The Design Thinking Workbook Book Summary - The Design Thinking Workbook Book explained in key points
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The Design Thinking Workbook summary

CJ Meadows, Charvi Parikh

Essential Skills for Creativity and Business Growth

4.5 (220 ratings)
16 mins
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    The Design Thinking Workbook
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    What is design thinking?

    Think about the last failures you faced on a team project. Communication issues? Creativity issues? Were you focused on the right problem? Or did you have to reorient after you’d already done a bunch of work? These are the kinds of failures DT helps prevent.

    So what exactly is DT, or design thinking?

    Basically, it’s a human-focused approach to problem-solving meant to help you figure out what the real problem is and solve the issue in creative, innovative ways meant to both benefit all stakeholders and increase business growth.

    Though there are several DT methodologies, the one Meadows and Parikh use focuses on a six-step method – challenge, observe, understand, envision, solve, and prototype.

    First, you define the challenge – the problem you need to solve. It can be difficult to clarify, but it’s an important step in the process. You don’t want to get months – or even years – into a project only to discover you’ve been working on the wrong issue the entire time.

    Next, you observe the people who might be having the problem you’re trying to address. In this step, you observe what your target users or clients do, how they act, and what behaviors they engage in.

    The third step is to understand the behaviors your targets engage in. This step is deeply concerned with the whys behind target users’ actions – the motivations they have and the goals they’re pursuing. Sometimes this includes results they’re trying to avoid.

    The fourth step is to envision a solution or future. This involves dreaming up how you want things to end up. Are you looking to make something easier for a user? Are you trying to create an enjoyable experience? A calming experience? What do you want users’ behaviors or experiences to look like in the future, as opposed to what they look like now? A key thing to keep in mind at this stage is that it’s easier to tame a wild idea than to make a mediocre idea truly wonderful. So dream big!

    The penultimate step is to solve. This is where brainstorming and other techniques for generating creative ideas come into play. It also involves making key design decisions – focusing on ideas for bridging the gap between the current issue or situation and the future that you envisioned in the previous step.

    The final step of the DT process is to prototype – once you decide on a solution to pursue, you’ll prototype and experiment to see whether the solution is feasible and how well it fits the needs of your users. You’ll probably need at least a few rounds of prototyping as you learn more about your users and your proposed design. Once you find the best solution, you can scale up.

    Of course, this isn’t always a linear process. As you engage in DT projects, you might find yourself repeating some of the steps. That’s totally normal, and an expected part of the process! You just need to stay focused and open as you keep working toward the best solution.

    As with most things, a DT approach isn’t the best choice for every situation. DT is a human-centered mindset. So if you’re looking to solve a problem that’s unrelated or just not centered on humans, this isn’t the approach you’d want. For example, if you were trying to solve the problem of a storm snapping electrical wires, or of a fence shifting because of erosion, DT probably wouldn’t be too helpful.

    Then again, sometimes we think something’s a technical problem when really it’s a human one, or vice versa. The methodology DT uses to clarify an issue and find the root cause of a problem can help figure out which type of problem you’re addressing.

    For example, a new manager found himself with a stack of complaints about the elevators in the 30-story building. Each complaint centered on how slow the elevators were.

    So, which type of problem is this? Human or technical?

    Take a moment to think about it, then we’ll move on to learning some foundational skills needed for DT. And don’t worry, we’ll come back to the elevator problem in a bit!

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    What is The Design Thinking Workbook about?

    The Design Thinking Workbook (2022) provides a guide and template for problem-solving in creative, innovative ways. Meadows and Parikh share foundational skills, tools, and techniques essential to effectively addressing challenges and increasing productivity in any field of work. Their advice will help practitioners of design thinking – from beginners to experts – upgrade their creativity and increase their effectiveness when pursuing goals.

    Who should read The Design Thinking Workbook?

    • Leaders looking to improve their team’s problem-solving abilities
    • Anyone interested in boosting individual and team productivity
    • People looking to boost their creativity

    About the Author

    Dr. CJ Meadows and Dr. Charvi Parikh are innovators in the fields of learning and creativity. Meadows works primarily in the IT and design world, while Parikh consults within the education and corporate sectors. Together, they have over 40 years of professional experience.

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