Five distinctive things about design thinking
This article is inspired by a material written by Maureen Carroll, founder of „Lime design” and trainer at d.school. We discover 5 major aspects in which design thinking brings a new approach to problem solving. 5 key points in which design thinking differs from analytical thinking and why this creative approach is more effective for companies and organizations.
You can read an introduction about design thinking in one of our past articles.
TOOLS AND REPRESENTATION
In a traditional approach, ideas are generated through linear, logical processes. That’s good, but limitative. What if you add some action to the process. Try to craft your ideas, try to observe and experience them. Building things, crafting, is a process specific to children and play, the age when we were all at our most creative level. By trying to build something, you expand your understanding and create the context for new ideas.
Design thinking uses all kinds of creative techniques, like drawings, mental maps, models, prototypes etc. that facilitate understanding and explorations. Crafting your ideas makes room for new explorations and improvement.
In a traditional mindset risk is seen as something to be avoided. In design thinking, risk is essential for growth and is tightly bound with transformative innovation. Explore unfamiliar grounds, take the challenges, maximize your use of resources and develop new capabilities. Staying in a risk-free situation wont get you very far.
In a traditional mindset the target is to find a solution to a certain problem as quickly as possible. The process is quick and it often involves patterns. But how effective is it? Is the solution really working in a fast changing environment or it is just an incremental adjustment? In design thinking observation is key. The process encourages us to step back and observe the problem we’re working on. This allows us to discover the true issues that need to be addressed. Design thinking also allows more time for the ideas o develop, being a process based on explorations. By taking the time to constantly improve the solution you are working on you minimize the risks. You’ll end up with a solution that in new, never-seen-before, it’s linked to risk because it is new, but the chances to fail are so little because of the testing phases that the development process involves.
Design thinking is a process that created solutions that impact the future.
Team work, cross-fields and collaborations are essential to design thinking. Specialists are no longer working separately, but in mixed teams. This facilitated understanding, hands-on approach and the generation of new ideas. The teams are formed of all the specialist needed for the project. you can have designers, engineers and psychologists working together, depending on the project. Working in such diverse environments makes faster the access to additional knowledge, creates the medium for dialogue and exchange of ideas, that are essential to innovation.
A company that wants to create something meaningful for their customers first has to understand them, their needs and expectations. Empathy plays a key role in design thinking. The process trains you to become more empathetic. This helps you to become more flexible to new ideas, to shift you vision and understand different perspectives. By being empathetic you focus on the people that are at the center of your project. This enables you to create true value.