What is Design Thinking?
Design thinking is a non-linear, iterative process that teams use to understand users, challenge assumptions, redefine problems and create innovative solutions to prototype and test.
The world has become increasingly interconnected and complex since cognitive scientist and Nobel Prize laureate Herbert A.
Simon first mentioned design thinking in his 1969 book, The Sciences of the Artificial, and then contributed many ideas to its principles.
Professionals from a variety of fields, including architecture and engineering, subsequently advanced this highly creative process to address human needs in the modern age.
The Five Stages of Design Thinking
Stage 1: Empathize—Research Your Users’ Needs
Tou should gain an empathetic understanding of the problem you’re trying to solve, typically through user research. Empathy is crucial to a human-centered design process such as design thinking because it allows you to set aside your own assumptions about the world and gain real insight into users and their needs.
Stage 2: Define—State Your Users’ Needs and Problems
It’s time to accumulate the information gathered during the Empathize stage. You then analyze your observations and synthesize them to define the core problems you and your team have identified. These definitions are called problem statements. You can create personas to help keep your efforts human-centered before proceeding to ideation.
Stage 3: Ideate—Challenge Assumptions and Create Ideas
Now, you’re ready to generate ideas. The solid background of knowledge from the first two phases means you can start to “think outside the box”, look for alternative ways to view the problem and identify innovative solutions to the problem statement you’ve created. Brainstorming is particularly useful here..
Stage 4: Prototype—Start to Create Solutions
This is an experimental phase. The aim is to identify the best possible solution for each problem found. Your team should produce some inexpensive, scaled-down versions of the product (or specific features found within the product) to investigate the ideas you’ve generated. This could involve simply paper prototyping.
Stage 5: Test—Try Your Solutions Out
Evaluators rigorously test the prototypes. Although this is the final phase, design thinking is iterative: Teams often use the results to redefine one or more further problems. So, you can return to previous stages to make further iterations, alterations and refinements – to find or rule out alternative solutions.
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