Through years of learning from communication with different clients, having constant development and change, designers have set a new trend in problem-solving methodology. Designer's work demands that the ideas are always fresh, but also functional and practical, which is why there is a need for a learning mind, the kind that tests a product and then improves it.
Designers impact to problem-solving is a methodology which existed long before in science and IT sector, but it wasn't till designers age that it became popular in various other sectors, which explains the name "design thinking".
The main characteristic of this process is that it's looking at the possibility for solutions, and not the problems, as well that it's customer-oriented. In design thinking, people are what matters, which is why empathy plays a significant role while searching for solutions. There is always a question of "how does this person (target group) feel"?
The important tool to start design thinking is brainstorming. This is how a creative search for ideas start. Brainstorming is useful to explore various perspectives on looking at the task, which allows us many approaches to find the solution.
Design thinkers are especially good at solving problems which are difficult to define. A well-defined problem is a problem half-solved, and to understand some problems we need to dig deeper and look beyond the surface. Designers are also always ready to learn and they rely on the knowledge gathered from previous experiences. Sometimes all it takes to solve a problem efficiently is to consider patterns which solved similar problems before. What this means is that also you may use similarly structured problems from different sectors - you can apply a method from technology to resolve a challenge within the social sector.
Stages of problem-solving, designer-style, are: defining the problem; doing all the research regarding the problem; brainstorming ideas and choosing the focus; after which comes prototyping and then testing. The key to design thinking is that this is a repetitive process - after testing, we either leave the idea and move on to the next one or keep the idea and improve it further, after which we again create a prototype to test and so on, until we are satisfied with the solution.
This methodology introduced many useful tools for everyday work, such as creating prototypes, user profiles, mind mapping, storytelling and visual way of teaching and learning.
Design thinking, as a creative processing of challenges, relies on strategies which are useful for designers, but also IT, business and NGO sector.
Have you ever used design thinking while creating? What was the best part of it? How did it improve your creative process?
About the author
Nina Petrov is an activist, poet, performer and mathematician. She communicates with the world mostly through words, movement and equations, but sometimes also by speaking very loudly. The only truth she could say about herself is that she keeps changing every day, never stops learning and interacting with her surroundings.