Lecture 2 (design thinking)

IS6117 Ebusiness Development
Lecture 3: Design Thinking for Radical
Rob Gleasure
[email protected]
Today’s lecture
 Reminder
 Design Thinking
 The emergence of design thinking
 The core concepts
 Empathising
 Defining
 Ideating
 Prototyping
 Testing
 Exercise
The emergence of design thinking
The origins of design thinking are generally associated with Rolf
Faste in Stanford and David Kelley in Ideo
It grew from growing realisation in the 1970s onwards that design
problems are not like the ‘solvable’ and quasi-mathematical
problems in the natural sciences
Design thinking is now one of the leading business concepts in a
range of industries
The core concepts of design thinking
Design problems are ‘wicked’
 Not bounded – limitless number of variables
 No stopping rule – they are never completed and each problem is
in some way(s) unique
 Solutions are not correct/incorrect – some are better/some are
At its core, design thinking is about understanding users’ needs
 The better defined a problem, the better it can be solved
The core concepts of design thinking
Design thinking is as much a mindset, central to which is
 Human-centrism
 Empathy/contact with users
 Open-mindedness
Design thinking also emphasises the diversity of teams
 A good designer is ‘T-shaped’
 Duplicate expertise is not so much valued
The design thinking process
The design thinking process basically involves five steps
Note: this is not a ‘waterfall’ model – this is an iterative and parallel
Image from http://joeyaquino.wordpress.com/2012/05/23/want-a-crashcourse-in-stanfords-design-thinking-here-it-is-for-free-pt-1-empathy/
In order to empathise, we need to understand our users
 We need to research our market
Some of this can be done through web research, e.g. scaling the
problem, gaining a foothold understanding of how users operate
However the real empathising starts in the context of ongoing
dialogue with potential users
 ‘Why-bombing’
The ideal outcomes from this stage are surprises
This leaves us with two key dimensions
Here you are
trying to figure
out the right
questions – use
and ‘why’
bombing New
Detailed view of
Birds’ eye view of
Here you are
assuming you
know the right
questions to
These are complimentary (most projects will include them all)
List pain points, i.e. things that users complain about
List workarounds and awkward behaviours
Formalise these into a problem statement.
 This statement should:
 Make it clear whom the user is
 Aggregate smaller concerns into one larger issue
 This statement should NOT:
 Narrow the problem down in a way that lends itself towards
specific solutions
This stage is where your opportunity to flex your creative muscles
comes in
Quantity is your friend! If you are struggling to come up with 20-30
ideas, then your problem statement was too restrictive
Abandon judgement – no idea is a bad idea as long as it fits with the
needs identified in your problem statement
Visualise things! Get a pen and paper out (or whatever medium you
find comfortable) and draw pictures, bubble-diagrams, etc.
 You can be surprised what jumps out when you can see what
you’re thinking
Prototypes consist of anything from paper based representations to
fully functional websites
It allows three things
 You can figure out if and how your idea can be implemented
 It gives you a way of discussing things with users in a shared
language, i.e. “is this what you meant?”
 Ideas can be tested with users
Types of Prototyping
 Low-Fidelity Prototyping
 High-Fidelity Prototyping
Testing serves two purposes
 To evaluate ideas
 To generate new ideas from users
With this in mind, a few tips:
 Test with users that are representative and appropriately critical
 Try to minimise users’ nerves/sense that they are being observed
 Prioritise key tasks (you can’t test everything)
 Present your task instructions in as natural a way as possible
(but take care not to prompt people with these instructions)
 If users can’t do something, remind them it’s not their fault and
that this is valuable to you
 Other than that, stay quiet!
Example 1: An MRI for Children
Designers at GE had designed a MRI machine for internally
scanning patients for tissue damage, tumours, etc.
Some of these machines were for paediatrics wards (children)
Children found the machines terrifying, yet the scan only works if
you hold completely still inside them
 Up to 80% of children had to be sedated
The designers adopted a design thinking approach to try and
understand the children’s journey, their feelings, and how they were
building negative feelings
 Huge drop in sedation, huge increase in satisfaction
Example 1: An MRI for Children
Images from http://blog2.architech.ca/h/i/124542383-ge-transforms-mri-experience-with-design-thinking
Example 2: Radically Low-Cost
Image from http://leadershiplearning.org/blog/natalia-castaneda/2010-11-30/learning-and-having-fun-design-thinking
Exercise: The Wallet Project
This is a minor amendment of an exercise developed by Stanford
University as part of their design curriculum
The idea is to get you used to the process of design thinking
Some suitably nondescript music at
1. Go! (3 minutes)
Design the ideal wallet/purse
This can include material changes, the addition of hardware or
software – whatever you like
2 Interview (2x4 minutes)
Form groups of two (these will be your groups throughout the
One of you should take 4 minutes to ask your partner to describe
their wallet/purse, what they use it for, the sorts of things they carry,
what they like/don’t like about it.
Take notes as you interview them
After 4 minutes, switch roles so the second person asks the first
about their chosen module
2 Dig Deeper (2x4 minutes)
Again taking turns, you should take another 4 minutes to explore
some of your partner’s answers. Ask ‘why’ and really search for
Again, take notes as you interview them, particularly of things that
surprised you
After 4 minutes, switch roles
3 Capture Findings (3 minutes)
On your own, take 4 minutes to jot down
Your partner’s needs from their wallet – these should be verbs
Any insights you learned about your partner (how they feel about
their wallet, their worldview, etc.)
 In particular, try and make note of areas where his/her needs
differ from yours, as well as where they are the same.
4 Define a Problem Statement (4
Once more on your own, take 4 minutes to create a really rich
problem statement for your partner
 Remember, this should be juicy enough to afford multiple
different approaches
It should take the rough form
My partner _______partner’s name________
needs a way to ___ partner’s need from their wallet____________.
Unexpectedly, in his/her world,
5 Capture Findings (8 minutes)
Again on your own, take 8 minutes to come up with 3-5 radical ideas
that could meet your partner’s needs
Don’t get hung up on whether they are practical, nor how they
could actually be put together – the goal here is to come up with
as many interesting and creative ideas as you can
Draw these ideas where possible, use words sparingly
6 Share ideas and Capture Feedback
(2x4 minutes)
One of you should take 4 minutes to talk your partner through your
Ask them what they like/don’t like but remember
 The best outcome is new ideas!
Avoid defending ideas, other than to clarify what it is your partner
doesn’t like
After 4 minutes, switch roles
7 Reflect and Create a New Solution
(4 minutes)
This may be a refinement of a previous idea or something
completely new
It’s completely ok (good, even) if you need to change your problem
statement as part of this re-design
Try and create some drawing that will really make it clear what you
are thinking about creating
8 Discuss New Solution (2x3
One of you show your partner your new solution
Again, remember – the point is not to confirm your design, it’s to
foster discussion and create new insights
After 3 minutes, switch roles
Want to read more?
Links and references
 For general discussions of design thinking
 Brown, T. 2008. Design Thinking, Harvard Business Review
(86:6), pages 84-92.
 Buchanan, R. 1992. Wicked problems in design thinking.
Design issues (8:2), pages 5-21.
 Design thinking and innovation at Apple, HBR case study
 For an in-depth discussion of the philosophy of design (this one
isn’t for the faint hearted)
 Simon, H. A. 1996. The sciences of the artificial, MIT press,
Cambridge, Massachusetts.