The 5 Stages of Design Thinking
To really provide a solution, we must first identify the problem to solve and examine customers motivations aligned to strategic business goals. With this design thinking methodology, all team members from Product & UX to FED and Engineering are aligned to the core strategic goals, motivated by the same purpose. Design thinking helps re shape a problem and redefine the solution.
A key element of design thinking is how to reframe a problem and look at this with a different perspective. This generates an "outside in" approach with laser user focus and encourages collaborative, multi-disciplinary teamwork embracing these attitudes.
The concept of convergent styles of thinking allows us to be broad and then focused encouraging input and voice from all parties. Design thinking is a problem solving approach that solves these problems in a creative and innovative way – in our designs, in our businesses and in our lives.
1. Emphatic design
Emphatic design is a key part of the human centered design as empathy helps design thinkers set aside their assumptions about the world in order to gain insight into their users and their needs. Emphatic design is important as it has a focus on understanding a problem from a users point of view. This means the design has measurable purpose aligned to the end users goals and aspirations that in turn are aligned to business goals and needs.
Design Thinking, and in particular empathy, is about creating solutions that are sustainable and focussed on all pertinent areas that can affect us in the long term. It’s a problem solving approach that solves these problems in a creative and innovative way – in our designs, in our businesses, in our countries and in our lives.
2. Discover & Define
The Define stage will help the designers in your team gather great ideas to establish features, functions, and any other elements that will allow them to solve the problems or, at the very least, allow users to resolve issues themselves with the minimum of difficulty.
3. Ideate & Create
At this exciting stage, we can identify new solutions to known problems and embrace our problem statement from previous exercises. With such a solid background team members (all team members) can work together to ideate against user centric solutions. Ideation is an inclusive process and all members are encouraged to participate.
The right time to prototype is when you need validation and can iterate with intent. The design team are now empowered to create inexpensive solutions without the cost of time and development. These prototypes are scaled down versions of a products core features to provoke valuable feedback from real users. This is highly iterative and experimental allowing for the insights from the previous stages to be investigated in context. Solutions are evaluated on by one and either accepted or dropped in place of better ones.
Getting an experience in the user's hands early and often is an imperative. The creative vision and purpose align during this phase manifested into a variety of deliverables such as interactive prototypes.
5. Test & Validate
Results in this important stage are often used to redefine the solution and further optimize the best experience. Understanding how users think and feel coupled with what they desire is critical data.
The 5 Stage Design Thinking model may appear linear, but in practice is far more flexible than that. For example, testing may provide new insights that allow us to further ideate and prototype to better serve our customers.
A design systems helps to unify all members of a product team with a shared common design language. This methodology helps to accelerate the design process and remove engineering debt as there is a consistency that can be adopted through the entire collaboration set. A design system helps us to design at scale with empowerment tied to a single design language.
At its core, a design system is about collaboration and communication. This is not a single deliverable, but a collection of assets, styles and templates in a master online system that can be shared in real time across product and design teams. The ultimate goal is to create a common design language that can be represented across multiple teams and touch points.
A customer journey map is a detailed observation of how a customer engages with a brand over time. This creates a set of user goals aligned to validated personas. Along the customer journey map we are able to identify pain points and moments of delight aligned to what the user is thinking, feeling and doing at the time of engagement. This generates user empathy and allows us to visualize a journey through the eyes of a user. A journey map visualizes the process that a user goes through in order to complete a goal.
Scuba Dive Videos
I pretty much live in the water. As a Marine Mammal and Shark diver at the Shedd Aquarium, I am lucky enough to be on the dive team for aquarium conservation. As a certified Dive Master I spend my time exploring the majestic shipwrecks of Lake Michigan. Please see some video footage of these haunting wrecks.