Design Thinking

What is Design Thinking?

Design thinking is a non-linear, iterative process that teams use to understand users, challenge assumptions, redefine problems and create innovative solutions to prototype and test. Involving five phases – Empathize, Define, Ideate, Prototype and Test – it is most useful to tackle problems that are ill-defined or unknown.

An interesting paper by Tim Brown on Design Thinking was published in HBR June 2008. Brown describes it as follows:

Design thinking balances analytical thinking and intuitive thinking, enabling an organization to both exploit existing knowledge and create new knowledge.

What are benefits of design thinking?

  • Collaboration – good design is collaborative. It draws inspiration from everywhere and encourages the whole team to participate and givefeedback.
  • User focus – design thinking is focused on the end-user. Defining who’ll be using the solution is key to understanding exactly how to develop it.
  • Better solutions – Testing ideas by creating prototypes can lead to better ways of doing things and ultimately better solutions. It also prevents us  from investing a lot of time and money into solutions that ultimately won’t work.

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