WHaT is DesiGn THinKinG?
Although the term “design” is commonly associated with products’ quality and/or aesthetic appearance, the main goal of design as a discipline is
to promote well being in people’s lives. Nonetheless, it is the way that designers perceive things and act upon them that has attracted the attention of management, opening new paths to business innovation.
Designers look upon any experience that is harmful (whether emotionally, cognitively, or aesthetically), or otherwise disruptive of people’s well being is a problem (considering all aspects of life, such as work, leisure, relationships, culture, etc.). And so their main task is to identify problems and generate solutions for them.
The designer understands that problems affecting people’s well being are of many kinds, which makes it necessary to survey the individual’s culture, context, personal experience and life processes in order to attain a broader view, so as to better identify obstacles and create alternatives for getting around them. By taking the trouble to conduct a thorough survey, the designer can pinpoint the causes and consequences of difficulties and be more assertive in seeking solutions.
The designer knows that to identify the real problems and solve them most effectively, it is necessary to approach them from different perspectives and angles. Therefore it makes sense to favor collaborative efforts by multidisciplinary teams affording a diverse array of viewpoints, and a variety of interpretations on the subject at hand, which will yield innovative solutions.
He works in a multiphase and non-linear process known as fuzzy front end, allowing for constant interaction and learning. This forces the designer continuously to try new paths, opening him up to alternatives: errors
give rise to discovery, which helps to plot alternative courses and identify opportunities for innovation.
Moreover, as the name itself conveys, Design Thinking refers to how the designer thinks, drawing on a style of reasoning that is hardly conventional in the business world, known as abductive thinking. Abductive
thinking endeavors to formulate inquiries through the apprehension or comprehension of phenomena, that is to say, questions are posed to be answered using information gathered from observation of the context pervading the problem. In abductive reasoning, therefore, the solution does not derive from the problem: it patterns itself after the problem.
One cannot solve problems with the same kind of reasoning that created them: abducting and defying the conventions of business
is the foundation of Design Thinking. It is by reasoning abductively that designers constantly challenge their standards, making and unmaking conjectures and transforming them into opportunities
for innovation. It is the designer’s ability to extricate herself from Cartesian logical thinking that allows her to remain “outside the box.”