The 5 Steps of Design Thinking
Posted by: Tiffany Hsu
Design Thinking has spread quickly in the past five to ten years; from being a core philosophy for design firms, to a problem-solving methodology for a range of personal and business practices. The goals of Design Thinking are to understand your core user, identify an actionable problem, and arrive at a solution through open brainstorming and iterative prototyping.
Before starting the exercise, be prepared to utilize your team and your time effectively:
If you are solving a problem for someone other than yourself, take steps to understand your product's potential users. Namely, their needs, thoughts, feelings, motivations, and values. Most importantly, pay attention. If you are solving a problem for yourself, this is where you jot down all relevant issues you are experiencing with your current process.
Here, you can synthesize the information you've gathered, and define a problem statement that is both meaningful and actionable. The more focused you make your problem statement, the more effective your ideas and solutions will be.
Start off by gathering your observations and breaking them down into bite-sized notes, such as Post-Its. Then, group your notes based on relevancy, and review them until you are able to:
Typically, we tend to jump from identifying problems to trying to realize the best solution. Instead, this step allows you to open the floodgates and generate as many ideas as possible. It's important that only one person speaks at a time, that everyone stays on topic, and that you keep a good pulse on the energy of the group.
Prototyping allows you to build iteratively, gathering feedback on quick, low-res models. Being able to build an interactive prototype as quickly as possible allows you to test, gather feedback, and make small changes without becoming attached to any one model. You can also create multiple prototypes in parallel.
Prototyping and testing are interwoven steps which you and your team will jump between. Sometimes, the results and feedback gathered from these steps will lead you back to earlier steps. You and your team will develop a testing process that is suitable for your needs, however the following commonly apply:
If you would like to understand Design Thinking in detail, check out the Stanford D. School's comprehensive coverage here