Design Thinking

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Design Thinking

What is design thinking, and what does it have to do with culture, context, and British Railway? Learn more in this course.

Design Thinking course content

Step One: Empathise

This lesson will introduce you to the concept of Design thinking, and introduce the activities throughout this microlearning course.
Lesson Excerpts

Design Thinking is a new way of approaching design, and is also a great way to approach any problem, regardless of content.

Step One: Empathise

In this course, we'll learn about how the process works through some practical methods that you'll be able to take away and do yourself.

Step One: Empathise

By the end, you'll be able to call yourself a Design Thinker, even if you've never designed anything before. To begin, let's watch Tim Brown talk about the origins of Design Thinking in a TED Talk. Grab your headphones and press below...

Step One: Empathise

Video

On the next screen, tap through the steps to learn more about the process behind Design Thinking.

Step One: Empathise

In order to reach the balance between viability, desirability and feasibility, design thinkers have developed five key steps in the Design Thinking process. The first step is Empathise, which we will cover in this lesson. The next step is to Define the problem. The third step is to Ideate - generate ideas surrounding the final product. The fourth step is to Prototype - this could involve making an entire product or design, but could also be a 3D model or half-working product. The fifth step is to Test your final product with your stakeholders. Remember that these steps won't necessarily always go in order. It can be helpful to create multiple prototypes, to go back to step 1 for further clarification, or to have new ideas stemming from testing.

Empathy This stage is all about connecting with people and learning about their stories.

Observe Powerful insights can be drawn by observing people in the right context.

Step One: Empathise

Converse Ask probing, open-ended questions such as, "Why did you chose to do this task in this way?" but also let the conversation take its natural course.

Step One: Empathise

Watch and listen Visiting a person in their own environment can be powerful. Ask them to vocalise what they're thinking as they perform a task or interact with an object. The artefacts around them can serve as prompts for deeper conversations.

Step One: Empathise

Step Two: Define

Defining the challenge, based on what you found in your research
Lesson Excerpts

You've completed the Empathise stage. Now you're ready to progress to the next stage of the Design Thinking Process, Define.

Step Two: Define

The** Define** Stage is where you determine and specify the challenge you will address. This is based on what you have learned about your user and their context.

Step Two: Define

Your aim is to make sense of the information you have gathered, and bring clarity to your research.

Step Two: Define

Through synthesising information you can discover connections and patterns, and from there you can draw insights.

Step Two: Define

The goal is to then turn your conclusions into an actionable Problem Statement, also called your Point of View. This guiding statement focuses on the needs of the user.

Step Two: Define

Develop an understanding of the type of person you are designing for, that is, your USER.

Step Two: Define

Select a NEED or small set of needs you think are important to fulfil.

Step Two: Define

Work to find INSIGHTS What is the take away from your research? What patterns emerge? What interesting information did you find?

Step Two: Define

Write a Problem Statement to frame the problem and inspire your team. This is then used as a criteria for evaluating ideas and solutions.

Step Two: Define

Tips: Make your data visual Find linkages and patterns Highlight key concepts or questions Consider what stood out to you when talking to and observing people

Step Two: Define

Problem Statements Your Problem Statement also describes the right challenge to address, which you have determined based on your new research understandings. A more narrowly focused problem statement is stronger and will often lead to greater quantity of and higher quality solutions. Problem statements should also be human-centred and focus on the user.

Step Three: Ideate

Learn about the Ideation stage, and discover techniques for idea generation.
Lesson Excerpts

Ideation Now that you've identified your problem statement, it's time to start generating ideas.

In this stage, you'll need to think outside the box in order to truly solve your user's problems.

Step Three: Ideate

There are hundreds of idea generation tactics, but in this lesson, we'll explore a few examples to get you started.

Step Three: Ideate

We'll be using the same problem statement throughout this lesson. Consider it when completing the example exercises you're presented with. Your problem statement is: "We need to enable smartphones to be less intrusive in our day to day lives."

Step Three: Ideate

Using the acronym SCAMPER can be a good way to approach a problem statement. Let's see what each letter stands for... Substitute - Think of a part of your problem where you could substitute something and see if it results in improvements. Combine - Try combining several existing ideas or suggestions into one workable solution. Adapt - Maybe you already have a good idea that just needs to be adapted slightly. Modify - Modify a part of your idea or process to find new insights or see what can be accomplished. Put to another use - What else could this idea or concept be used for? Eliminate - What can you get rid of in your idea? Will this result in improvements? Reverse - What can be rearranged or swapped in your product? In your other ideas? Of course, not every part of SCAMPER can be applied to every problem statement. Use SCAMPER as a starting point to solving deeper issues.

Step Four: Prototype

In this stage, it's time to make a prototype of one or a few of your ideas.
Lesson Excerpts

The next step of the design process is Prototype. We prototype to answer fundamental questions about out products, and to gain quick feedback from users.

Step Four: Prototype

A prototype doesn't have to be fully functioning. It can be anything - as long as it can communicate your idea in a meaningful way that elicits questions and feedback.

Step Four: Prototype

There are three main types of prototypes that you'll learn about in this lesson. Sketching and Paper Prototyping Digital Prototyping Native Prototyping

Step Four: Prototype

Step Five: Test

Testing is a great way to solicit feedback, and is the final step in the Design Thinking process.
Lesson Excerpts

Testing This stage is a great opportunity to learn about both your solution and your user.

Testing should always be conducted in the correct context. When testing a solution, it should be used during a normal routine. Where this is not possible, role-playing can be used.

Step Five: Test

Test as if you know you're wrong - testing is a chance to refine your prototype, and make it even better.

Step Five: Test

Tips for Testing Show, Don't Tell Give your tester the prototype, and let them interpret it. It goes without saying that you can learn a lot from how they use and misuse the product. Wait for any questions they have, and what their feedback is, before explaining.

Step Five: Test

Create experiences Where possible, test your prototype in a way that feels more like an experience, rather than an explanation. For example, if your solution was a new type of toaster, you'd put your user in a kitchen, with a loaf of bread - as opposed to simply explaining they were in a kitchen.

Step Five: Test

Don't be afraid to compare Ask users to compare multiple prototypes - this gives users a basis for comparison, which often reveals previously unseen needs.

Step Five: Test

Although we express the five stages of the design thinking process as linear steps, they're actually more of a cycle.

Step Five: Test

For example, once you've completed testing, you might go back to the prototyping stage, or even back to step 1 - however, this time you'll be more informed about possible solutions.

Step Five: Test

Each time you iterate, you'll narrow your scope, and move from working in broad strokes to working in nuanced details.

Step Five: Test

Even then, this process is just a guide. There are truly infinite numbers of design processes - but the right process is the one that works for you and your team. The ultimate goal is to think with design thinking - which doesn't have a rulebook.

Step Five: Test

Design Thinking Course Author

Università di Firenze

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We need it in french version

A bit superficial

Not very cultural

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