Understanding the Design Thinking Process
A design is a sketch or blueprint for the construction of some object or system, or even for the successful implementation of such a sketch or blueprint or the end result of it in the form of some finished product, or the resultant design. The verb to design thus indicates the act of creating a design, which may be used as a guide for constructing, and even as a model for testing the working of some machine, apparatus, or program. Designing is also used in science to mean the production of a model from adequate data. Thus the scientist who models the properties of nature by means of his telescope is called a designer. In computer software engineering, the term design is used to mean the procedure of designing a working model or implementation (a working example) from adequate data.
Designing a problem or creating solutions to problems does not appear to be a logical way of proceeding from theory to practice. That is the reason why most architects, engineers and technicians believe in proceeding from theory to reality. They believe that in order to understand how a product is made, or how one method of designing will lead to another, we must first apply a scientific methodology of inquiry, or, more correctly, of experimentation. From the point of view of a practitioner of design thinking, the work process cannot be reduced to the designing part but must be seen as a process of generating or creating multiple types of objects and solutions to specific problems.
Designing, according to many practitioners of design thinking, is a human-centered activity. In other words, it involves identifying and describing a problem, working through the identified problem, and then selecting the appropriate solution. A typical design process starts with a simple problem statement or problem definition and then proceeding to the analysis of the existing inputs and knowledge about the problem, to build a reasonable solution plan, and finally to the design itself. There are many design processes that involve defining a problem, organizing relevant information and knowledge, developing design plans, testing the design to verify effectiveness and efficiency, and finally building or constructing the object or its functional equivalent.
DESIGN Thinking has been widely adopted by many individuals and organizations, because it effectively captures the analytical process that occurs during the designing and prototyping stages of any significant project. Unlike the traditional design process, which assumes that ideas are available in nature, designers instead look for potential solutions in a particular domain or real-world context, making a case for the existence of a problem, finding an appropriate solution, and ultimately communicating this solution to a larger audience. The resulting designs can also be applied in many other domains, sometimes with surprising results. Design thinking has opened up many doors for technological entrepreneurs, increasing the quality of products and services, reducing the cost and energy required for research and development, and increasing overall productivity.
Because of its inherent flexibility and its ability to rapidly change as circumstances change, Design Thinking is becoming an increasingly important tool for incorporating creative thinking into technology-related domains. In the area of software design, for instance, designers are discovering that it’s possible to think outside the box and build products that solve problems in a completely new way. Some software designers have taken the challenge of “designing” beyond the traditional constraints of a software programmer and designer by creating new concepts and technologies that push the limits of traditional design. The result is that these products often represent new, unheard-of opportunities for software developers and designers. This ability to think outside the box has resulted in breakthroughs in many areas of software design and business, opening up doors and opportunities for further growth.
Outside of the realm of software design, the Design Thinking methodology can also be applied to issues that face businesses and organizations. In areas such as public relations, where the design thinking process is often used as a tool for managing change, the methodology can lead to positive change and growth. In businesses and organizations, the ability to think creatively and productively can help leaders take crucial steps towards addressing some of the most pressing challenges of modern society. If you’re looking to apply a Design Thinking methodology to your organization, contact a consulting firm today.