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3 simple steps to Design Thinking

September 17, 2017

It’s simple to implement Design Thinking in your company or side project with these simple steps.

Understand, Envision, and Prototype and Test

What is Design Thinking?

In a nutshell, Design Thinking is about getting an understanding of people, the challenges they face, and the goals they are trying to achieve. So that you can end up with a solution that better meets their needs. Which creates users who are passionate about your product.

Understand

First off, you’re going to need to understand your users, their problems, their goals, and their needs. You can do this through either of the following:

Once you’ve got somewhat of an understanding of your users then you will be able to create Proto-Personas. These are a rough hypothesis of your users that isn’t based on rigorous research.

Envision

Once you’ve got an understanding of our users you can start to come up with solutions to their problem. You’re gonna do this by first brainstorming ideas and then evaluating them.

Coming up with that great idea

I find the best way to brainstorm is to make it fast, believe in the impossible, and keep it positive. My four rules for brainstorming are:

  1. Focus on one problem at a time and keep your persona in mind.
  2. Create as many ideas as possible in a short period of time.
  3. Never say never or no when in ideation mode.
  4. Try to add-on to other ideas.

When evaluating the ideas try to choose the one that best satisfies your persona’s goals. If you got a few ideas that do this then you can use the following as secondary criteria:

  • Does the idea excite you?
  • Does the idea match your business goals?
  • Is the idea feasible?

Based on the above you should be able to select an idea that you will bring to prototype phase.

Prototype

Now that you understand your users, their problems and their goals. You’ve brainstormed ideas, and you’ve chosen one that best solves your user’s problem.

But before you jump in and build that idea you’re going to want to validate it first. Prototyping your idea will help you do this and there are many reasons for creating a prototype:

  • Generally, it’s much faster and cheaper than developing the idea.
  • It shows you what works and doesn’t work with your solution.
  • It will help keep you away from the sunk cost fallacy.

You can prototype your solution using paper prototypes, interactive prototypes, and/or storyboards. Choosing one to use is up to you, but keep in mind that each method has its pros and cons.

Now that you’ve got a prototype ready, you’re gonna want to test it on some users to understand if it works. When you’re done testing, you’ll need to reflect on what you’ve learned. Some questions you’ll want to answer:

  • Did your solution have the affect you expected?
  • What would you change about your solution?
  • Should you continue with the solution?

From here you should be able to decide whether you want to pivot or preserve with your solution.

You may also learn something new that changes your understanding of the users and/or the problem. And this is good because:

  1. You haven’t sunken valuable time and resources into a solution that is useless.
  2. You’re gaining a greater understanding of your users and their problems.

Both will help you save time and resources on building the best solution.

Repeat

Now all you have to do is continue to practice Design Thinking. The more you do it, the more you will understand your users, and the better you become at solving their problems.

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