The Design Thinking Process
The 5 steps for problem-solving
Design Thinking is a 5-step process, one needs to take in order to get meaningful ideas. These ideas will help solve real problems within a specific group of people.
The process is taught in the largest design schools and businesses around the world. This process has brought many happy clients and helped organizers to solve problems with innovative new solutions.
Step 1: Empathize
The purpose of the first step is to engage in conversations that give you ideas on what people care about. We need sympathy for the situation. For example, if you want to help old people, you might find out that they want to keep the ability to walk around.
During the interview, they might share the different ways in which they can do that. Later in the interview, you will need to go more in-depth, find personal stories or situations where things became difficult. Ideally, you are repeating this process with several people with the same problem.
Step 2: Define the problem
By looking at the interview, you can understand the actual needs why people try to obtain certain activities. One of the ways to do this is to underline verbs or activities that people mentioned when they talk about their problems. Like going for a walk, meeting old friends for tea, or simply go grocery shopping in the supermarket.
You might find out that it's not about getting out, but about staying more in touch. After your analysis, draft the problem report: "Some elderly are afraid of loneliness and they want to stay connected."
Step 3: Ideation
Now focus on reporting the problem and come up with ideas that solve the problem.
The point is not getting a perfect idea, but it is best to come up with many ideas. Such as, featured virtual reality experiences, electronic hoverboards suitable for the elderly, or modified pushchairs. Whatever the case, draw your favorite ideas and show it to the people you're trying to help. This is useful in order to get their feedback.
Step 4: Prototype
Now, take a moment to reflect on what you have learned from your conversations about different ideas. Ask yourself, how does your idea fit in the context of people's actual lives. Your solution could be a mixture of a new idea, and what is actually used. Thereafter connect the dots and plot your final solution. Build your prototype that is good enough to be tested.
Step 5: Testing
Now test your prototype with real users. Do not defend your idea if people do not like it. The point is to find out what works and what doesn't, so any feedback is great!
It's important to go back to ideation or prototyping after testing. Apply the knowledge you got from the tests and repeat the process until you get a prototype that works and solves the real problem.
Always follow the 5 steps of design thinking
Whether it is a physical or digital product, it is valuable to follow those five steps to achieve great results. Especially repeating steps 3, 4, and 5 is important. That part of the process gives you a chance to apply as much feedback as possible!