Design Thinking

After reading the article Design Thinking Comes of Age by Jon Kolko pressed in the September 2015 issue (pp.66–71) of Harvard Business Review.
As Jon said:

“A set of principles collectively known as design thinking—empathy with users, a discipline of prototyping, and tolerance for failure chief among them—is the best tool we have for creating those kinds of interactions and developing a responsive, flexible organizational culture.”

Design thinking is a process which can help people to create better solution no matter the type of problem, aiming to change the way to handle problems, to explore alternatives and to creat options that did not exist before. It is an essential tool for simplifying and humanizing. This process is based on some key principles:

  • Focus on users’ emotional experience
  • Use modle to explore the complexity
  • Use prototypes to find solutions
  • tolerate failure
  • Exhibit thoughtful restraint

Design as a role, imparting a set of principles to all people who bring ideas to life. Then we follow these principles to find the solution of a problem, here is a video about the design thinking process:

, there are 3 key steps in this practical process-Ideate, Prototyping and Test. These steps should be repeated as a circulation. They take a quick cheap solution and finally success. Let’s consider those steps:

Blendspace | Design Thinking
Blendspace | Design Thinking
  • Empathize: In the research stage. Design thinking let us to focus on the needs of user, by understanding the context and culture. And we need to combine direct observation andqualitative data to produce stories that people can empathize with.
  • Define: To define with the real problems
  • Ideate: Diagnosing the problem, and brainstorming ideas without the constraints of existing solutions
  • Prototype: Simple prototypes that to test possible outcomes
  • Test: Test them in the real world.

The prosses is aim to have greater creativity and better solutions, but there are also challenges for using design thinking in the real world, the main challenges Jon indicate in his article, and he gives some ideas that we should think about in the real practice:

  • Accepting more ambiguity
  • Embracing risk
  • Resetting expectations

Although the theory of design thinking is excellent, but like many organizations and people with entrenched cultures, it is hard for them to have leaps of faith. When something haven’t done before, there is no way to garantee its outcomes. So some doubts and criticism are hard to avoid.

As Julia who said in the article’s comments: ” I do hope it will create a better understanding of how design thinking can be used not just for innovating products, services or marketing but also organisations. I have been focusing on the last one and it has not been easy for companies to jump on the train.” She have been trying to help organisations use design thinking both as a mindset and as a process to innovate in the organisational space, in the way to do strategy, in the way to work and in the way to design and manage change.

And another designer Mariono Suarez Battan, who is helping scale design thinking in innovative enterprises. He shares 4 logistical problems that he has spotted when observing companies scale their design culture and indecates in his blog ( something to observe is that there are a lot of companies that have been born user centered, but may have different levels of maturity in how they practice design. The biggest challenge comes when going deep in the thinking about the problems, more than in rapid prototyping and testing solutions.


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