Over recent decades, it has become crucial to develop and refine skills which allow us to understand and act on rapid changes in our environment and behavior. The world has become increasingly interconnected and complex, and design thinking offers a means to grapple with all this change in a more human-centric manner.
Design teams use design thinking to tackle ill-defined or unknown problems (otherwise known as wicked problems) because the process reframes these problems in human-centric ways, and allows designers to focus on what’s most important for users. Design thinking offers us a means to think outside the box and also dig that bit deeper into problem solving. It helps designers carry out the right kind of research, create prototypes and test out products and services to uncover new ways to meet users’ needs.
Design thinking is a non-linear, iterative process which seeks to understand users, challenge assumptions, redefine problems and create innovative solutions to prototype and test. The method consists of 5 phases—Empathize, Define, Ideate, Prototype and Test and is most useful when you want to tackle problems that are ill-defined or unknown.
5 Stage Process
Empathizing is central to the design thinking process. It highlights the significance of listening to the requirements and wants of our customers relative to the particular problem. The approach aids us in saving our discoveries and learnings during this stage in a systematic way such as empathy maps.
Here we combine all the insights collected at the time of listening and observing people. We start to synthesize and face the challenge ahead of us. That means we start to define a problem. An aspect that design thinking proves vital at is framing a problem in a clear manner so that we end up devising solutions and exploring opportunities.
So, now as the problem or the opportunity is clearly framed, we can search for methods to handle it. We should spur as many ideas as possible. Yes, we brainstorm or ideate. Design thinking stresses that during this phase we shouldn’t ignore ideas that seem obvious or easy. Any idea can sprout a brilliant concept. So, make sure to look into each and very idea with a fresh mindset.
Prototyping brings the solutions into vision. Different methods are involved in it such as sketching, rapid prototyping and many others. No matter whatever method you opt, the core purpose of this stage remains the same, that is, we intend to create rough drafts of solutions to decide if these will prove beneficial for the problem.
Next is testing. In this stage, we test our prototype with the customers so as to monitor the response and deem whether the solution satisfied them or not.