17 tips to improve the design thinking Skills in 2021(updated)

January 28, 2021

Athar Majeed

What is the Design Thinking (Definition)?

Design thinking solves our problems innovatively and creatively, whether these problems are related to businesses or our lives. It motivates organizations, which leads to better products, services, and internal processes, to focus on the people they create for.

The first inquiry should always be, what human need is behind you when you sit down to develop a solution to a commercial need?

Importance of Design Thinking

Its importance can be judged in this way that the world's leading brands, such as Samsung, Google, and Apple, have rapidly adopted the Design Thinking Approach.

Design thinking is highly effective when dealing with undefined or unknown challenges through re-framing the issue in a human-centered approach, developing numerous ideas for brainstorming, and taking a practical approach to prototyping and testing.

Why you should adopt a Creative design thinking approach?

The reason behind adopting the creative design thinking approach is that a good organization always looks for efficiency in the form of saved time, resources, or both. This need for efficiency is why the services of a designer are often required when developing a new product.

If you want to end up with a quality product without spending too much money and time developing it, designing can provide you with an alternative.

What is the intent of design thinking?

The design intent is a computer-assisted design process that identifies connections between subjects, such that changes to one spreads to others automatically.

Furthermore, make sure everything you learn in the future adds value to what you know and should not recap what you did not understand. Now, I do not mean that it is not good to revisit things. I'm only implying that you should maximize each learning experience.

Design thinking isn't a process but rather a mindset or set of ways of being.

How to apply design thinking in your organization?

Design thinking is a solution methodology that incorporates emotional, innovative, and analytical abilities. To put things in other words, you must use your resources and time economically.

It will help if you have quick ideas for design thinking, and you can get it by interviewing different persons related to the field.

Moreover, it will be best not to spend too much time on it because the market needs and customers' demands change over time.

Design Thinking Understanding the Process

This then allows you to understand and learn from them. Observation alone does not tell you everything. Engage people, and you will find deeper meanings to whatever you observed initially.

Read Also: How to Get Started with Designing for Inclusivity

Imagination in design thinking

Imagination in design thinking is a fundamental formative founding principle. the sentimental, intellectual, and experiential codes through which design communicates; behind imagination and aesthetics lies the concept of possible new uses.

Imagination is the bridge between knowledge and concept.

Likewise, Imagination works well by the challenge of working within limitations, making the complicated, simple, or simply wanting to make a better experience for the end-user.

Design thinking design process

Collaborate with your fellow designers wherever possible. More minds bear more ideas and better opportunities to achieve efficiency.

Invite someone to help you at the synthesis stage. Pick someone you trust but also who thinks a little differently from the way you do. Share with them the stories of the people you observed or interviewed.

Share interesting articles and anything of inspiration.

Why is design thinking useful?

It will result in effective and worth doing design thinking that will give the customers satisfaction by solving their problems.

In any complicated system, whether business, government or social organization, it is helpful to break down challenges.  Using a thought-out design process means that a firm is more likely to be distinctive, dynamic, and eventually humane

What is Design Thinking Process?

It is a non-linear approach, using teamwork to study people, think creatively, reinterpret challenges and develop new prototypes and test solutions.

It is most useful to deal with problems that are undefined or unknown, in five steps – Empathy, Defining, Ideating, Prototype, and Testing.

Design Thinking Based Approach

If you go to a customer for information but cannot provide it to you or is not interested, you can get help by thinking about the customers and market trends.

Design Thinking involves an understanding of the target users. It helps us develop empathy with the people we design the products or services for through careful observation. 

What is the Process of Design Thinking Based Approach ?

It starts with questions: what are the problem, the assumptions, and the implications. Design Thinking is beneficial in dealing with ill-defined or unknown issues.

It solves these problems by re-framing them, creating many ideas through brainstorming, prototyping, and testing through a hands-on approach.

Design Thinking is also based on ongoing experimentation: prototyping, sketching, testing, and trying out concepts and ideas.

Design thinking as a concept within a design is meant to achieve the most out of a designing experience using the shortest possible time and resources.

How to use and implement Design Thinking for Process Improvement?

Design thinking helps you to move forward with complex and challenging topics. If you do not know the customer's viewpoint on the subject or are vague, it is better to turn to design thinking because a challenge is good for the design thinking process. It provides more valuable information in case of a broader topic than a narrower topic.

