An method to problem-solving called “design thinking” places an extreme value on feelings, imagination, and teamwork. It is a human-centered framework that has been widely embraced by many different businesses and disciplines despite having originated in the design field.
At its core, design thinking involves identifying and meeting the needs and tastes of the users or consumers of a given product, service, or solution. In order to provide unique and efficient solutions, it promotes a thorough understanding of users, their experiences, and their views.
During this stage, we closely observe and engage with the individuals facing the problem or need. The goal is to develop empathy by understanding and relating to their emotions, and gaining a deeper understanding of what drives their actions and the challenges they face.
Once you’ve studied the stage findings, it’s essential to clearly understand the main problem or opportunity at hand. By doing so, you can generate ideas for potential solutions that are inspired by the insights gained from the analysis.
In this phase, teams generate many different ideas and potential solutions. The main emphasis is on coming up with a large quantity and variety of ideas, promoting open and creative expression.
During the ideation stage, teams bring their ideas to life by creating actual models or representations. These can include physical models, drawings, storyboards, or even digital models. Prototypes are used to facilitate quick and ongoing communication and testing of ideas.
In order to gather feedback and gain insights, models are tested with users or the target audience. This stage allows for additional iterations and improvements of the solution by identifying its strengths, weaknesses, and areas for further development
Design thinking is an iterative process, meaning that the steps mentioned above are often repeated. Each iteration leads to a refined and improved solution. The goal is to continuously enhance user-focused solutions by incorporating and learning from their input.
Design thinking promotes teamwork and thinking outside the box. It encourages researching, being curious, and learning from failure. By focusing on user needs and experiences, design thinking helps create unique solutions that connect with and help the intended audience.
Example Stage Empathize in Design Thinking
Design thinking in context of transportation services, for example
In the first stage of design thinking, the focus is on empathizing with the users and gaining a deep understanding of their needs, frustrations, and desires. For example, if the design team is working on a transportation service, they would actively engage with potential users like commuters to gather valuable insights and understand their perspectives.
To understand the challenges faced by commuters, their preferred modes of transportation, their pain points, and any unmet needs, the design team can employ methods such as interviews, questionnaires, or observations. Through these interactions, the team may uncover issues like long wait times, overcrowding, limited availability, or difficulties in using the transportation system. By actively engaging with commuters and listening to their firsthand experiences, the design team can foster empathy and gain a deeper understanding of their perspectives.
The design team develops a defined direction for ideation and solution creation by clearly outlining the challenge.
ideation stage of design thinking
Let’s examine the design thinking ideation step in the context of our example of a transportation service:
During the ideation stage, the design team generates a broad range of ideas and potential solutions to tackle the identified problem or opportunity. The emphasis is on generating a large quantity and diverse variety of ideas, fostering open-minded creativity without any judgments or constraints.
For the transportation service, the design team could organize innovation seminars or brainstorming sessions to generate concepts. Here’s an example of an idea that might emerge during this stage:
Idea: Introducing a mobile application that provides real-time updates on the transportation schedule, offers personalized journey recommendations, and allows users to provide feedback for service improvement.
- Creating a smartphone application that provides real-time updates to commuters about delays, schedules, and alternative routes. This app will enable commuters to better plan their journeys, reducing stress and improving their overall experien
- Improve transportation stations by adding features like ramps and elevators for people with disabilities, comfortable seating areas, and clear signs. This will make the stations easier to use and more accessible for everyone, providing a better experience for commuters
- Create a system that automatically assigns seats on buses or trains based on demand, aiming to find the right balance between the number of passengers and their comfort. This system will ensure that everyone gets a seat and makes the journey more pleasant for everyone.
- Develop an online community for commuters in the same area or traveling along similar routes, with the goal of encouraging carpooling and reducing the number of individual cars on the road. This platform will facilitate connections among commuters, making it easier for them to share rides and contribute to a more sustainable transportation system.
- Make public transportation more comfortable and convenient by adding amenities like Wi-Fi, charging ports, and comfortable seating. This will improve the overall experience for commuters, allowing them to stay connected and relaxed during their journey.
Prototype Stage in Design Thinking
Let’s continue with the transportation service example and explore the prototype stage of design thinking:
The ideation stage’s chosen concepts are then turned into tangible models or representations for testing and evaluation during the prototype stage.
In our transportation service example, let’s focus on one of the ideas generated during ideation: the development of a mobile app for real-time updates. Here’s how the prototype stage might look for this idea:
Prototypes can take various forms, such as physical models, sketches, storyboards, or even digital models.
- Design sketches: Create simple drawings or outlines of the app’s layout and features.
- Interactive prototype: Use special tools to build a model of the app that you can interact with, showing how it works.
- User testing: Ask a group of people who represent the app’s users to try out the prototype and give feedback on how easy it is to use and understand.
- Make improvements: Use the feedback to make changes and fix any problems or issues with the prototype.
- Final prototype: Create a more detailed version of the app that looks and feels closer to the finished product.
Following these steps helps make sure the app is easy to use and meets the needs of its users through an ongoing process of design, testing, and improvement.
Test stage in Design thinking
Certainly! Let’s continue with the transportation service example and explore the testing stage of design thinking:
During the testing stage, the goal is to collect feedback and insights from users by showing them the prototype of the solution. This step helps assess how well the solution works and how easy it is to use. It also helps identify areas that can be improved and verifies the assumptions made during the design phase.
- For our transportation service example, here’s a simplified explanation of the testing stage:
- Select users: Choose a group of diverse commuters who represent the people who would use the transportation service. This includes individuals with different needs and levels of tech-savviness.
- Test usability: Let the users try out the high-fidelity prototype of the mobile app. Observe their actions, ask questions, and gather feedback to understand their experience and find any issues with using the app.
- Evaluate effectiveness: Check if the app effectively provides real-time updates, helps users plan their journeys, and reduces stress. Get feedback on how easy it is to understand the information and how satisfied users are with the app’s features.
- Make improvements: Use the feedback received to make necessary changes and improvements to the app’s design, functionality, and how it looks. This helps ensure that the app meets users’ needs and preferences.
- Repeat testing and refinement: Conduct more rounds of testing with new users or the same group to validate the changes made in the prototype. Continuously gather feedback, iterate, and refine the app until it provides the desired user experience and meets all requirements.