Before we start to talk about design thinking it’s important to understand what design is. Design is not just about aesthetics, form, composition, ergonomics etc. it is about intention and realizing that intention. It’s about wanting to do something and then figuring out how to do it. It’s a huge word in itself. Many of the best examples of design are things people don’t think are designed at all. From the moment we wake up everything that fills our world has been designed in one way or another. Do we ever think about a pen until and unless we have held a badly designed one? All the disciplines from architecture to jewelry is informed and influenced by design. So what is design thinking?
Design thinking is a problem-solving mindset, In the case of design that means balancing human desirability, technological feasibility and economic viability. Design incorporates three main components – being user eccentric, collaborative and experimental. To achieve all the three, one has to encourage maximum participation during idealization, eliminate fear of failure and think out of the box.
Design process can have a major impact on culture of any startup in any sector. It can help entrepreneurs step out of the box and learn from failures early on in return saving time, money and effort. In a startup we all try to step out of our job descriptions and do a lot more to make an idea work. Following the design process helps everyone to have a similar foundation to understand his or her users. Who they are doing it for, why they are doing it and how they should do it to make maximum impact to the target audience.
There are some problems that are not solvable. You might not find a technology that’s going to solve a particular problem, but what you want to do is discover that quickly. So, the design thinking methodology doesn’t necessarily generate better ideas than competing methodologies. It’s just that this methodology allows you to test your ideas quickly to see which ones hold promise. Design thinking breaks your preconceptions of what a good solution would be and unleashing new undiscovered possibilities.
Design Thinking eliminates the risk of ultimate failure by encouraging failure. Sound counter-intuitive? The truth is, we learn far more from failure than we could ever learn without it. Design Thinking is systematically developed to encourage experimentation, coupled with prototyping and feedback, allowing you to fail and fail fast, leading you to recognize and eliminate the weak areas so that you can ultimately succeed.
Beginning with a thorough understanding of the people and problems you are developing for empowers you to create and solve on an entirely different plane. Now, you aren’t targeting faceless 35-year-old women, but Lisa, a 35-year-old professional, mother and wife, with real needs, challenges – and a real voice. Design Thinking is empathetic and personal in nature and doesn’t exist without people. Design thinking keeps you in tune with the real customer with real problems, empowering you to create real solutions.
A common concern in developing a new product or service is “Will there be a market?” Design Thinking involves the market from the get-go. In fact, before you even think about developing a product or service, you are spending time with the market, understanding their needs and the realities of their world. In essence, your market is working in tandem with you throughout the whole process – from zoning in on the real problem, to tweaking the solution throughout development. The problem of having a market isn’t a problem at all with design thinking. This is because design thinking begins with, and is rooted in, people.