-users by creating prototypes with physical objects or software.
- Repeat the cycle until you arrive at the best possible design solution to your challenge.
The human-centred approach to design thinking.
The primary objective in design thinking aims to foster creativity, innovation and be user-centric; to ideate and embrace actionable solutions that are viable for the business and end-user. As designer Nick Hay puts it: “It’s about designing for people – not for machines.”
What are the 4 Ds of design thinking?
As well as the 5 steps of ‘design thinking, there are 4 D’s that should underpin your thought process; they are;
- Define: Define goals, objectives and scope of the project.
- Design: Develop system solutions that meet these goals.
- Develop: Generate prototypes or iterate system designs to test assumptions and confirm design requirements. When necessary, develop a new design to solve problems encountered during testing.
- Deliver: Determine the appropriate trade-offs among project constraints.
Gather feedback from real people.
Something that’s often overlooked or skipped by many is the crucial step of gathering feedback from others. Asking for help is not something many of us feel comfortable with; however, if you genuinely want to understand the needs of your audience, ask you must.
Don’t be fearful of feedback that tests your theories; instead, embrace them. Getting friends, co-workers or even family involved is crucial in building a proper understanding of your target audience.
Team meetings are an excellent opportunity to test the logic behind your thought process and extrapolate and build upon those ideas and bring about change with a solution that honestly answers the needs of your audience.
Design thinking and your business.
The business approach to design thinking is a creative and collaborative approach to transforming how you generate, evaluate and implement new ideas in your business. Goals should be specific, measurable and achievable and be time-bound.
On a business level, design thinking helps teams increase agility, generate innovative ideas to solve problems or seize opportunities, create valuable products and services, improve customer experiences, drive growth and ultimately increase profitability.
Design thinking vs. traditional design
Traditional design is about shaping the form and function of a product, service, or experience. The design process is more about understanding how the user or customer will interact with a product in their everyday lives. It’s more about collaborating with all key stakeholders to solve a problem in new ways.
What is the difference between problem-solving and design thinking?
Traditional problem-solving is a structured process that identifies a problem after an event or procedure has taken place—making it reactive by nature.
Design thinking takes a proactive approach by analyzing the problem and developing resolution through understanding and empathy.
How can a design thinking workshop help me?
Workshops help businesses, developers, ideators, and teams create viable, user-focused solutions to problems—this is done by a hands-on approach to learning through doing. Participants benefit by applying what they learn by creating tangible solutions to real problems. Participants build confidence, learn to work more cohesively as a team and deliver a better product faster and reduce development costs.
Simon Banks delivers keynotes and workshops, online and in-person, around Australia; he is renowned for his inspirational speeches and motivational workshops that inspire action and deliver results.
The topic of design thinking is vast. Today, we have aimed to provide you with some introductory knowledge into the subject and enlighten you on the benefits of a human-centered design approach to problem-solving.
For those wanting to know more on the subject, there is an almost endless array of books on the subject, or you can seek a hands-on approach with an in-person workshop.