What is design thinking?

At its core, design thinking is problem-solving for humans. When different disciplines come together to collaborate, it’s easy to lose sight of the people: the reason you’re building that software or service in the first place.

Everyone brings their own expertise to the table and approaches things differently. The business side thinks about dollars and cents; marketing thinks about campaigns and execution; engineers think about technology. But the one thing everyone can come together and agree on is the humans that inspire the work. That’s why design thinking is so powerful. It provides a user-centric path that both non-designers and designers can follow.

Design thinking is a human-centered approach to innovation that draws from integrating the needs of people, technological capacities, and the requirements for business success.

A strong advocate for the overall process, INMEDIATUM has been using a design thinking framework based on Stanford d.school, also referred to as the Hasso Plattner Institute of Design. This framework consist of 5 steps:

1. Empathize. Build empathy for your users by learning their values.
2. Define. Unpack empathy findings into needs, insights, and scope.
3. Ideate. “Go wide” by generating radical design alternatives.
4. Prototype. Get your ideas out of your head and into the world.
5. Test. Gather feedback, refine solutions, and continue to learn about your users.

 

Why does design thinking matter?

Design thinking is a framework that helps the team push past normal business boundaries and think of unique ways to approach a problem.

It provides a platform for non-designers to hop on and understand the designer’s user-specific goals. In order to really understand why it’s so important, let’s look at it next to traditional business thinking.

Design thinking is solutions-focused and iterative, with a powerful component that involves observing people understand their habits. Business thinking is more definitive; it relies on equations for proof, and dissecting focus groups or surveys. Design thinking looks to understand the user, while the business side zeros in on the output of the user. Design thinking brings the focus back to what the user wants—so you and your team can actually improve their lives, not just the company’s bottom line (though those two often go hand-in-hand).

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