In June 2008, the prestigious Harvard Business Review asked Tim Brown, CEO at IDEO, to write on his page about little known term “Design Thinking”. From this moment, the term has been given more importance and is now being used in the business world.
It’s definition uses the philosophy of a final product creation model based on the parameters used by designers on a day-to-day basis. However, is it possible to create a product like a designer? It looks that way.
In essence, Design Thinking focuses all of its attention on the design process, without having any ideas about the final result. This helps us reach an unexpected final product, using innovation, transforming the original idea quickly, cheaply and effectively.
For this, it’s vitally important the participation of a team with a multitude of disciplines. Only like this you can create different ideas and solutions leading to a surprising final product.
Do you want to know the process? Design Thinking can be explained using 5 simple steps:
1. Observe and define the user base
The first phase of Design Thinking consists of, getting closer the user whose problems we wish to solve with our product. We don’t know them or their characteristics and needs. We look to know our future clients and create empathy with them, as only this will allow us to access all the necessary data needed to proceed onto the next step.
Although it may seem obvious, we don’t just need to know what they say and do. We have to know what they think and feel, as we have to take account that our product isn’t just physical thing or an application; we want to create an experience.
2. Determine the company’s point of view
All the information gathered from the first phase needs to be processed in order to determine the company’s point of view on the user, their problem and context. Starting from this base, we look for a solution, although it may be an obvious one. Innovation isn’t about creating something new, however redefining something we already know, giving it a new spin.
3. Create various solutions
We now have a real user with a defined problem. It’s now time to propose a solution. Here, it’s of vital importance that the Design Thinking team is the most multidisciplinary team possible, as we are looking for an authentic brainstorm with many different ideas that will be eventually converted into a final idea.
This consists in building what many call the Minimum Viable Product (MVP) with the idea that team liked the most. A prototype can be made by informative elements, although it could also be a model, a 3D print or a “beta”. The important thing is that the basic and generic idea of our product follows the Lean premise: “quick failure, cheap failure”.
A prototype allows that user base can take a look at something close to the final product, so they can provide a real opinion.
5. Evaluate: the definitive test
The final phase in the process consists in asking the user for feedback on the final prototype. Surprisingly, in this phase we are still being informed on taste, needs claims made by the user in order to continue improving our MVP.
Actually, it’s preferable not to explain to the user anything about the prototype, only give them the opportunity to try it for themselves and see what they think and what they do with it.
We might find ourselves in a situation in which our future client isn’t satisfied with the product. In this case, we can show them other previously discarded prototypes or rethink the prototype with the received feedback and generate new ideas.