Tuesday, November 01, 2011

The Four Phases of Design Thinking

Harvard Business Review blog by Warren Berger 29 July 2011

A good designer has the ability to bring original ideas into the world. They seem to share the same behaviours:

1. Question - Designers ask, and raise, a lot of questions including "stupid questions" that challenge the existing realities and assumptions. Asking "why" can make the questioner seem naïve while putting others on the defensive but it does require people to question and rethink basic fundamentals.

2. Care - Step out of the corporate bubble and actually immerse yourself in the daily lives of people you're trying to serve. Really observing and paying close attention to people. "Focus groups and questionnaires don't cut it."

3. Connect - Taking existing elements or ideas and mashing them together in fresh new ways. You don't necessarily have to invent from scratch but designers know that you must "think laterally" to connect ideas that might not seem to go together.

4. Commit - It's one thing to dream up original ideas. But designers quickly take those ideas beyond the realm of imagination by giving form to them. There is a risk that committing too early increases the possibility of short-term failure but "designers tend to be much more comfortable with this risk than most of us." Innovation is an iterative process and small failures are actually useful because they show the designer what works and what needs fixing.

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