What is Design Thinking?
From my own learning, I have come to understand that:
Design Thinking is, in essence, creatively solving a problem.
And this is not an ‘over-simplification’. Surely, Design Thinking differs from (rather ‘builds on’) the classical problem solving, in a way we shall shortly see. However, an easy handle is to look at it as Creative Problem Solving!
The Design Thinking methodology is used in the field of Design by designers, architects, and decorators. It is now being increasingly used in other fields to resolve issues – such as new user experience for an online store or in designing of customer loyalty program or even to diagnose a social challenge of arresting growing junk food consumption among urban kids.
Probing a little deeper – One comes from a variety of Design Thinking approaches! Just try to look around online…(hard to tell, nowadays, if information overload is serving clarity or confusion). To keep things simple, I have attached a commonly used model.
Design Thinking Model (This has 8 Steps): Just a quick trip of 8 titles could do.
Now let’s see the Classical Problem Solving model, as we all know…
Classical Problem Solving Model:
- Understand the root cause
- List Potential Solution Options (Alternatives)
- Evaluate and Finalize the best option
and now putting together the 2 models in a single frame…
What is Common? :
- Design Thinking like Problem Solving is a methodology to move from ‘Things as they are’ to ‘Things as they ought to be’. Or in the way consultants speak, to move from ‘As-Is‘ situation to ‘To-Be‘ scenario.
- Again, Design thinking also relies on combination of analytical (Convergent) and creative (Divergent) thinking
What is different or new? (Rather, how Design Thinking takes problem-solving to next level)
- Design Thinking is not linear in approach. There is nothing strict or rigid about Sequence of steps to be followed. You could jump across or give & take inputs across different steps – from ‘Idea generation’ you could go back to ‘Discovery‘ phase to validate understanding of the problem or the business scenario. So the approach is kind of Spiral than Linear as you can see in the Model 1 Picture.
- Design Thinking puts equal emphasis on showing ideas light of the day. It is about going ahead with execution and quick prototyping rather than being a prisoner of over-analysis. The Classical Problem-solving process is perceived to be more ‘cerebral’ – a thinking activity that exclusively takes place inside the head- and so typically disconnected from the action taking place on the business floor.
Design Thinking suggests putting promising ideas into working items as quickly as possible. And this emphasis on prototyping means an increased involvement of people (users/customers/employees) across the process. People’s involvement is a crucial aspect, not only to finalise a best-fit solution but more importantly, to pinpoint accurately a root cause or business challenge in the first place!
So, you see, it is not just thinking, it is
Thinking – Executing – Improvising!