What are the key steps in designing anything and what is Design Thinking ?

Designing means making your environment inhabitable for the human you are. It means determining what you need and looking for resources, knowledge and partners who can help you. 

Of course, there are important needs and secondary needs. Your level of motivation will depend on that. That is where you will evaluate your insight. How urgent is it ? How timeless is it ? How much will it improve your life-quality if you do tackle it ? Will it be useful only to you or also to others ? How difficult and costly will it be to work on solving it ? Will it harm our environment ?

Once you decide this project is worthy of your time and energy, you will start asking yourself other questions to make optimal use of your resources. Did anyone else have a similar problem or purpose before you ? What did they do about it ? Or if they haven’t solved it yet, then why ? Is there an obstacle or warning you missed and should know about ? If others have tackled a similar but not identical issue, could you maybe exchange information or collaborate ?

Little by little, your research will start offering you hypothesis on why the problem still exists and what paths may lead to a satisfying and long lasting solution.

You may then break down those paths to explore into “blocks” of skills, knowledge and resources which can be useful in solving this puzzle, and look for collaborators who possess those.

For instance, if you are trying to improve the comfort in a library so your students will spend more time there, you may need to talk to those students to understand their experience (journey), their needs and interests, but also to an interior designer, to a sound designer, to an experience designer, to an ergonomy expert, etc…

You are the leader of the project but you don’t need to be all of the brains and hands. You can gather a complementary team and invite them to work together towards a SMART objective. You are responsible for making sure everyone can express themselves efficiently and that the resources are used optimally. Many methods of facilitation and sprint can help with that and also with kickstarting creativity (but you don’t absolutely have to have post-its or legos to do so. There are other options too. :)).

Finally design is a continuous game. As soon as solutions will start appearing, you will test them out through POCs (proofs of concept = the cheapest and quickest realization of an innovative idea). This way you will verify if you are on the right path or not before investing more resources in implementing the solution. 

These are the most obvious and efficient steps to take with any experience you will want to improve whether it is making a dog house for your pet, improving the relationships in your corporate team, organizing a wedding… Defining goals, exploring paths, looking for synergies, testing and improving until satisfaction.

These steps have been summed up and called Design Thinking by the founders of the company IDEO. Many organizations have understood the added value of respecting these steps, although each project is unique and may require more or less digging in these various steps. 

Image result for ideo design thinking steps

Design, just like coaching, is about asking yourself the right questions in the right order to make the best use of your time, energy, relationships and resources.

 

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Neṣem Ertan – Life coach and design facilitator 

Luxembourg – Paris – İstanbul

ertan.nesem@gmail.com

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

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