The design-thinking ideology asserts that a hands-on, user-centric approach to problem-solving can lead to innovation, and innovation can lead to differentiation and a competitive advantage. This hands-on, user-centric approach is defined by the design-thinking process and comprises 6 distinct phases.

Design Thinking Process Overview

  • Empathize: Conduct research in order to develop knowledge about what your users do, say, think, and feel.
  • Define: Combine all your research and observe where your users’ problems exist. In pinpointing your users’ needs, begin to highlight opportunities for innovation.
  • Ideate: Brainstorm a range of crazy, creative ideas that address the unmet user needs identified in the define phase. Give yourself and your team total freedom; no idea is too farfetched and quantity supersedes quality.
  • Prototype: Build real, tactile representations for a subset of your ideas. The goal of this phase is to understand what components of your ideas work, and which do not. In this phase, you begin to weigh the impact vs. feasibility of your ideas through feedback on your prototypes.
  • Test: Return to your users for feedback. Ask yourself ‘Does this solution meet users’ needs?’ and ‘Has it improved how they feel, think, or do their tasks?’
  • Implement: Put the vision into effect. Ensure that your solution is materialized and touches the lives of your end users.

The Advantage

Why should we introduce a new way to think about product development? There are numerous reasons to engage in design thinking, enough to merit a standalone article, but in summary, design thinking achieves all these advantages at the same time:

  • It is a user-centered process that starts with user data, creates design artifacts that address real and not imaginary user needs, and then tests those artifacts with real users.
  • It leverages collective expertise and establishes a shared language and buy-in amongst your team.
  • It encourages innovation by exploring multiple avenues for the same problem.
  • Flexibility, Adapt to Fit Your Needs.
  • Scalability, Think Bigger.

The Take-Away

In essence, the Design Thinking process is iterative, flexible and focused on collaboration between designers and users, with an emphasis on bringing ideas to life based on how real users think, feel and behave.

Design thinking tackles the complex problem by:

  1. Empathising: Understanding the human needs involved.
  2. Defining: Re-framing and defining the problem in human-centric ways.
  3. Ideating: Creating many ideas in ideation sessions.
  4. Prototyping: Adopting a hands-on approach in prototyping.
  5. Testing: Developing a prototype/solution to the problem.

References

More Readings,

A persona in user-centered design and marketing is a fictional character created to represent a user type that might use a site, brand, or product in a similar way. Marketers may use personas together with market segmentation, where the qualitative p...

A design charrette is a short, collaborative meeting during which members of a team quickly collaborate and sketch designs to explore and share a broad diversity of design ideas. Designers and non-designers—including project stakeholders, engi...

The placement of elements such that edges line up along common rows or columns, or their bodies along a common center. Alignment The whole point of the alignment principle is that nothing in your slide design should look as if it were pla...

A tag cloud (word cloud, or weighted list in visual design) is a novelty visual representation of text data, typically used to depict keyword metadata (tags) on websites, or to visualize free form text. Tags are usually single words, and the importan...

Using web-based tools to reveal statistically relevant data for usability enhancements Enables design teams to leverage web-based tools to collect statistically significant information about what people are doing on your website or web application. ...

In research of human subjects, a survey is a list of questions aimed at extracting specific data from a particular group of people. Surveys may be conducted by phone, mail, via the internet, and sometimes face-to-face on busy street corners or in mal...