“Don’t think of it as failure, think of it as designing experiments through which you’re going to learn.”
Design Thinking is an innovation project management method that uses collaborative design principles.
This method is inspired by the thinking and toolbox of designers to allow everyone to be creative and participate in innovation. It allows to solve all kinds of problems thanks to collective intelligence, even in fields traditionally far from design.
It’s simply a human-centered approach to innovation !
THE HISTORY OF DESIGN THINKING IN 5 DATES
In the 1950s, the American advertising executive Alex Osborn developed the technique of brainstorming (a technique that consists of bringing together a group of collaborators to collectively produce as many new ideas as possible on a given theme). He also made the corporate world aware of creative thinking and collaborative innovation.
In 1960, StandFord University created for the first time an interdepartmental program on Product Design. This training is centered on the human dimension.
In 1987, Peter Rowe published his book “Design Thinking” at MIT Press. Inspired by this book, a few years later, ABC News challenged IDEO to create a new shopping cart in 5 days. To create in 5 days a new supermarket shopping cart answering the following problems
- Cost of maintenance
- Shopping behavior
- Safety (especially for children)
Challenge, by the way, successfully completed!
During the 2000s, there was a proliferation of publications, conferences and courses on this subject.
Finally since 2012, 3 Design Thinking schools have been created (Paris, Tokyo, Beijing). This method is more and more appreciated in French companies.
WHAT ARE THE STAGES OF DESIGN THINKING?
THE 7 STEPS OF DESIGN THINKING ACCORDING TO ROLF FASTE
Rolf Faste was the director of the design product section at Stanford University. He was the first to define Design Thinking. For him, this creative approach has 7 main steps.
It is about identifying a problem and an issue that we want to solve through the methodology of Design Thinking.
This step allows to gather a team dedicated to the project with the necessary trades to solve the identified problem.
This step should bring together all the professionals involved and allow for the generation of new ideas.
The teams cross-reference the ideas found, refine them to start working on the first drafts. It is possible to send an outline to the client to ask for feedback.
The teams meet to make a choice and determine the most appropriate solution for the case.
The idea is to define objectives with an action plan and to determine the resources needed for the project.
The principle is to collect feedback from the customer and see if the proposed solution meets the objectives set during the implementation phase and to learn from the field.
THE 5 STEPS OF DESIGN THINKING ACCORDING TO JEREMY GUTSCHE
Then Jeremy Gutsche, an expert in managerial innovation, summarized Design Thinking in five major steps:
Explore all problem areas to find the problems encountered by the consumer.
This step allows us to imagine solutions through a brainstorming of innovative ideas.
It is all the innovative ideas received to structure them into a whole.
The creation of prototypes is to make drafts of products and/or services = to make a more or less functional model of our solution.
The idea is to test with the end user in order to improve the product by studying their reactions and usage behavior.
FINALLY, THE 5 MAIN STEPS OF DESIGN THINKING ACCORDING TO THE D-SCHOOL
The first phase is to put yourself in the shoes of the future user who will use your innovative solution.
In this phase, you need to collect information about :
- his way of life (do)
- his thoughts (think)
- his feelings (feel)
- his opinion (say)
Defining the problem is the surest way to create the best solution. The purpose of this step is to frame the need.
The primary objective of this phase is to generate all possible ideas to help solve the problems encountered. This is the stage where everything is allowed (or almost)! The craziest ideas can be approached while following a framework of benevolence of course!
This is the experimental phase of the project that will gradually come to life. For this stage, it is wise to take a developed idea and create a prototype to visualize it.
The last phase aims to test the project, to refine the proposed solutions thanks to the users’ feedback.
As we have just seen, whatever the number of steps, this method is not linear but cyclic. At any time, it may be necessary to return to the definition phase to define the problem more precisely, etc. This is what we call iteration!
If all these steps seem complicated to remember, just remember the three essential steps according to Tim Brown (CEO of IDEO):
The objective of this first step is to find the problem, to define the problem, in order to find a solution.
The second phase consists of developing different ideas around the problem. The objective is to find a conceptual answer.
Finally, the third phase of Tim Brown’s model is designed to put the project into practice.
TO KNOW MORE ?
In this video, Tim Brown (CEO IDEO), explains how learning by doing is at the heart of an innovation design method.
“Failure is an incredibly powerful tool for learning. Designing experiments, prototypes, interactions and testing them is at the heart of human-centered design. So it’s an understanding that not everyone is going to work. When we try to solve big problems, we are bound to fail. But if we adopt the right mindset, we will inevitably learn something from that failure.
Human-centered design starts with a lack of knowledge about the solution to a given problem. Only by listening, reflecting, building and refining our way to an answer do we get something that will work for the people we are trying to serve. Failure is an inherent part of the process because we will never get all the right answers on the first try. In fact, getting it right on the first try is not the goal at all. The goal is to produce something via a first step, then use it to keep learning, keep questioning, and keep testing. When human-centered designers arrive at a relevant answer, it’s because they got it wrong first!”
Tim Brown (CEO IDEO)