Design thinking has always been an approach tied to observation, analysis, research?—?all the things you need to do (as a designer) to solve a problem for your client. But how you process that information, learn from it, and apply it to your creative solution?—?that’s where the doing is. And that’s typically where your talent as a designer lies.
The challenge today is that many of the problems we’re trying to solve for have become complex, and the goals more and more foggy which naturally increases risks. So to set yourself up for success, you need to arm yourself with as much information as possible before you get into the actual designing.
And yes, this process helps uncover the problems and friction points of a process so that we can define design goals based on true insights and behavior. Finding that balance between how much planning and research is needed before you start actually designing?—?that’s the constant negotiation.
Design will save us all.
What’s been happening lately is that more industries (and consultancies) have started looking at adopting the formalized design process as the way to quickly answer the innovation challenges that continue to disrupt their businesses.
Losing something in the process.
One of the things that tends to happen when we optimize the process, is that by using research and data to make things more efficient and standardized, they become exactly that. Standard. Same. Simple. Boring.
Hold true to your love of design.
I still love the sound of pencil to paper, or marker to vellum. Even dry eraser to whiteboard can be ok. And my favorite part of the design process are the moments where you’re interpreting all of the inputs, observations, and committing those ideas to paper. Sometimes as words, sometimes as sketches, always as thoughts… and then throwing rocks at them. Challenging them, reassembling them up, refining, adjusting, refining again. I guess today we call that ‘iterating’.
Our business has always been a business of opinions; so you better have one, be willing to share it, and definitely be open to challenging it. Ultimately, challenging a solution is the only way to make it better. So if you have access to all the people in your “village” who’s opinions and constructive criticism can help strengthen your design, you’d be a fool not to use them.
Never stop looking for ways to make something better. Allow yourself to learn from everything around you. Give yourself time to reflect on your solutions. And for kris’sakes get off your computer and go outside.