The kind of thinking you need to do when you actually want to get something done.
The nuts and bolts: Design thinking is a problem-solving method that prioritizes the needs of the customer above all else. It is based on observing how people interact with their surroundings with empathy and using an iterative, hands-on approach to develop innovative solutions.
Design thinking is the result of a combination of processes and methods that all aim at one goal—rolling up your sleeves and doing stuff, in rapid iteration, until you’ve created something amazing. Sounds great, right? So why doesn’t everyone do it? Because they’re scared, and a little bit stuck.
People have been taught that they shouldn’t take a step forward until they’ve thought every last detail through—but waiting until you have all the t’s crossed the i’s dotted costs you valuable creative time—not to mention a big case of “analysis paralysis” where you’re so focused on getting things just right that all of your energy is expended on thinking and you have none left over for doing.
Prototyping and collaboration are two important elements to design thinking. Creating that first ‘thing’, whether it be a wireframe for a website or a sketch for a product logo, lets you immediately see if you’re on the right track, and often sparks varied and different ideas that may have remained buried under the surface of deep thought. Working together in a collaborative environment, where judgment is reserved, creates a situation where team members are encouraged (and expected) to think wildly. Remember to stress ‘no judgment right now’ the next time your team gets together to brainstorm solutions to a problem your business is having.
Challenge your company to try out the design thinking way of doing things. Most folks find it much less daunting to edit something than to create it—staring at that blank Word doc or Photoshop canvas can be overwhelming, indeed.
Design thinking takes away some of that fear by moving rapidly through iterations toward the finished product. It is different from critical thinking in that it embraces the concept that it’s better to try something and miss the mark than to think it to death and never get to square one. Or to get to square one so late in the game that it’s meaningless.
And the only way to get your design thinking on track is continually testing with an audience. Helio makes it easy with several test templates. But to get you going we recommend you learn all about your audience first!