Tag Archives: Design Thinking

On Being a Design Thinker – Part 3

The first two steps to the Design Thinking process that i elicited earlier can be summed up in one word: Empathize! When you define and try to understand the problem statement, you try to get into the mind of your customer – the one whose problem you intend to solve. Since I am trying to solve my own problem, it might seem that i do not have to do that much to really understand what my problem is – i already know. But this process helps one to step outside my shoes, see others who are going through similar problems and try understanding if the root cause of their problems are similar to ours. To be frank, one loves to solve others’ problems more than his own.

Point of Views

Now that you have empathized with my problem, i believe you would want to take the next step in the journey as well. This brings us to the next step, which is to create a Point of View. The first step towards creating the PoV is to create the persona. A persona is basic description of the customer. If you were to define your customer in a single line with as few attributes as possible, then that is your persona. This constraints us to identify what is most important for the customer in relation to the problem at hand and helps us zero in on the root cause as well. In my case, I am the customer and I will show you a persona of myself.

ImageNow we have a single liner about me that tells me who I am. It would help if you can draw the image yourself – would make the exercise more fun. In sticking to my lazy persona, i simply cartoonized myself using tools available online!

A Point of View you create should follow a template:PoV

The first one identifies the user/customer (me in this case), then goes on to identify the Needs that need to be solved (this would be something that has come up during the Define and Understand phase, and may or may not be something totally obvious). you then show why the need arose/must be met and this would be because of an insight you gained during the define and understand phase.

The Point of View in my case would go something like this:

Anantha Shankar needs to change the way he converts ideas to actions because his existing methods aren’t giving him enough dope to sustain the initial high.

This is the Point of View i would be using for the subsequent stages of the Design Thinking phase.

Ideate

Now is where i would be using all those post-it notes to jot down the ideas i have. Since i do not want to waste paper (and by extension, the post-it notes, I will use my personal Trello account as a whiteboard. So here are a few thoughts that had come up that seems to make sense. So here is a snapshot of the ideation stage. I will come back to this board and add more.

trello Design Thinking

I will explain steps Prototype and Test in the next post. Till then, have fun thinking 🙂

Advertisements

On Being a Design Thinker – Part 2

In the last post, we covered the bare basics of Design Thinking – the People and Spaces respectively. In this post, let us see the steps involved in Design Thinking.

Before i start, allow me to break both the basic rules of Design Thinking – People and Spaces. As far as people are concerned, it is going to be just ME. I am the team here. So do I have a T-Shaped personality? I guess not. My interests vary from Social media, General Trivia, Supply Chain, Sales, Marketing, Strategy, General Management, Entrepreneurship – everything except maybe HR and Finance. I am trying to develop my career in what seems to be a combination of Supply Chain Management and Business Development. So at present, I would describe myself as someone whose expertise fits this image
Career Graph

– not exactly the conventional T Shaped expert you would expect.

As for spaces, i am too lazy to invest in buying boards and Post-it notes So i have decided to use Trello, an organizer of sorts. You will see later how i have used them.

To start with, lets define a problem statement for myself:

“How do I make sure, that I see an idea to completion?”

The funda behind this is that I usually get quite a few good ideas, put pen to paper but do not see it to completion. I get distracted midway and the idea goes into cold storage. I plan to use Design Thinking to help me get over this problem. <Post writing this blog post, i intend to put the insights gained here to practice>

Design Thinking is a six step process: Steps in Design thinking

Understand:

In this stage, one understands the problem statements, does research about the problem at hand, speak to experts and get a thorough background knowledge of the problem. For the problem at hand, I do not have much research material.  I am not suffering from lack of motivation because of burn-out. Nor am i just giving up on things because i have tried my best. My problem was something more similar to what writers generally face – stopping midway after writing a few pages– but not exactly.  My problem can be defined as a mix of procrastination plus losing steam owing to laziness. A complicated, yet real world problem 😀 This post itself has been in the making since 13’th December, when the first installment came out.  I finally was able to crystallize this post on 25th December, but I have decided to split it into one more part, so as to enable myself to give a comfortable excuse.

Observe:

This is the observation phase in the Design Thinking process. You ask questions to people, observe the processes, make sense of what we see and empathize. For my problem, let me list my observations on what happens when  I try to do something and lose interest midway.

  • I usually get ideas and i want to jot them down but don’t
  • I have a laptop in front of me, but i spend more time reading than writing
  • Blame the Instant Gratification monkey
  • I might get to jotting down the ideas, but the gap between two subsequent sittings for the same idea is days apart
  • Some other idea captures the fancy of the Instant Gratification monkey and the rational decision maker, thus putting this one into the back-burner
  • I start working on office related stuff for longer hours than usual
  • The brain craves for entertainment – working on my ideas doesn’t sound entertaining enough

An important sub step in the Observe phase is to research. If you were an individual, i would give it a good few days and read voraciously on topics that can even laterally relate to this topic. For my current malady, i was struck by two seemingly unrelated videos:

and

This gave me an important insight, which is,  I need Dope. I mean Dopamine. Everything you love doing, stimulates this chemical in the brain. So i guess i will use this thought somehow when i go to the “Ideate” stage.

Another insight that hit me hard was about how a having a daily routine gives you inspiration. It improves your creativity.  That and the fact that I do not need 10,000 hours to actually become good at something. All these things didn’t exactly solve my problem, but gave me good understanding of the root cause behind my problem.

Does anyone else have a similar problem? Do you have any of your observations to add?

I shall continue the other stages in the next post.

On being a Design Thinker

Running out of Ideas? Is your creativity losing steam? Unable to come up with innovative solutions for a problem? Wannabe an entrepreneur but lacking a killer product idea?

Fear not ‘cos Design Thinking is here!

Chances are, you must have heard about this concept before! If not, let me walk you through with the basics of this concept.

Origins

Design thinking as a concept can trace its origins to Herbert Simon’s Sciences of the Artificial. It was adapted for business purposes at IDEO, a company that needs no introduction in the world of innovation. Today there is considerable interest in both academia and in industry revolving around Design thinking.

Design Thinking: Basics

Before we go into the Design thinking process, here are two basic things: People and spaces.

People: It is said that Design thinking works best when you have a team of people whose skillsets can be classified as ‘T’ shaped.  This enables people to bring in remarkable insights that one would not usually consider.

 

 Image

Spaces:

The working space is also pretty important. The space you operate in can either spur creativity or kill creativity. Many entrepreneurial companies are moving away from cubicle based seating arrangements to a more open space to change the way people work.

design thinking space from IDEO

Image

More on Design thinking concepts and application in the next post