Design thinking is a simple concept at its core; it is essentially using creative, innovative, human-centered techniques to solve problems and create solutions. The idea behind design thinking is that when you first and foremost seek to understand the user, problems can be assessed and addressed in a different manner than if the user were not taken into consideration. An individual focused on design thinking would reflect on a situation using the three design thinking pillars: empathy, ideation, and experimentation.  Design thinking is not only a state of mind; it also encourages collaboration across teams and includes a structure for assessing problems.

History of Design Thinking

The principles associated with design thinking were first suggested by Herbert A. Simon in his 1969 article, The Sciences of Artificial, where Simon describes a variety of concepts revolving around learning sciences and artificial intelligence. One such concept described within the book was design thinking, where Simon explained that the concept of design means “changing existing circumstances into preferred ones.”

Over the years, several variants of the design thinking process have emerged; however, they all include the key concepts laid out by Simon: empathize, define, ideate, prototype, and test. These steps don’t necessarily have to be sequential, and many times a step will occur more than once or in parallel with another step. The key takeaway here is that the design thinking process needs to include these steps at some point, but the exact order is left up to the individual. This speaks to the flexible and non-linear nature of design thinking.

Importance of Design Thinking Today

Now more than ever, organizations and individuals are focused on using human-centered techniques to create innovative and collaborative solutions. Design thinking provides a structure for how to do this: ensure the people are put first when solving a problem and find a solution that is the result of an iterative and creative problem-solving process. There are many benefits that result from design thinking, such as the following:

  • The needs and mindsets of people who will be using the product or service are accounted for during creation, not after the fact
  • Teams that are often siloed can collaborate and share ideas, which leads to more innovative and well-rounded solutions
  • New solutions and opportunities appear as a result of low-fidelity experiments during the design thinking process
How Sense Corp Uses Design Thinking

The Sense Corp experience design methodology, shown below, is similar in nature to the design thinking steps described above. Both processes start out with an exercise in empathy and listening to the people who will be impacted by the solution. After that, the feedback is looked at in a logical manner, followed by the ideation stage. Near the end of the process, prototypes are created, validated/tested, and then implemented.

As with the design thinking process, the Sense Corp experience design methodology is not completely linear and encourages iteration of a process until the desired outcome is reached. The experience design methodology can be followed at the same time as the design thinking process; both are complementary to one another and the concept of design thinking is essential to experience design. Within the Sense Corp experience design methodology, the focus is given to empathy, ideation, and experimentation, following the core design thinking pillars and principles.

For more information about Experience Design, watch our webinar, Rise and Risks of Pseudo Design in Today’s Rapid App Development World. Our Sense Corp Experience Design Practice Lead will share real-life examples of the impact of pseudo design and provide tips and tools to prevent this from happening in your organization. 

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