5 Stages of Design Thinking
When a business adopts design thinking it becomes a design-centric organization that fosters a design-centric culture that follows and applies a set of principles collectively.
According to the Hasso-Plattner Institute of Design at Stanford, there are five stages of Design Thinking as show in the diagram below. It is important to understand that these stages are not linear. And design thinking is not a linear process.
“Both Tom and David Kelley have stated that Design Thinking begins with empathy. Designers should approach users with the goal of understanding their wants and needs, what might make their life easier and more enjoyable and how technology can be useful for them.” —Wikipedia
This stage focuses on users’ experiences, especially emotional ones. Empathy allows design thinkers to set aside his or her own assumptions about the world in order to gain understanding of users and their needs.
Put together information you have created and gathered during the empathize stage. Analyze observations and synthesize them in order to define the core problem. Come up with a problem statement expressed in terms of human need by making use of emotional language (words that concern desire, aspirations, engagement and experience).
Ideation is the generation of ideas using your understanding of:
- your users and their needs from the empathize stage
- analysis and synthesis of your observations to come up with a human-centered problem statement during define stage
During this stage you think outside the box. No idea is too outrageous. In fact, the solution may came from the most unlikely of ideas. It is important to come up with ideation techniques that will help you generate as many ideas as you possibly can.
The best ideas generated during ideation are turned into something concrete. Here designers create scaled down versions of the product, or features of the product.
“At the core of the implementation process is prototyping: turning ideas into actual products and services that are then tested, iterated, and refined. A prototype helps to gather feedback and improve the idea.” —Wikipedia
Prototypes are not final. They are supposed to be messy. They are not perfect. They are an exploration of an idea.
In short: get out, put the prototype in the users’ hands and get their feedback. What worked? What did not work? What was their emotional response to the prototype? How did they feel? How did they react? Observe their facial expressions? Listen to what they think works. Listen to what they say will make it better. Use the results generated in this phase to redefine one or more problems, to zero in on the problem areas like functional flaws that the users identified, and to gain a deeper understanding of the users. Alter and refine the prototype, rule out problems then go out and test it again.
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