Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Design Formula: The Promise and Myth of Design Thinking

Design = Start with the end in mind + Non-linear thinking +Outside-in view + Loosen-up

Design is a powerful myth which has arisen at the dawn of the digital era in which innovation, options, and people-centricity are the digital themes. Design Thinking is not just about wireframes and visual designs. It has a broader scope and you need to think about the brand, long-term business positioning, and rigorous user understanding. If there is any magic design formula, could that be: Design = Start with the end in mind + Non-linear thinking +Outside-in view + Loosen-up.




Strategic Thinking: The strategic objective of design thinking is to understand what your customers need and to help the business orient itself towards those needs in pursuit of its objectives. To put another way, more and more of work is less about design in its purity and more focused on holistic and strategic business initiatives. Thus, strategic thinking is an integral component of design thinking. Strategic thinking involves multiple thinking processes such as spatial thinking and visionary recognition, matrix thinking and interactive connectivity, information analysis and interpretation, as well as creativity to generate novel ideas. Good Strategic Thinking is temporal in nature, it looks beyond the immediate causal relationships to the more difficult second and third order effects of changes to enforce design principle and capture design patterns.

Non-linearity and iteration: Non-linear thinking is less constrictive, let the creative side of your mind run rampant because of its inherent lack of structure. Digital boundaries are not "sharp" lines; they are fluid to adapt to changes. Non-linear thinking is an “out of the box” thinking. But to dig deeper, non-linear thinking is an emerging type of systems thinking to understand the interconnectivity of things, and thus, have a better chance to figure out design patterns. Human thoughts are characterized by expansion in multiple directions, rather than in one direction, and based on the concept that there are multiple starting points from which one can apply logic to design or problem-solving. Thus, design in digital product development is a full lifecycle of research - define - design - prototype - iterate - test, with the characteristics of nonlinearity and iteration.

Outside-in view: The "methodologies" being put into the design thinking bucket are somewhat unique and previously outside of the business norm, but have the potential to reframe the problem which in itself is a pretty huge contribution. From a design perspective, you don't do certain things in a certain order; you just look at things from a non-business-standard point of view until the form emerges. The outside-in view stimulates design thinking and develops a highly innovative digital organization. To digitize businesses, it's important to leverage design thinking for improving business maturity from functioning to firm to delight. The strategic objective of design thinking is to understand what your customers need and to help the business orient itself towards those needs in pursuit of its objectives.


Loosen-up: Traditionally, business people equal creativity with chaos and overlook the potential for solving problems the way designers work - starting with little certainty and heading for the unknown. Loosen-up is important to help connecting dots and spark creativity. Design thinking is a practice; it takes a fairly uncommon interdisciplinary personality type to be interested in this approach. Fundamentally, design thinking is the problem-solving scenario which evolves a lot of ground, irrespective of different professional domains. In fact, design thinking is a collection of methodologies. Rather than focus on one method or practice, as a team with broad expertise across a range of disciplines, there are choices of design tools or methods appropriate for managing business initiatives. Usually, customizing tools and methods for the challenge will always yield a more desirable outcome.

The design does need more recognition as thinking and problem-solving process, even a strategic differentiator. Digital leaders with design thinking mindset can leverage strategic thinking (starting with the end in mind) and nonlinear logic, apply outside-in customers’ lens and loosen up the process to run business in a more creative way.

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