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Design Thinking Process

What is Design Thinking?

The Stanford Design School has defined the Design Thinking Process as 5 crucial steps of designing a product or service. These are:

  1. Empathize

  2. Define

  3. Ideate

  4. Prototype

  5. Test

‘Design-thinking’ is a user-centric approach to problem-solving and innovating. It encourages people to think like designers when it comes to being innovative or solving problems by empathizing with the user, and thinking about the problem from a user point of view. The Design Thinking Process is working through certain steps in order to come up with a testable prototype.

What is the Design-Thinking Process

1. Empathize

Empathizing entails trying to put yourself in the shoes of the user. To do this, you have to know the user for who you are trying to solve the problem. Design-thinking entails understanding the needs of the user so that you can make something that will cater for those needs. This requires empathy so that you know them and what they consider important.

To facilitate this process, you should try and engage with your user. Hold informal interviews so that you can gather their thoughts on certain issues they are having or what they think about a current product or service.

Summarize your research on paper. Gather together what you have learned so that you can process the information and discuss it with your fellow designers.

2. Define

This stage entails coming up with a problem statement. This is known as a point-of-view. A good point of view will outline the problem the user is having so that you can go away and design a product or service that you believe this problem for them. To do this, you need to use the insight that you now have and synthesize the information into one concise statement.

3. Ideate

This is the brainstorming part of the process. This is where you will come up with a lot of possible solutions to the problem that you have defined. You and your team should then select the ideas that you believe have the most potential.

4. Prototype

This is where you start building a potential product, even if you’re not 100% where you’re going with it. The idea is to build to think, generate conversation, test numerous possibilities, and to learn from mistakes quickly and cheaply. This is one of the main characteristics of a design-thinking process, where you jump right in without having thought about in detail or carefully the fully finished product. It is a way of giving you an idea of the potential of the finished product; what it could look like and if what you’re thinking is in fact, possible.

5. Test

As stated in the title, here is where you give users your prototype for them to test. Let them try it out despite it not being perfect yet. Use this stage to understand your user and their needs further. The aim is to have a deeper understanding and insight of how you’re going to solve their problem. You will use their feedback to either come up with a better solution, or to refine what you’ve already made. Bring multiple prototypes so that users can test them all and compare them to one another.

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