Design Thinking – My Thoughts

Design Thinking

I thought I wanted to make the blog a bit more interesting. Apart from my #364daysproject – having a variety of topic in this blog will also make the my life little bit more interesting. There is no particular niche that I thought about this blog, but more to put in my ramblings throughout my journey through life. I have started this blog more than 10 years ago, and I will continue to write as I see please. Over the years it has morph into multiple niche, but it has never and never will be focus in a particular topic.

In the past week, I have been asked to attend a training about design thinking, and I thought it will be good for me to share my thoughts on design thinking, and also provide my version of design thinking. I know design thinking is a big topic, I have seen so many videos on this but what version it will be in my opinion is really depending on what people practice it to their own comfort.

The definition of design thinking is pretty broad. Some people say it is The journey of devising course of actions to find UNUSUAL solutions to USUAL problems. The thing about the methodology that is available out there, it is very mechanical and robotic in which the outcomes will be more methodology centric rather than focusing on the problem itself.

PRINCIPLE NUMBER #1 – DESIGN THINKING IS HUMAN CENTRIC

Even on the problem itself, it will need to be human centric. The problems are typically resulted from humans, as such the solution to these problem will need to be focused on humans. In many cases – I observe problems are solve to address system or technology concerns. But do we even realise that the end product of problems are typically affecting humans. So why do we focus our solutions on technology, systems or process versus focusing on the human themselves? Something points to ponder I guess.

Design thinking is about creating a process in which we deep dive into the human mind and explore possible solutions that will address the human’s problem. Once the human is happy, no matter what technology or process we put in – the objective is considered successful. Humans are not easy to please!!

PRINCIPLE NUMBER #2 – IT IS AN ITERATIVE PROCESS

The thing about human, they are zig-zaggers. Ask them today, they may give a different answer tomorrow. In fact with so many distractions out there, our minds are typically moved to other point of views. Therefore – the thoughts that we put out are actually snapshot at any point of time. In many instances, when we complaint or put up a status update, it is a snapshot at a particular point of time. But I would think that if given additional variable – the human mind will have a different view of the snapshot. In most cases, the differences are minimal but as the sum of all parts, the differences might even move from left to right, north to south and right to wrong! So what does this tell us?

We need to be undergo an iterative process in which we make sure that the average of our snapshots are taken into considerations. Some snapshots may lead to a bigger sway to an opposite end of the thinking, but as we repeat the process, the average will be moved to a point in which it covers the bigger aspect of the problems.

PRINCIPLE NUMBER #3 – CREATIVE AND PLAYFUL

The thing about traditional methodology is that it is all about having the tick boxes. Tick boxes are great for compliance, but does it even address the potential of our brain capacity? In my experience – NO. Compliance is great for a straight on transactional thinking but when it comes to a digital age in which there are so many variables and distractions out there, we would need to be more CREATIVE. As what I mentioned above, design thinking is about finding unusual solution. The funny part is that the unusual solution might not be the most complex approach, but the most effective approach to address the humans. Its funny to see how the typical organisation will try to figure out in the most complex way to solve the most complex problems. Sometimes it takes that extra steps to an existing process to solve the world greatest problem!

Now – how do we get people to start be more expressive? How do we get people discover their inner self? How to push people to the corner in which they will then start to bring up that idea that’s stuck inside the deep neural network of their brain? Well – I guess to be more playful… run things more creative… run things differently. Doing things usual things unusual – and make it fun usually will drive people to think differently, uncovering the unexposed sides of their thinking. Be it drawing challenge, be it singing – it does not matter. It is all about discovering the unused brain capacity that we never know we had. For me – I tend to be a bit more creative in the things that I do, when I see diagrams and boxes, I see things differently and start to do things in an alternative way. It has helped me to come out with ideas that other may not have thought about, but the question remains does it work if I am the only one who comes out with idea? That leads us to the next principle…

PRINCIPLE NUMBER #4 – COLLABORATIVE

There’s a saying – two minds is better than one. In technical terms – by clustering multiple servers to process the same thing, we would be better to do things faster. In this analogy, if we have two different minds thinking about the same thing, we would be able to consider more points of reference to be able to come out with unusual problem. Design thinking is great as a brain exercise process, but without having multiple minds sitting together, it would not be as effective. In fact in many cases, collaboration across multiple personas also help to see things in a different light. I remember meeting a colleague of mine from London, he was an ex military intelligence officer. And another one was a political science graduates. Its not necessary that a solution be solved by a SME in a particular domain. Remember, sometimes the most complex solution can be solved with the most simple ideas. We always say that we need to think outside the box, but if our mind is already focused on a pre-conceived idea or solution, how exactly our going to solve world problem.

In my line of work, I have seen way too many workshops and discussion that comes with the preconceived perception. In fact, the discussions and conversations that happen are always about validating a particular preconceived hypothesis that was brought up by the most dominant person that is structuring the meeting or workshop. The whole idea of co-creation and collaboratively ideating just does not exists. And in many instances, people struggles to get people to agree on the things that they want to drive. And this is because of difference of opinions. Design thinking when is done in a collaborative manner – it becomes OUR idea rather than MY or YOUR idea. This concept is so powerful because accountability and support throughout the implementation of the initiatives will be top notch because its is OURS.

I do have more things in my mind that I want to highlight, but I guess let’s do it in a another day. It is fun indeed.

NOTE: THE OPINIONS EXPRESSED IN THIS ARTICLES ARE STRICTLY PERSONAL HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH THE WORK THAT I DO