Design thinking: Everything you need to know

Design thinking might sound like an art school concept, but it is a business solution that has to take businesses like Airbnb to the next level. Typically, design thinking revolves around the perspective of problem-solving of the end-user. But how do you get to those solutions? Design thinking requires not only to think like an end-user but also how to find solutions for multiple possibilities which is why it makes a stellar tool for businesses.

The moment you have discovered the possible outcomes and defined solutions, it solves multiple avenues, and you deliver a successful product in the market. For gaining experience in design thinking you can specialise studying designing courses. The stages and phases of design thinking vary. However, the courses stick to the standard five-step procedure –

1) Empathy: The first step is to identify the problem. Under design thinking, you need to empathise through observation and engagement. By empathising with the issue, you gain an in-depth understanding of the motivation and users experiences. Those practicing design thinking should keep their personal biases aside for gaining knowledge on the consumers’ needs. You need to obtain substantial information for making this step a success.

2) Define: Once you have your insights in place, use them to define customers issues and decide which problem is of priority. Frame the problem such that it is user-centred. For instance, if you realise customers wait for hours in the line for booking airline tickets, your insight solution is – customers need a faster check-in process as opposed to making sure the line moves quickly. This way you look at the perspective from the consumer point of view.

3) Ideate: Once you have a problem statement in place, you need to come up with potential solutions. Ideating is crucial as designers come up with an optimal solution than using the first solution that comes in mind for solving the problem. This stage requires creativity and to come up with as many answers as possible. The characteristics of the ideation stage include –

• Generate as many broad ideas as possible without evaluating any
• When the team members look at the whiteboard, their brains are on fire, and they come up with several solutions. Documentation is also a part of memory
• It not only makes sure buy-in but also assures that your ideas are varied and drawn from different styles of thinking

Some tools and techniques used for ideation include mind-mapping, analogies, reverse thinking, brainstorming, and role-playing. Once you have thought through different ideas, narrow down on the preferred one.

4) Prototype: Prototype is where you turn ideas into tangible solutions and products. This stage includes experimentation, where the identified solution gets implemented, constraints are identified, and flaws get corrected. Based on how the prototype fares, the answer is improved upon, redesigned, accepted, or rejected.

5) Test: The last step of design thinking is testing the prototype to the end-user. Once you get the results of the test, you need to head to the previous level. This could carry on until the consumers accept the final solution.
This design thinking process has helped businesses scale to new heights. If you are an aspiring entrepreneur who completed studies in fashion management, or any other master’s course, could implement them in their start-up.

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