This ensures that you can gauge your performance as per a reasonable source. When you are working on actual projects, make sure that you look into the customers' feedback. This will help to inform your ability to implement design thinking to address a challenge.

When would you not use design thinking?

Remember, all solutions do not work, and some fail, and you should be willing to accept the results, whatever they may be, to improve the situation.

Besides this, it is important not to design thinking on processes that are not open-ended. Further, Design Thinking is an exploratory strategy employed in the face of a complex challenge.

Additionally, the problem underlying the problem is not fully understood, and a convincing solution is not readily apparent. Usually, other people also test your ideas, and in this way, they validate them.

How can I Improve my Design Thinking skills?

Considering how efficient design thinking is, designers must know how to maximize the potential it holds. In this regard, there are various methods of improving an individual's ability to implement this strategy.

This allows by using skills in the field to develop a workable prototype without launching and building the complete product.

How design process works best?

Remember that the design process works best if the highest level of efficiency is reached. Therefore, never sacrifice efficiency for speed. That being said, always strive for both in all scenarios.

What are the five stages of Design Thinking Process?

Following cited briefly are the five stages of the design thinking process on which you need to focus. The following five stages of design thinking are crucial, and we need to ponder them carefully.

Stage one of the Design Thinking Process

Empathize and research your user's needs that are crucial to a human-centered design process.

Stage Second of Design Thinking Process

Define and state their problems.

Stage Three of Design Thinking Process.

Generate ideas based on the previous findings, and you can think out of the box for this purpose.

Stage Four of Design Thinking Process

Prototype and start creating solutions to the problems by producing inexpensive, scaled-down versions of the products.

Stage Five of Design Thinking Process

Try your solution and redefine further issues, if any.

Overall, it will help to understand that these steps are different modes that contribute to the entire design project rather than sequential steps.

Read Also: What are the 5 stages of the Design Thinking Process

How to do design thinking better?

However, being able to constantly achieve success, test yourself on your abilities as often as possible. Small projects here and there can go a long way toward sharpening your design thinking skills.

One key to a helpful practice is to have a growth mindset. It means that ability and skill come through doing the work, not through inborn talent. With this frame, failure becomes a way to learn, not proof of incompetency.


Design Thinking Growth Mindset Benefits

The growth mindset enables you to accomplish a complex task better than a fixed mindset based on prototypes. Moreover, with such a mindset, the task becomes more enjoyable.

How Develop a Growth Mindset Through Design Thinking

  • It all begins with research and exploration.

What other ways could you reframe the issue? What are your goals? Is it a matter of time, versatility, or accountability? How can you put your existing skills and expertise to use? What is the connection between this and strategic corporate goals? Who in your organization or the community can you partner with? What new horizons are you willing to venture into?

  • Ask yourself "How I/we might" questions

A technique to develop a growth mindset is to ask yourself "How I/we might" questions that will allow you to push past constraints. Adopting HMW focus is more likely to make you creative.

  • Create the simplest experiment possible to learn.

Begin with discussions and work your way up to actual testing. Moreover, engage in discussion with a qualified supervisor. Create the simplest trial possible to verify concepts and see if you're in the right direction. 
LIkewise maybe even an afternoon session or lunch and gain knowledge would be a good idea.

In addition to that, Consider taking on a small neighborhood initiative with continuous improvement that doesn't require major change.

How to Apply and Use design thinking Process?

The help needed here is to make sense of your research so far. If you don't invite someone to do this part, it might feel like a severe pit of an overthinker where you cannot direct yourself quickly.

Structure your time in short blocks and perhaps give yourself the false deadline of imagining you have to present all this to a client.

In reality, you're doing this project for your portfolio, so you may end up showing this work to someone.

What are the Steps to Improve Design Thinking Skills and process?

I have outlined 17 Steps to Improve your design thinking skills and the best approach to it in 2021.

1. Astute observation

Astute observation means looking for the odds in the situation. Likewise, the observation can be done by noticing the actual circumstances and how they are happening. The following are the three prerequisites for a clever observation:

  • It should be unbiased and free from pre-existing ideas or scripts of the situation.
  • Likwise, observers should learn inductively, making inferences from the limited information that they have.
  • Additionally, they must find patterns in complex stimuli.

2. Investment

You are investing enough time and resources in the process. Now, I know you were told that design thinking helps to reduce the number of resources spent on a project.

