Design Thinking

Facing a problem and finding a solution have never been new, neither would it become old at any time and thinking has always been the key to opening doors for solutions. Thinking is without boundaries or channel, but design thinking is with a mindset of solving problems that turn out to be creative because they are simple, indispensable and they solve the problem in such a way that it eventually makes people forget that such a problem once existed.

Design thinking was first coined, named or penned in the 1960s but that doesn’t mean that such thinking was not there before. Many entrepreneurs have emerged by solving problems but the greatest ones have had a design thinking approach to solving problems.

The steps of design thinking may vary with the type of problem but can be generalized in the following five simple steps:

  1. Empathize
  2. ​Define
  3. ​Ideate
  4. ​Prototype
  5. ​Test

This is the approach followed by most of us for solving our everyday problems, consciously or not, in a rather informal manner. Similar is the approach of design thinking. The first step- “Empathise” is the key to solving the problem creatively. “People ignore design that ignores people.”-Frank Chimero. “Getting into the shoes” of say, a customer in case of a business problem is the right way in solving a business problem. This helps to ascend to the next step, “Defining” the problem, realizing the pain points or origin of the problem. This then calls for “Ideating” which involves brainstorming solutions. In the third step, one must note that the brainstorming must be done without being judgemental, without worrying about‘what works’ so that the maximum ways of solving the problem can be dealt with. This finally helps us to develop “Prototype” to check the viability of the solution and finally, a series of tests will reveal ‘what works’.

The above systematic approach of design thinking has helped solve problems despite complexities. It has helped sculpt the best of products for customers, has also helped businesses redefine their products or services and has also lit sparks of ideas in the minds of people who have evolved as entrepreneurs by breathing the life to designs that are a result of such thinking. Businesses can save on marketing costs if the product is designed well as the best design will definitely sell.

Design thinking gets exciting when we look at examples of designs that have really done well. Steve Jobs has merely not said “Design is not how it looks, but it how it works” but has also lived by these words. It is evident from Apple devices’ designs, that no wonder look good, but also word well. Take for instance, the earphones that have been designed in a way that the speaker sits just before the earhole and shape that holds the earphone in the ear, without falling now and then. The wireless Apple Air Pods that came later, that just need to be hooked to the ear, with no fear of it falling down is not a bizarre idea after all.

Providing a simpler solution, amidst exciting ones that may not be appropriate could also be a result of design thinking. For instance, a fashion designer who empathizes decides to integrate convenience and comfort in attire and develops a design that works could become a disrupting design in the industry or in this case, a trend.

One can observe many more such examples, like the Ford Kuga, which is a marvelous design for its owner who has no hands free after shopping trips to open the car boot. The key-less technology has a two-sensor system that recognizes the movement of the shin and foot and opens the tailgate automatically with a kick under the rear bumper. Nike’s FlyEase shoes is also another brilliant design for athletes of all (special) abilities as it has a wrap-around zipper system to secure the shoe instead of the lace.

Design thinking is thus the key for not only finding solutions but making the existing ones more convenient and inherent. However, the designs have to be modified to make them relevant to contemporary times. It is worth the efforts for investing in the process it paves the way for the best and the most viable of solutions.

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