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What is design thinking?

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Image by Leah Blandford
Posted 31 Dec 2020 | Design

Design thinking is a bit of a misleading name, because it’s not just for designers. It’s for all who deem themselves a problem solver. Are you a product manager? A developer? An executive? A business stakeholder? [Insert job title here] you can be a design thinker! You just need to be empathetic, curious and reflective.

Design thinking is a repeatable process that can be applied to a variety of projects of varying scale and complexity. All in all, it is about knowing how to ask the right questions to gather insights that can help to build a successful solution.

Insights… But insights about what? PEOPLE. The goal of design thinking is to reframe the problem to be human-centric. By interviewing, observing and interacting with actual users, assumptions can be challenged and a new level of awareness can be achieved. This form of research removes the concern of designing a product for yourself vs the actual user it is meant for.

The process consists of a series of converging and diverging stages. Each member of the team can individually gather information to bring back to the group to synthesize. By having a diverse team completing these activities, the information gathered can be more thought-provoking and less likely to include a singular bias.

In summary, asking why and taking a design thinking approach can answer these 3 questions:

  • Audience: Who is experiencing this problem? Why?
  • Tech: What are the technical constraints?
  • Business: What goals do we want to accomplish?

These outcomes insure that whatever product you are developing is:

  • Human-centered
  • Outcomes-driven
  • Focus on quality
  • Innovation-oriented

There are a variety of design thinking methods out in the world. Here at Atomic Robot, we have developed and follow the 3:6 Model. Stay tuned to learn more about our specific approach.

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