Design Thinking: A Method for Creative Problem Solving - IDEO U

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Design Thinking

Design thinking is a process for creative problem solving

 

Design thinking utilizes elements from the designer's toolkit like empathy and experimentation to arrive at innovative solutions. By using design thinking, you make decisions based on what future customers really want instead of relying only on historical data or making risky bets based on instinct instead of evidence.

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Why Design Thinking

“Design thinking is a human-centered approach to innovation that draws from the designer's toolkit to integrate the needs of people, the possibilities of technology, and the requirements for business success.”
— Tim Brown, CEO of IDEO

Thinking like a designer can transform the way organizations develop products, services, processes, and strategy. This approach, which IDEO calls design thinking, brings together what is desirable from a human point of view with what is technologically feasible and economically viable. It also allows people who aren't trained as designers to use creative tools to address a vast range of challenges.

INNOVATION
FEASIBILITY
What is functionally possible within the foreseeable future?
DESIRABILITY
What makes sense to people and for people?
VIABILITY
What is likely to become part of a sustainable business model?

Phases of Design Thinking

While we teach the phases of design thinking in a linear way, in practice it's an iterative approach that unfolds back and forth across phases. As IDEO founder David Kelley says, design thinking is not a linear path, it's a big mass of looping back to different places in the process.
Phases of Design Thinking
Phases of Design Thinking

FRAME A QUESTION

Identify a driving question that inspires others to search for creative solutions.

GATHER INSPIRATION

Inspire new thinking by discovering what people really need.

GENERATE IDEAS

Push past obvious solutions to get to breakthrough ideas.

MAKE IDEAS TANGIBLE

Build rough prototypes to learn how to make ideas better.

TEST TO LEARN

Refine ideas by gathering feedback and experimenting forward.

SHARE THE STORY

Craft a human story to inspire others toward action.

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