However, this does not mean that there will be no money will be spent at all. If the design process is fruitful, it should be well-funded and not rushed such that enough time is allocated to it.

Additionally, spending too much time on design thinking may make people move to their ideas based on their reviews instead of focusing on the customers or users.

3. Anything is possible

Another important consideration is not to expect perfection when using this method. Despite receiving much praise, design thinking is not without its fair share of challenges. It does provide designers with a good option.

However, remember that errors can be made, and you need not limit your ability or responsibility on the notion that design thinking is perfect. It is not.

4. Aim for the best

The third is to always strive for efficiency. We know that design thinking helps reduce the amount of time taken to develop a project. However, while chasing speed, it is essential to pay attention to efficiency.

5.Be smart

Always look to work smart. Now, this comes without saying. Design thinking employs the designer to use creative, cognitive, and practical thinking skills to achieve the desired goal.

As a professional in this field, it is essential to know how the thing works and anticipate. As a result, one can use strategic approaches to make work easier or more efficient. Working smart is all about maximizing opportunities presented to ensure the efficiency of the final project.

6. Practice

As is the case of any skill, we all need to practice to perfect it. The same applies to design thinking. Learning it is the first step towards being able to use it in practical situations.

7. Outcome over output

It is essential to focus your implementation of design thinking on outcomes as opposed to outputs. Yes, having an output is good. However, you want it to be able to satisfy a given role.

Developing this ability should be your primary goal and the basis for creating the output, which is a workable prototype.

8. Customer feedback

Customer feedback is also important in ensuring your ability to use design thinking is improved. It is notable that for most practice projects, you may not be able to get feedback. However, take it upon yourself to look for it from viable sources.

9. Document Learning and Define Hypothesis

It is advantageous to define and communicate a hypothesis well in the beginning and after the analysis, because it enables you to understand the ideas from the customers.

Moreover, it is also essential to jot down what you are testing and the hypothesis of the outcome. It will help you to prove that the work was worth doing.

10. Allow all ideas

Divergent thinking and sharing wicked problems are also essential in design thinking to stimulate creativity. Insight is the base of ideas, and ideas are the solutions for the customers' difficulties.

So if the goal is to help the customers and make their lives better, it indeed does its work. The customers' needs and not the products bring in innovation and, in turn, creates customers.

11. Look around

The Eleventh tip is to observe the work of others around you. There is no such thing as being perfect.

There is always room for learning, improving, and looking at other UX or graphics designers in the field can be a good way of learning how to improve your design thinking process.

Even when you feel you have learned (almost) everything, you will always encounter someone who does things differently and from whom you can understand.

keep it in mind that only looking around is not enough

12. Listen to others

It is also essential to seek advice from people and ask questions about what you are doing. Improving is based on learning, and what is the best way to learn from the people who have already done it?

As a designer, you should be able to observe what others are doing and question their tactics.

13. Everything doesn't work

Testing is an integral part of design thinking, and the solutions should be checked with users time and again. This means frequent testing of the answers to the problems is required to know if they are workable or not.

14. Imagine from multiple perspectives

Hone your imagination skills to pose questions and open up areas unseen design thinkers can imagine inherently desirable solutions and meet explicit or latent needs by taking a' people first' app reads.

Good design thinkers observe the world in minute detail. They notice things that others do not and use their insights to inspire innovation.

15. Get rid of the fear of failure

Imagination is nurtured when there is no fear of rejection or failure. The design thinker can imagine future possibilities and communicate them.

16. Fine-tune last

Making it perfect is essential, but at the same time, we should not spend too much time on fine-tuning. Remember that design thinking is to save on time and solve the business problem that adds value.

If you can keep it, then do so. Fine details, which tend to take too much time to include, can be pushed to last, thus building a better foundation for them. This also allows you to get more work done.

17.Maximize each learning experience

The last tip is to iterate every learning opportunity as many times as possible. Like we noticed earlier, learning is the best way to improve your ability to use design thinking.

Therefore, it makes no sense to rush it. Instead, take every step with attentiveness, and make sure you get everything before moving on.

Design Thinking Process conclusion

Be open to the change and try to explore the user feedback. I have outlined some of the steps that will help you to improve your design thinking process.

It is up to you to make an effort to engage yourself in this process, and there is no right or wrong way. Please let me know which is the best strategy for improving and implementing the design thinking process?


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