What is Design Thinking?
Leaving the technicalities of the process aside, Design Thinking is simply a problem-solving approach to challenges which may seem impossible to crack.
For entrepreneurs much like any other professional, problems arise without prior warning. Challenges sometimes may drown the entrepreneur to the pits, from where finding a way back seems humanly impossible.
To put it more comprehensively, problems are like bugs in an entrepreneur’s life. In the beginning, we pick and throw them away without any hesitation, but as they multiply and grow bigger, they are like parasites that eat us and kill our enthusiasm. During such situations, Design Thinking acts as a perspective change, where a hurdle is looked at as simply a problem which can be solved much like a maze puzzle i.e., by understanding the problem, innovatively arriving at solutions taking more and more actions to observe what fits best.
Design will have greatest impact when it’s taken out of hands of designer’s to the hands of everyone. – Tim Brown
Principles of Design Thinking
The first principle of Design Thinking is empathy. Empathy demands immersive thinking – putting oneself in the shoes of the people facing a particular problem. Empathy is like a 20 feet tall diving board. The first step to climbing the ladder is to comprehensively delve into all aspects that affect the subject of study. To put it simply, in order to empathise with a cake, one needs to understand all qualities of the cake, when it was made, where it is placed, who was it made by, what is it made of and such other seemingly irrelevant information. Thus, by immersing yourself completely it is possible to define your problem in the most detailed manner possible.
Once you begin thinking like the panic monster was sitting on your head, you will need to ideate and think innovatively to piss that monster off. Because it’s your own life on the line here and nobody else’s, this is why you will need to give it your best shot. You will then not make a choice out of already existing solutions to your current problem, but instead will CREATE solutions that never existed before. It does not stop there, because one solution may or may not always work. If you look at a challenge like it was a maze puzzle you will need to take three to four different routes to arrive at your end goal. Be mad and let that energy flow like it was the last problem you were ever solving!
Learning by building is a mantra for Design Thinking. Planning and execution may theoretically seem to be two sides of a coin, but when it comes to practical application, the Jenga tower may come crashing down if you blindly follow the manual book. Once you prototype your idea it’ll help mitigate practical glitches that may arise in the process of building.
By testing your idea under extreme conditions, you will never stop improvising. In fact, it’ll motivate you and make you feel like a scientist who observes and reworks on ideas, is unafraid of failure and is curious enough to begin again!
Design Thinking has been used by major personalities and innovators in the past. It was perhaps easier then because firm constructs about particular subjects were not set as they are today. Design does not exist in isolation to other subjects like math or science; whereas in reality, understanding one subject lends to the understanding of another.
Hope this gave you a peek into how design thinking can be used in everyday life. Be it an acquisition or an investment venture, any small or big problem can be solved by looking at it through the lenses of Design Thinking. And trust me, you will only believe in magic when you truly experience it.