Contrary to the traditional way of thinking about a design/concept in terms of its shape or layout, the scientific method of design thinking involves a methodical approach that is centred on the thinking abilities of human mind in resolving problems that occur in various aspects of life. When scientific and engineered approaches towards problem solving address the problem/task through a technical point of view, design thinking enables the adoption of user needs and requirements and also user-oriented developments.
The concept of design thinking was created by David Kelley, Stanford Professor and the founder of IDEO, a famous design agency in Silicon Valley. He was strongly influenced by Terry Winograd and Larry Leifer, professors at the same university.
The design thinking process requires that there is continuous flow of information between the developer/designer of a solution and the end-user through feedback systems. The developers also known as design ‘thinkers’ think alike the targeted users by observing their behaviours and not just stopping at interviewing them during reception of feedback. This helps in arriving at a concrete solution that is informed/presented to the users as ‘prototypes’ much earlier and the potential users then test the designs and offer feedback even before the completion or the launch of the design that is in consideration. This process enables both the parties to arrive at practical results.
An effective and innovative-based problem solving technique must consist of three important components:
- Technical feasibility
- Economic viability
- Human desirability
The problems are tackled from a human perspective in design thinking and the emphasis is on creating innovative and desirable products, services or experiences that imbibe all the three above mentioned qualities.
There are five stages to a design thinking process that the participants of the experience would undergo where they are taken through iterative loops; this process is based on the intuitive workflow process of a designer.
These five stages are – Understand, Observe, Define, Ideation and Prototype. Let us now traverse through these stages to comprehend the design thinking process in a much better and simplified way.
- Understand – The space for the problem is set in this phase so as to better realize the requirements of the problem.
- Observation – The participating team receives an outward view of the problem and thus form empathy for the target users and also stakeholders.
- Defining the point of view – The information gained thus far from the previous two stages is assimilated and summarised in order to rephrase the problem/challenge.
- Ideation – Various probabilities for the solution is generated in this stage, thereby narrowing them down to the most optimum solution.
- Prototyping – In the last stage, the forum is opened for the development of concrete solutions which will then be used for testing on the appropriate target group. Design