“Design thinking is not limited to a process. It’s an endless expanding imagination.” — Sandy Speicher, IDEO CEO
Why is design thinking still relevant in 2020? Almost every innovative company in the world uses some form of design thinking. So, it is important for a designer or a product manager or anyone interest in the topic to understand what it is. It is a philosophy and a set of tools to help one solve problems creatively. This is the first thing we need to understand. When a company is trying to create something new, it can use design thinking as it helps to get to a solution. There are many processes that can be used for problem solving but design specifically focuses on the human centered side of creative problem solving. It looks at all of creative problem solving through the human centered design lens. It is about empathizing and figuring out who you are designing for, what their needs are, and then, helping to solve that problem and innovate based on those needs.
There are five main steps to any design thinking process:
Empathize: This step is basically just about understanding the people we are trying to design the product or the service for. In this step, a lot of the time, it is about gathering information.
Define: In this step, we take everything we learn in empathize step and define, break down, and come to conclusion about what the users’ needs are. Also, the problems and the challenges.
Ideate: Here, we take everything that we learn in the previous steps and come up with solutions. We try to match our solutions with the insights figured in the empathize and define section.
Prototype: In this step, we take all the ideas and break it down and select a few that maybe worth making into something more realistic. Then, we turn these ideas into simple, testable prototypes.
Test: This is the final step. We take the prototypes that are based on ideas. These are tested on real people. They use the product and give their feedback in real time based on what they are using.