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Design Thinking - Part 1

Design thinking is a great way to approach innovation in many areas of your organisation. Design is not limited to new products or services, but also an important element of how we devise business processes, teams, job roles and the things that will keep our organisations successful into the future.

The institute of Design at Stanford provide a framework you can use in your organisation that are used by some of the most forward thinking design companies in the world like IDEO to seek the best outcomes for their customers.


1. Empathise

Observe users and their behaviours to gain an understanding about them. Engage, interact and interview them. We need to do this to find out what the real problems are.

2. Define

The goal of defining is to come up with a actionable problem that should be focused. A good definition should frame the problem, inspire your team, provide reference for evaluation of solutions and fuels brainstorms by suggesting "how might we" statements. 

3. Ideate

This is the point of the procees that you focus on idea generation. It represents a process of "going wild" in terms of concepts and outcomes. Ideation is the sparks that fuel prototyping and getting innovative solutions into the hands of users. Ideation helps us think beyond obvious solutions and promotes creativity and innovative thinking.

4. Prototype

This is where you can turn ideas into lo-fi examples that can later be tested by users. You will typically learn a whole lot more by creating a physical tool that you (and others!) can interact with, and will help you learn more about the solution, start group dialogue, test posiibilities and importantly, fail cheaply and quickley. Four great thoughts on prototyping:

  • Start building
  • Don't spend too long on one prototype
  • Build with the user in mind
  • Identify the problem that prototypes are solving early.

5. Test

Put you prototypes in the hands of the users and listen. Show dont tell, ask users to compare your various options and make sure you communicate the problem you are trying to solve. THis process helps you learn even more about the users and enables you to refine your solutions in more meaningful ways.

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