Over the last few days, we have gone through the basics of DT. Today, for the final installment of our course, we will do a review of what we learned.
First, we met our mascot, the blowfish, as a way to visualize the dynamic mindset needed for successful DT. Design Thinkers are called to alternate between a pliant, open-minded state and a prickly, more critical state. Being aware of which mindset is most appropriate to which stage of the DT process helps you better align with your team.
To make sense of what we learned in contextual inquiry, we made use of techniques like paraphrasing to validate what we heard and asking probing questions to learn more.
Based on the stories and information that we gathered in contextual inquiry, we created a creative brief, which summarizes insights about our user’s needs and poses a How Might We (HMW) question to kick off ideation.
We borrowed the “Yes, and” mindset from improvisational theater to help our design team generate many design concepts in a short period of time. Once we had a long list of ideas, we combined similar ideas together and identified criteria such as feasibility and likeability to help narrow it down to a shortlist of ideas to prototype.
We used inexpensive craft materials to prototype our short list of design concepts in order to bring them to life and to get feedback from users about them. We then organized user feedback into what works, what needs work, and any questions and ideas they might have about the prototype.
Finally, while we presented DT in this course as a linear progression of steps; in practice, DT is iterative, which means that you will go through the steps of DT multiple times in the process of innovating a new product or service. Once you get a hang of the DT method and process, you will find yourself jumping between different phases and mindsets throughout the course of a project. This messiness is a natural part of the design process. Learn to embrace it and be comfortable with the uncertainty.
In some ways, the design process never ends. Most products and services can be tweaked with and improved upon over time. For an innovation team practicing DT, you will have to decide when it is time to move from prototyping and testing to full implementation, deployment, and scaling your new product or service in the marketplace. That part of the journey is outside the scope of this course and will depend on your particular context.
As a parting thought, remember that DT is meant to be a shared vocabulary and common method to bring together professionals and experts from diverse disciplines to innovate together. It is just a starting point, not an end in itself, and it is certainly not a magic bullet to solve all business challenges and problems.
If we can leave you with just two key takeaways from this course, it would be the following:
• Design Thinking starts with empathy as a key to understanding user needs.
• Maintain a dynamic mindset to maximize your creative potential. Defer judgment so unconventional ideas can blossom into potentially transformative innovations.
Congratulation on completing the course! And good luck with creation and innovation!
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