Design Thinking Essay Example

  • Category: Design,
  • Words: 688 Pages: 3
  • Published: 30 March 2021
  • Copied: 143

According to The Interaction Design Foundation, design thinking is defined as, “a non-linear, iterative process that teams use to understand users, challenge assumptions, redefine problems and create innovative solutions to prototype and test” (Dam). The design thinking process is based upon five stages. These stages are empathy, define, ideate, experimentation, and testing. The first stage empathy is when one gets an empathetic viewpoint of the situation. “Empathy allows design thinkers to set aside their own assumptions about the world in order to gain insight into users and their needs" (Dam). The second stage define allows one to identify and define the problem in a situation. “The define stage will help the designers in your team gather great ideas to establish features, functions, and any other elements that will allow them to solve the problems or, at the very least, allow users to resolve issues themselves with the minimum of difficulty” (Dam). The third stage ideate is when one actually begins brainstorming ideas to help a situation. “Ideation phase to help you investigate and test your ideas so you can find the best way to either solve a problem or provide the elements required to circumvent it” (Dam).  The fourth stage experimentation is when one begins testing prototypes. “By the end of this stage, the design team will have a better idea of the constraints inherent to the product and the problems that are present and have a clearer view of how real users would behave, think, and feel when interacting with the end product” (Dam). The final stage testing is when one begins testing the results found in the prototype stage. “The results generated during the testing phase are often used to redefine one or more problems and inform the understanding of the users, the conditions of use, how people think, behave, and feel, and to empathize (Dam)”. Tim Brown, who is the CEO of the "innovation and design" firm IDEO goes into further detail on the design thinking process. How design thinking is not only utilized by just designers but can be used to help one understand problems and develop solutions.

During a TED talk appearance, Tim Brown discusses the use of design thinking in complicated situations. He talks about various of projects he was involved in that started out promising but ended up not doing well. Brown begins talking about The Great Western Railway that runs through Oxford. The railway itself was constructed by the engineer Isambard Brunel in the nineteenth century. Brunel had built a design that seemed impossible to build at the time, but he insisted on building it. Brown had credited Brunel as one of the first to utilize the design thinking process. After providing this example, Brown had said, “Instead of thinking about what to build, building in order to think” (“Tim Brown: Designers - think big!”). He talks about how the world before the Industrial Revolution thought systematically. During the Industrial Revolution, anything designed was quite extravagant and big. Now, one tends to focus more on the appearance than the deeper meaning behind the design. Brown says, “So when we talk about design today, and particularly when we read about it in the popular press, we're often talking about products like these. Amusing? Yes. Desirable? Maybe. Important? Not so very” (“Tim Brown: Designers - think big!”). When it comes to design thinking one can have prototypes and alternatives. In fact, it is important to have prototypes and alternatives to help solve a problem. Brown goes into detail about working with the Acumen Fund. This project specifically used design thinking to help others get clean water to poor areas in India. Brown and his team worked together with other groups of designers to think of alternative ways to provide clean water. By the end of this presentation, Brown makes it known that he believes design thinking can make a difference and make a bigger impact. 

In conclusion, design thinking is not just utilized by designers but can be used to help one understand problems and develop solutions. The design thinking process is based upon five stages. These stages being empathy, define, ideate, experimentation, and testing. Tim Brown, who is the CEO of the "innovation and design" firm IDEO went into further detail on the design thinking process during a TED talk appearance. He talked about his own experiences as a designer and provided examples that utilized this process. Ultimately, design thinking can be used for anything and for everyone, not just designers.


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