Design thinking is a term for a specific approach to problem-solving. Whether you’re a designer, a developer, a business owner, anyone really, I’m sure that at one point or another, you applied design thinking to solve a problem.
Although the term implies that it’s somehow unique to designers, it’s not. It’s just its name. In this post, we’ll go over what design thinking is and how to apply it to any problem you might be facing. By the end of this post, you’ll see why design thinking is not only important but also practical.
What Is Design Thinking?
Design thinking isn’t just problem-solving. Instead, this concept heavily revolves around developing solutions. To put it simply, it’s a creative, human-eccentric process for creating and generating solutions that are both meaningful and useful. It can be described as a common sense approach as well.
This means that design thinking first aims to focus on people’s needs, wants, and goals in order to come up with a creative solution. Ideally, this should be an innovative solution, too. In business, design thinking is often associated with competitive advantages.
The design thinking process is made up of six different stages, including empathy, definition, idealization, prototyping, testing, and implementation. Let’s dive a little deeper into what each of these phases means.
Step 1 – Empathize
Step 2 – Define
Step 3 – Idea
Step 4 – Prototype
Step 5 – Test
Step 6 – Implement
Design Thinking Is about People
Design thinking can be summarized into three parts: people, brainstorming, and iteration. When we focus on problems that real people have and can freely come up with as wild ideas as we want, we will come up with something impressive. We can even be sure that we will come up with something innovative if we iterate enough on our proposed solutions, especially when we get feedback from our target audience.
If you’re still not convinced, remember that the very first step is gathering knowledge about the people you’re trying to help. Design thinking makes you focus on real people. On Derek, a 17-year-old high school senior who needs help in writing a resume for his college application. Or on Meredith, a 32-year-old single mother of three who needs a reliable cleaning service.
It’s much easier to empathize, innovate, and create something amazing with real people in mind instead of some made-up, faceless personas. Don’t you agree?
Advantages of Design Thinking
Design thinking is important for many reasons. For starters, it focuses on real people who have actual problems and needs. It helps you focus on solving real problems instead of imaginary or assumed ones. The ideation step gives you and your team freedom to come up with solutions, right? Yes, it does. This means that design thinking also encourages innovation whether on a large or small scale.