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Design Thinking Made Easy for Creative Problem-Solving

By August 25, 2023 No Comments

Imagine this: you’re in the middle of a project, and bam! You hit a wall. We’ve all been there, right? But what if you found a secret weapon to help you navigate those creative roadblocks? Let’s explore design thinking as that weapon!

So, What’s Design Thinking Anyway?

Think of it as a mindset that’s all about being curious, empathetic, and open to trying new things. Developed by the folks at IDEO, it’s a method that helps us break down problems into bite-sized pieces and tackle them one by one.

Here’s how it works

  1. Empathize: Think about it, when you create, you’re either creating for appreciation, consumption, or use. So why not start from where it ends? Step into the shoes of your audience. It’s like a detective on a mission, but instead of clues, you’re hunting for insights into what people really need, not what you think is the problem. This comic isn’t 100% related to design thinking but it gives a clear picture of what empathy would sometimes look like when interacting with someone else. Try this out, before jumping to fix-mode, identify what the actual problem is. 
A comic showing empathy, a stage in design thinking

Supertato by Sue Hendra, Empathy Comic Strip


2. Define: After you’re done investigating, it’s time to sort things out. Define the problem like you’re explaining it to a friend. This is your North          Star that’ll guide you through the rest of the problem solving process.

Related reading: Fantasy as the Main Assistant of Creatives

  1. Ideate: This is where the magic happens! Round up your creative Toolkit, notepad or your trusty sketchbook, and brainstorm like there’s no tomorrow. Don’t hold back – even the craziest ideas might spark a genius solution. Just keep churning out those ideas. Research has in fact proven that for real change to happen more time must be spent doing than thinking. See the 80% – 20% rule.
    A chart of thinking to solve problems

    Source: Omar Itani blog

  2. Prototype: Time to get crafty. Take your top ideas and whip up prototypes – these could be anything from a sketch to a rough digital mockup. The point is to bring your ideas to life, even if they’re not perfect yet.

Related reading : How to build a Successful Brand from Scratch 

  1. Test: Here comes the fun part: sharing your prototypes/ideas  with your audience (friends, mentors, colleagues,  even strangers). They’ll give you feedback that’s worth its weight in gold. It’s like having your own focus group, but without the fancy suits.
  2. Iterate: Remember when you used to keep editing your school essays? Same vibe here. Use the feedback to tweak and refine your idea. Polish it like a gem until it shines.

Turning Theory into Creative Gold

So, how does this fancy Design Thinking stuff help your creative problems anyway? A lot, actually:

  • Empathy is Your Superpower: When you understand your audience’s needs, you’re unstoppable. Your solutions hit the mark because they’re designed with real people in mind.
  • Teamwork Makes the Dream Work: Sounds cliche but brainstorming with a team of creatives never grows stale. It always brings fresh perspectives to the table. Different minds mean more ideas, and more ideas mean a higher chance of striking gold.
  • Fail Fearlessly: Prototyping lets you experiment without the fear of failure. Remember, even when things don’t work perfectly, they’re stepping stones to something awesome.
  • Better, Not Just Flashier: Design Thinking isn’t about making things look good. It’s about making them work great. It’s like fixing a leaky faucet instead of just giving it a shiny coat of paint.
  • Hello, Endless Creativity!: The cycle of refining and improving is your creativity’s best buddy. Each cycle takes you closer to brilliance, and that’s what we’re all about.

Design Thinking on a tight Schedule

Lady with her chin on crossed arms, thinking

Photo by Maria Orlova from Pexels

Sure, Design Thinking isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution, and it has its challenges. Sometimes you’re working against the clock or the budget, totally understandable. But even a pinch of Design Thinking can give your problem-solving a turbo boost.

So if you’re working on a limited time schedule and you can’t go through the process step by step, keep this one principle in your mind, Design Thinking is about Radical Collaboration. So if you’re in haste but find yourself in a rut, don’t be scared to ask for help, brainstorm with someone else, it’ll make much more difference than you can imagine.

Remember, creativity doesn’t see problems as roadblocks – they’re detours to something amazing. Your next big idea might just be a brainstorm away! 

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