Design Thinking - everything you wanted to know and was too shy to ask...

So, you’ve probably heard this term a lot and may have wondered, “What is this Design Thinking thing that everyone’s talking about lately?”

Well, whether you have or haven’t heard this term, We are here with years of experience to present to you the Design Thinking methodology. We are here to:

  • Design, tailor and implement this methodology in you organization.

  • Mentor and coach key persons while adopting the methodology in your organization.

  • Facilitate Design Thinking workshops.

This is the time to learn how the Design Thinking methodology works, why it’s so efficient, and the steps taken to make it the most popular methodology today!

But before we jump in, let’s start with the basic theoretical explanation:

Design thinking is a method for practical, creative resolution of problems. It is a form of solution-focused thinking with the intent of producing a constructive future result.
Design thinking identifies and investigates both known and ambiguous aspects of the current situation in an effort to discover parameters and alternative solution sets which may lead to one or more satisfactory goals. Because design thinking is iterative, intermediate "solutions" are potential starting points of alternative paths, allowing for a redefinition of the initial problem, in a process of co-evolution of problem and solution.

Now, let me take you step-by-step through the Design Thinking process using a case which I’m sure everyone can feel connected to.

Let's assume your company is working on the next feature list for its consumer application.    

Building the next feature list  

Building the next feature list may be tricky.

You may ask your users for a "wish list" and they might give you a long list of features they would like, but then you can find yourself either:

  1. Tailoring your application to a subset of your users, while others may think otherwise

  2. You may choose the wrong features from this long long list because users usually say what bothers them right now (hot cases), or what made them or their bosses angry, and not what could bring the best ROI (return on investment). This may result in hard work for your development team, while the features ultimately released may be hardly used, or offer you the lowest revenue.  

  3. Getting a defined list of features from your users or from your product management team usually brings with it the implementation style and user experience, or at least gives hints that interlock development and design teams on specific solutions, without the freedom to innovate.

  4. Thinking of solutions before fully understanding the user, the environment, feelings and work processes (a.k.a. empathizing with the user), may result in bad user experience or solutions that do not solve the real problems, or partially solve the problems, both make the solution unusable for the user.    

Design Thinking to the rescue   

This is where the Design Thinking methodology comes in to solve these problems. How? I hereby offer you the skeleton process:

Empathize with your user

Duration: in a dedicated workshop.

  1. Identifying the users you would like to focus on for the next release.

  2. Imagine their environment, their daily work processes, and feelings/thoughts while working with your application/service.    

Identify the user journey & pain points

Duration: in a dedicated workshop & ongoing (with feedback for improvement)

1. Define the phases the user goes through while working with your application and focus on your desired flow.

2. Define what the user does, thinks and feels during each phase, trying to be as granular as possible. 3. Identify the pain points on the definitions from (2). Mark with red the pain points and with green the success points. 4. Draw an experience chart to identify the phases you need to focus on to solve the user’s pain points first.

5. Prioritize the pain points.

Find solutions for the prioritized pain points    

Duration: in a dedicated workshop & ongoing (with feedback for improvement)

1. Find solutions for the highest prioritized pain points.

2. Foster innovation by each one of the participants of the team, not only by the users or by the product management team. Everyone can innovate and bring value: testers, developers or any business persona.