Design thinking in 10 minutes (or less)

Have you heard of design thinking? Maybe you want to try it but it seems complicated. The basics are actually very simple: 5 steps you can experiment with. The design game takes practice but anyone can learn the moves in ten minutes.


32st March 2018

by | Sep 18, 2018 | Design thinking

So how does design thinking work?

Design thinking is divided into 5 steps. Each step is iterative: the activity is carried out, then learned from, then carried out again. The step is finished when it’s finished.

Step 1: empathise

Work to observe the behaviours and actions associated with the product or service. Don’t try to understand them just yet and be very careful to avoid possible solutions no matter how obvious. Research in every way possible: analytics, interviews, workshops, statistics. Make as big a pile as you can. Always make sure you look at the behaviour before and after the service you’re designing. The behaviour before will often power the use of your service and the behaviour after will explain what it actually delivered.

Step 2: define

Now you can start to look for patterns and trends in the data. What are the sticking points? Where do people find problems? Did they stop or drop out? Why? Did the system do what it was supposed to do? How it deliver the value intended? When you’re ready, define the problems very clearly and agree them with your stakeholders. These are the problems you will solve.

Step 3: ideate

Now you can start to create solutions to the problems you defined. Think as wide as you can to start with. What could the solution possibly be? Web site? App? Paper form? Phone service? TV channel? Drop-in coffee shop? Mobile help stall? All ideas are allowed, nothing is off limits.

Step 4: prototype

Check your ideas against your defined problems and original research. Select a few which answer the problems best. Now very quickly build a working model of each solution. Keep the model as simple as you can – post-its and paper clips will do fine at first. Don’t get too detailed, just include the main functionality.

Step 5: test

Now it’s time to test your prototypes. You can do guerilla testing with your own people at first if you like, but the sooner you test with real end users, the sooner you’ll be able to find out which ones work the best. After testing, compare your results: which prototypes worked best and why? Now reduce the number of prototypes, incorporate the best ideas from the failures into the survivors and prototype again at slightly higher fidelity. Repeat this loop until you have a good working solution.

by | Sep 18, 2018 | Design thinking

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