Design Thinking: What is it?

It's all about solving problems when it comes to good design.

Consider the case of business, where a company is creating something new, it is solving a problem. Changes in the existing are also about solving a problem. A great design solves a problem in the most effective way possible. Businesses realize the importance of design as a differentiator in responding to trends and consumer behavior changes. A design thinking process has become increasingly popular among companies of all sizes to create an innovative, customer-focused culture.

What is design thinking, and how does it apply to solving problems of all kinds? We'll explore

Before we start talking about what design thinking is, let's know what it is not. The most important aspect is understanding that design thinking is not a linear process. It's certainly not a magic formula you can just learn, apply, and get results.

Then what exactly is design thinking?

Design Thinking is a philosophical approach combined with tools that can be used to solve problems creatively. Although the term is used heavily by designers, Design thinking can also be applied to any field; it doesn’t necessarily have to be design- specific. Design thinking is an innovative approach to problem-solving that finds new and unique ways to create products, services, and ideas. Design thinkers watch real people interact with a product and then use that information to rework the product to meet the user’s needs and improve the user experience.

As Brigham Young University - Idaho pointed out, it is a means of defining a problem through the process of empathizing with the people who are affected or impacted by it, and then using that information to inform solutions.

When it comes to design thinking it's based on user centric approach to problem- solving. Design thinking recognizes that design should achieve the purpose and business goals, not just beauty.

Design thinking shifts the focus from a business-centric engineering solution to a customer-centric solution. It considers people’s ethnographic background, behavior, thinking, motivations, habits, and needs...

What makes traditional problem solving different from design thinking?

Traditional problem-solving often takes a methodical, almost scientific form. Pinpoint a problem, define the steps to take and tools to use to reach a solution, then stick to the plan and hope for the desired result. Instead of starting with a problem, design thinking starts with observation. It’s informed by an understanding of the culture and the context of a problem (what people need), rather than the problem. The traditional approach is focused on solutions and aims to get the perfect outcome on the very first try.

Traditional thinking methods focus on viability and feasibility. It is worth mentioning here that design thinking also brings viability and feasibility together, but it first acts upon desirability which is understanding the customer’s needs and expectations regarding the product.

Design thinking as compared to the traditional approach works towards asking the right questions and creating the right active experiences.

How to solve problems using the design thinking process

The design thinking approach has five steps on a very basic level namely empathize, define, ideate, prototype, and test.

01. Empathize: Understand Your Audience.

Empathy is the critical starting point for successful design thinking solutions. Empathy is our ability to see the world through other people's eyes to see what they see, feel what they feel, and experience things as they do. In Design thinking, it allows us to truly uncover and understand the needs and emotions of the people we design for. we needto understand their environment, as well as their roles and interactions within it. It involves observations and understanding the audience. Understanding consumer needs, barriers, attitudes, and aspirations are the only way to unlock new solutions that uncover new opportunities.

02. Define: Make a briefing

When we better understand the audience, it's the time, to sum up, and compile it into insights to come up with better solutions. In design thinking, this process is described as establishing a point of view. In the empathize phase, It is to define a clear problem statement. it is about making a brief on what challenges, problems, and unmet needs are to be resolved.

03. Ideate: Focus on Possible Solutions

With a deep understanding of consumers and a well-defined challenge to solve, it’s time to come up with potential solutions. The ideation phase gets you thinking outside the box and exploring new opportunities. Focusing on the number of ideas rather than quality, it's more likely to free your mind and stumble upon innovation. The underlying point here is that everyone is creative in their way — the brainstorming process can only benefit from having as many minds and perspectives as possible united in tackling the same problem.

04. Prototype: Try Out Multiple Solutions

Prototyping is about making a layout for the best ideas from the best solutions. The process of building a prototype will likely help clarify the problem even more and offer new insights or new solutions that you hadn’t thought of before. prototypes can take various forms—from basic paper models to interactive, digital prototypes. prototyping helps to test the effectiveness of the solutions that come up before actually implementing them.

05: Test: Get Feedback

The testing phase enables you to see where your prototype works well and where it needs improvement. Based on user feedback, you can make changes and improvements before you spend time and money developing and/or implementing your solution. Testing helps you learn more about your possible solutions and more about your audience. you may discover that you didn’t define the problem correctly or failed to understand your audience and need to go back to square one.

Any stage of the design thinking process can be repeated or returned to as needed, or taken out of order. It’s not meant to be a linear, strictly defined process, but to adapt to the unique requirements of individual environments and projects.

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