Design Thinking: awesomely creative solutions

5 minutes
Written by: Margarita González del Hierro
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Index

What is Design Thinking? 

There isn’t one unique definition for Design Thinking, since it is a strategy, an idea. We could describe it as a methodology that, making use of design tools, makes creative problem solving easier in a way that is both innovative and person-centered (centered around people)

This methodology sits at the convergence of (brings together) analytical thinking, convergente, which makes decisions, and intuitive thinking, or divergente, which is centered on the creation of options. Within it, creativity and empathy are mixed together with more rational thinking, with the goal of reaching an innovative response, useful for users, while also meeting the technical and financial requirements our project could have. 

Thanks to Design Thinking, we can provide innovative solutions to situations that we could face in our daily lives, putting the focus on three main aspects: 

  • The people’s necessities (we look for a desirable solution), 
  • The business requirements (financially viable solutions) and 
  • The possibilities that technology provides us with (must be technologically feasible).

Benefits of DT

We are going to discover the benefits of Design Thinking by starting with a quote by Bruce Nussbaum, which says:

“When people talked about Innovation in the 90‘s they really meant Technology. When people talk about Innovation in this decade, they really mean Design”

Bruce Nussbaum, Managing Editor Businessweek Magazine

This quote shows just how important design is to innovation, for Bruce, being its own entity. 

So, I pose the question, are you looking for innovation in your day-to-day? Are you facing professional challenges that you want to successfully overcome? Do you want to get the highest performance from your team? Do you need to experiment with new ideas or processes? Without a doubt, Design Thinking is for you, since it is useful in any sector or environment. When we incorporate design into our way of working, the possibilities of success increase.

If we apply a thought process with the focus of a designer, we can revolutionize the way in which our startup, our agency, or even our classroom, makes better strategic decisions, optimizes work flows, or innovates in its processes, services, or products by creating new solutions, and even new blueprints for working which take you into the future

Thinking from design

In Design Thinking we take the perspective of a designer. Being able to think like a designer requires us to strengthen some characteristics so that we can let our creativity flow freely. Here are five aspects that will help us in the process: 

Collaborate: 

Whenever possible, focus your search for solutions together with people with different profiles. Multidisciplinary teams will help to achieve really innovative ideas. 

Strengthen your empathy:

Put yourself in the shoes of the people you are designing the solution for, as well as the people within your team. This will help you achieve an even better result.  

Apply storytelling: 

Transmit your ideas with a visual focus. Make use of visual metaphors. You can use icons, images, or a well-cared for narrative. The experience will be much more gratifying and significant

Trust: 

Be optimistic. In Design Thinking, we all have a place, we are all potential engines for change and creation.  Neither your budget nor the size of the problem you are facing matter. As this Visual Thinking, about Visual Mapping created by our collaborator Phillipe, demonstrates believing in your own creativity is at the heart of innovation.

Experiment: 

Dive in head first, create different solutions, act, learn from your mistakes. It isn’t just thinking, but also creating. This way, the innovation process will be more complete.

The Phases of Design Thinking and its methods 

When we are focused, with our minds set on design mode, we can center on the application of Design Thinking. We can do this in different ways. One of them is by following these 5 iterative stages: Empathize, Define, Ideate, Prototype, and Evaluate. 

Click on each pentagon to see examples of techniques and tools that you can apply in each phase. Have a look at all of the design thinking templates.

1. Empathize: 

When we focus our attention on our users, when we worry about them, we are capable of coming up with innovative solutions that can really have an impact on their lives. This initial phase is crucial for the success of  the whole process. Here you have to be like the user, or even better, you  have to BE THE USER. We have to collect all the information that  we can about the person who use our product or service. So, for example we have these 2 great templates we could use in this phase, like the empathy map and the buyer persona where you can have the interview questions and responses. 

2. Define: 

The time has come to focalize the problem.  By doing this, we will be able to see how to confront it by defining our objective. This phase is essential for inspiring ourselves to find solutions and by posing the problem in a way that is both significant and able to be processed. Here is important to organize the collected information and present it to  the team in a clear way. You can use Mind Maps or boards just to have all this in  the same place. Here you must get a real idea of what is the problem or  everything that is pain or a gain for the end user.

3. Ideation

In this phase you will have to create multiple ideas, as many as you can. This way, you’ll have a full battery of options to choose from, and that way, will be able to detect which is the most viable solution. Here we take the information we have collected  and organized in the previous steps, and now we can start to think or design solutions to the problem or the issue that the user faces.  

4. Protoype:

let’s give them some shape. Prototypes are a step we take before coming up with the definitive solution. Experiment with the ideas, invent, build, communicate, identify options. Don´t get stuck on validating, but instead on experimenting. A quick prototype with simple and intuitive tools is key for this. We can use a mock up, a model or a  demo, everything that we can use to show it to the customer, he can  touch it, manipulate, or have a clear idea of the proposed service,  depending on what we are working on…

5. Evaluate: 

The time has come to see how our solutions are working out. You can ask for opinions about your prototypes, either to members of your team or even to users. This can give you valuable information for refining your solutions and even for bringing a new focus that could take you back to the beginning of this iterative process of Design Thinking. The contextualization and scene setting are key to this phase. Generate immersive experiences to help your audience understand the solution that you are proposing. 

Apply Design Thinking

If you want to make use of the full potential of Genially to get the most out of Design Thinking, we invite you to watch the video within this post in which we edit a template live while applying one of the most creative techniques: Forced Connections.

We hope you have enjoyed this post in which we’ve seen how we can move closer to a thought process based on design, which is user-centered, in order to achieve innovative solutions and how Genially is a very useful tool in this process. 

Warm wishes from the entire Genially Team. See you soon!

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