Who is a Design Thinker?
Any person who practices design thinking methodology to plan and execute their work is a design thinker. A design thinker carries an empathetic outlook and a creative mindset which helps them complete their tasks in an orderly way, iterate it frequently to minimise errors.
But what is design thinking?
It is a mindset that follows a systematic and iterative, 5-step process that can lead to an effective development of products/ solutions. It places an emphasis on the customer in driving the value creation process.
Dеѕіgn Thinking methodology consists of a ѕеt of intuitive рrіnсірlеѕ and practices that leverage rapid рrоtоtуріng, соntіnuоuѕ tеѕtіng, and tоlеrаnсе for failure.
The most еѕѕеntіаl рrіnсірlе of the process is having empathy with uѕеrѕ rather than product vіѕіоn.
So, Dеѕіgn Thіnkеrѕ take great efforts in understanding the сuѕtоmеrѕ and their experiences bеfоrе deriving ѕоlutіоnѕ. Such a thorough understanding of customers іѕ what guіdеѕ the rest of the рrосеѕѕ.
Design thinkers often bring the customer’s point of view to the table and can greatly help in making better decisions about your product, business strategy and marketing.
Their user centric approach, multidisciplinary collaboration, prototyping and constant refinement makes them, and their ideas and designs stand out.
The design thinking methodology consists of these inter-dependant phases:
- Emраthіѕе wіth users
- Dеfіnе thе problem, define user nееdѕ
- Ideate to help сhаllеngе аѕѕumрtіоnѕ
- Tеѕt the ѕоlutіоns
The dіѕсоvеrу рhаѕе is critical in dеѕіgn thinking. Most of the work is focused on developing human-centred understanding of the problem before seeking the solution.
What is Design Thinking used for?
Design thinking can be applied to a variety of unique challenges across any industry. Here are a few examples :
- Business design – An agile way to remove risk by testing assumptions and concepts quickly
- Service and Experience design – Develop innovative models for new or improved ventures that create moments people will remember and brands they will have loyalty to
- Digital product design – The fastest way to launch concepts for interactive applications and learn from real user data, not guesswork
- Marketing strategy – Ensure concepts resonate with your potential audience and provide clear next steps for engagement
Why you need to be a Design Thinker?
The key today is to think like a designer in the way you lead, explore, create and innovate.
Individuals who adapt design thinking methodology in their work process, or in managing their daily life always have an edge over others as they try to understand any problem from a unique perspective and once, they completely analyse the problem, they try to find a solution.
Basically, a problem- focussed approached to derive solutions.
Hence, design thinking can be applied to one’s life just as it can be applied to goods and services.
Learning the skill of thinking with a design approach and adapting this mindset in daily life can also hugely impact and increase one’s efficiency as well as open a new door of opportunities.
Where can you learn Design Thinking?
If you want to gain knowledge and acquire the design thinking skills, there are a multitude of choices available. It depends on how much time and money you’re willing to spend.
Here’s a list of places to find courses in India as well as online options and books that be accessed from anywhere.
In-Person Options in India (you can keep checking these websites for on-going/upcoming courses)
- Design thinking Practitioners Workshop
- Design Thinking and Beyond
- Course by IIM, Bangalore
- Design and Innovation
Online/ Blended Learning Options:
- eCornell Design Thinking Certificate Program: A certificate course of 3-months.
- MIT Mastering Design Thinking through the Sloan Executive Education program: A certificate course of 3-months.
- MIT’s Mastering Innovation & Design Thinking, through their Professional Education department: get 2 continuing education units in 3 days
- IDEO U: Online design thinking sessions.
- Udemy: Cooper Crash Course: Design Thinking in 3 Steps
- d.school Virtual Crash Course in Design Thinking: A 101 intro to design thinking. Free of cost.
- Coursera: has a variety of options from different universities. (pricing variable or optional)
- +Acumen and IDEO Introduction to Human-Centered Design and Prototyping: A team-based course to understand the process together. Free of cost.
- Adobe Kickbox: a self-directed online program with all the tools you need to be guided as a designer.
Books to Read:
There is a plethora of books that are helpful to get started, here are a few you can start with:
- Achievement Habit
- Designing Your Life
- Design the Life You Love
- The Field Guide to Human-Centered Design
Websites and Online Resources:
But most importantly…you must practice!
Design thinking is easy to understand conceptually, but tricky to get the hang of it in practice. Just because you understand the general flow, outline, and key terms, doesn’t really mean you’ve mastered it.
You’ll know you’re a Design Thinker when you start to see design challenges everywhere, and you can teach it to others, model it in any circumstance, and explain why each part matters.