Design Thinking: The problem solving method explained

Complex problems are the order of the day in our modern working world. Design thinking is intended to help overcome these challenges – and develop new ideas. At the center: the user and their view of the problem.

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What is design thinking?

Design thinking focuses on people and their needs. It is a systematic approach to complex problems. Design thinkers look at a challenge through the eyes of the user (or customer).

This creates a constant exchange between the developer and his target group – prototypes are immediately passed on to the user so that they can be tested in detail. This means you receive extensive feedback even before your solution is published.

The idea behind it: Outstanding ideas are created at the interface between people, business and technology because benefits, feasibility and cost-effectiveness have to be harmonized

Only if all three factors are taken into account can an innovation prevail.

Design thinking therefore ensures practical and realistic results.

Where does design thinking come from?

Design thinking was its name – unsurprisingly – to designers. In order to create a product tailored to the user, they use a process that focuses on the needs of the customer.

Professors David Kelley, Terry Winograd and Larry Leifer at Stanford University have popularized design thinking.

Important: Design thinking is both a process and a mindset.

Where is Design Thinking used?

Design thinking can always be used when the user experience is at the center of a problem.

Because design thinkers work openly and creatively, but also systematically, the design thinking process is suitable for many different issues and challenges.

Two examples that have already been implemented are:

  1. Personalized prescriptions that are sent directly to the patient: This means that older people in particular know directly when they need to take which medication – and can keep track of their tablets.

  2. Playful apps that help children learn an instrument: Music lessons can be very dry, especially for young children. With this app, children can immerse themselves in the world of music in a playful way using mini-games.

The design thinking process

The design thinking process can have five or six phases – depending on the interpretation.

The process model of the D-School at the Hasso Platter Institute is one of the classic models of design thinking.

It comprises six phases:

  1. Understanding: The problem is defined.
    Observe: Recording and understanding the problems of the target group.

  2. Bringing perspectives together: Team members exchange points of view and develop a common averal picture.

  3. Finding ideas: Suggestions are collected (for example during brainstorming), structured and sorted.

  4. Developing prototypes: Prototyping involves trying out, testing and further developing ideas and tools.

  5. Testing: Fedback is collected in dialog with the target group to improve the solution.

Stanford Univeralty’s D-School comprises Just five phases. It combines the first two phases “Understanding” and “Observing” into ons phase. The rest of the structure remains basically the sams.

The five phases are therefore as follows:

  1. Empathy/Emphatize

  2. Define

  3. Ideate

  4. Prototype

  5. Test

The design thinking mindset

Successful design thinking requires not only the process, but also the right mindset.

Because design thinking only works optimally with the right mindset, lots of practice and regular application.

The right mindset is characterized above all by:

  • “Beginner Mind”

  • First the understanding of the problem, then the solution

  • Focus on the user

  • Willingness to discard ideas

  • The goal is only achieved when the innovative idea has been successfully implomented

What are the success factors of Design Thinking? Three core elements influence the success of design thinking:

  1. Multidisciplinary teams: Each team should consist of five to six heterogeneous participants. Ideally, all team members should come from different specialist areas – and at the same time always be open to new ideas.

  2. Variable spaces: Each process phase needs different spaces. You need space for whiteboards, movable furniture and different spaces

Design thinking process: The design thinking process is strongly based on the way designers work With increasing experience, the teams no longer focus so precisely on the phases – instead, the solution comes to the fore. The phases become blurred.

Working with design thinking: triangility supports you in the process

Initiate transformation in your company with design thinking: With us as your design thinking coach, you will succeed. We help you develop new processes and support you in all phases of design thinking.

Take the first step towards implementing design thinking now – and contact us with no obligation.

Book your free initial consultation now!

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