What is Design Thinking?
Herbert Simon, in the “Sciences of the Artificial” (MIT Press, 1969) has defined “design” as the “transformation of existing conditions into preferred ones” (p. 55). Design thinking is, then, always linked to an improved future. Unlike critical thinking, which is a process of analysis and is associated with the ‘breaking down’ of ideas, design thinking is a creative process based around the ‘building up’ of ideas. There are no judgments in design thinking. This eliminates the fear of failure and encourages maximum input and participation. Wild ideas are welcome, since these often lead to the most creative solutions. Everyone is a designer, and design thinking is a way to apply design methodologies to any of life’s situations.
Simon goes on to describe a seven step process: Define, Research, Ideate, Prototype, Choose, Implement, Learn.
Whether the protocol is outlined in a seven, four or even three stage process, see – shape – build, it all comes from the same place a proven method that always delivers. And it doesn’t matter what opportunity or problem is put into the front end of the process.
The end result of this simple yet highly effective protocol can be a better mousetrap, symphony, or dry cleaning service. Implied in design thinking is an objective view and a warm embrace of risk and new ideas.
Design thinking describes a repeatable process employing unique and creative techniques which yield guaranteed results — usually results that exceed initial expectations. Extraordinary results that leapfrog the expected. This is why it is such an attractive, dynamic and important methodology for businesses to embrace today.
Design Thinking attempts to inspire the essential element of creativity, the ability to take an abstract idea and create something with it. It’s based upon the fundamental belief that an unexecuted idea, one that is never realized, is a worthless proposition and that doing is equally as valuable as thinking.
A big part of the Design Thinking concept involves empathy for those you are designing for. It’s often manifested through a series of activities, which attempt to create an experience of what or how your idea will ultimately be consumed. During the d.school bootcamp, this was done through a series of role-playing exercises where we played out different characters developed through joint brainstorming sessions. These role-playing games allowed for a rapid ideation (idea generation) with the ability to visualize and adapt the results in near real-time.
At UBQT, we are into Design Thinking. And Thinking Design to benefit people. In everything.