What is Design Thinking? (in a short mindmap)

Currently there are several great academies and Universities around the world that have included courses on Design Thinking in their curricula, being the D-School at Stanford the leading pioneer. There are also many small and large enterprises and some well known software giants that are also starting to include Design Thinking as part of their Innovation Processes.

Design Thinking applied to business already started in the 1990´s but it is in the last few years that is becoming increasingly popular, and the results that companies are getting when applying their principles are quite amazing. Just as an example -and please LinkedIn correct me if I´m wrong- the Pulse news application, which was acquired by LinkedIn a few years back, came from a project that started out of a course on Design Thinking.

I wanted to be very brief and short in this post about what Design Thinking is and the tangent characteristics around it, I thought that a brief mindmap -figure below- might well serve the purpose.

In a brief synthesis from the above mindmap:

  1. Design Thinkingis a creative way of solving complex problems, finding new solutions, it´s a mindset and also a methodology.
  2. Attributes of Design Thinking: It´s human centered, empathetic (walk in your user´s shoes), emotional, limitless in exploration of the new
  3. Where can it be applied to:It´s applied to new product development, finding new technology solutions to old or new problems or challenges, business strategies, but it can be applied well to politics or even to daily life issues
  4. It fits wellin those situations where the solutions or the output of the problems are not clear
  5. Working patternsfor Design Thinking include team centered process, collaboration, non judgemental (“crazy” patterns might lead to other patters that lead to solutions), convergent and divergent thinking, intuitive, pattern recognition, an iterative process.
  6. Great skills for problem findersinclude questioning everything, observing, networking, associating and very importantly…. doing and experimenting
  7. Most commonly you will find 5 phases or Steps of the Design Thinking process (there are several variations and naming conventions): Empathize, Define, Ideate, Prototype and Test
  8. Methods and Toolsused for Design Thinking processes include but are not limited to: Research, Interviews, Customer journey maps, Personas, Mindmaps, Visual Scenarios, Whiteboarding, Prototyping, Experimenting, Profiling and several others.
  9. Finally, where is the value of applying Design Thinking?

Here is where resides the real reasons for its increasing popularity: the value resides not just in the fact that complex problems are solved in a creative way, but that it often uncovers unmet needs, and leads to…. -here the magical word-Innovation.

This is just a glimpse of what Design Thinking is. You can find tons of sites, books and information in the web about it. My personal recommendation is a book that I found particularly inspiring: Creative Confidence by Tom and David Kelley.
In one of my next posts, I will talk about why I think that Design Thinking and Cloud Computing are a match made in heaven!

Adopt a Cloud!

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