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Lesson 2, Topic 1
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Design Thinking

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Most businesses essentially start with a problem that needs to be solved. Design Thinking is a design methodology and overall mindset, popularly used today in high-end based start-ups or in the tech space where businesses like Google use the method to do design sprints to solve problems quickly.

Design Thinking facilitates ideation

Design Thinking provides a solution-based approach using a unique method to solving problems.

It’s beneficial in tackling complex problems that are ill-defined or unknown. It starts by firstly, understanding the human needs involved by re-framing the problem in human-centric ways, using empathy, and then creative thinking techniques like brain storming sessions, to ideate all of the different ways that the problem at hand could be solved. It then adopts a hands-on approach in prototyping and testing the best idea formed out of the brainstorming session.

It relies on you then combining critical thinking and creative thinking to continue designing and modelling the solutions.

Problem-solving and critical thinking refer to using knowledge, facts, and data to solve problems effectively. This doesn’t mean you need to have an immediate answer, it means you have to be able to think on your feet, assess problems and find solutions. As you test your ideas through prototyping, you can gather and review data and then review it to refine the solution.

The process enables the designer to move from the creative thinking in the brain to the critical thinking, where you review, refine and formalise an improved design based on the testing process.

IDEO has been a leader in design thinking space, practising human-centered design since their beginning in 1978. IDEO is often credited with inventing the term “design thinking” and its practice. But, In fact, design thinking has been in use globally for many decades. As one of the leaders in innovative product design, IDEO took up the phrase “design thinking” to describe the elements they practice and found most learnable and teachable—empathy, optimism, iteration, creative confidence, experimentation, and an embrace of ambiguity and failure.

 

Design Thinking Method

Design thinking as a mindset and methodology correlates strongly with the learning lifecycle. It identifies that once you explore an idea thoroughly, testing and trialling, it is ok to realise the idea has failed and it’s time to explore a different idea that might have more potential.

The concept of design thinking is to find an idea that fits in the intersection of customer desirability, technological feasibility and market/business/financial feasibility. 

  • Desirability: What do people desire?
  • Feasibility: What is technically possible within the foreseeable future for this product, services or business solution?
  • Viability: What is likely to become part of a sustainable business model?

The one area we believe is vitally important from the design thinking perspective is that the design you work on today will source solutions for now and, more importantly, our future. With how rapidly our world is changing, we need to be future-focused.