One of the key components and also challenges, for designers, is the idea of creating your work with someone else in mind. Through this thought process, designers will grow empathy as it plays a key part in their role.

 

With companies being closer than ever to their market through social media and email communication, this thought process has become important to a business.

This is due to the fact that the designers though processes can be applied to marketing, PR and many other fields in business.

 

While designers will naturally have this mindset, how do apply this ideology towards non-design thinkers in problem-solving scenarios?

 

This is where design thinking comes into play!

 

Many companies such as IBM have invested time in creating frameworks that can help non-designers get into design thinking habits.

 

What Design Thinking aims to do is get multi-disciplinary teams to work together on problem-solving and mapping out plans to reach a company’s goals.

 

By using brainstorming exercises and multiple collaborations between multi-disciplinary groups, design thinking puts empathy at the forefront of any problem-solving scenario.

 

One big example of design thinking is with the prioritisation grid.

 

The prioritisation grid breaks every task into 4 possible sections:

  • high impact/low effort
  • high impact/ high effort
  • low impact/low effort
  • low impact/high effort

Once the grid is mapped out, all groups will come together and complete a three-stage process.

This three-stage process is

  1. Diverge
  2. Converge
  3. Remix

Step 1: Diverge

When employees enter the diverge stage, they will silently and rapidly place ideas on the prioritisation grid based on how they feel it should be prioritised.

The reason this stage is so crucial is it gets the mind to loosen and really think without any restrictions. As they refer to their own bias exclusively, there is a strong chance some ideas in later stages will be deemed less important or not important at all.

However, if you throw paint at a wall, something is bound to stick. Therefore, it is very important that all ideas play a role in the idea generation.

Step 2: Converge

Once ideas are silently generated, the groups will them consider all ideas and discuss their usefulness and feasibility. This stage is where the benefits of having multidisciplinary groups start to show as each group within the team can make their argument from the perspective of their discipline. All the groups will then begin to grow empathy and an agreement occurs.

Step 3: Remix

After the team convergence happens, the team will now find related ideas on the grid and group them together. This helps identify commonalities and trends throughout the process. In this stage, it is found that despite how diverse the disciplinary backgrounds of each group are, there are still a lot of similarities within their ideas. These ideas will bring everyone into alignment and move them closer to finding solutions for the user. The team as a unity will then use the grid to determine actionable tasks based on their consensus.

If you found this article interesting and want to get into that design thinking mindset, why not check out our upcoming Persuasive Design Course?

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