Design Thinking: How to Use Creative Problem Solving for Better Design | Andy Budd | Skillshare

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Design Thinking: How to Use Creative Problem Solving for Better Design

teacher avatar Andy Budd, Design Leader & CEO of Clearleft

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

8 Lessons (49m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. What is Design Thinking?

    • 3. Understand the Problem

    • 4. Rethink the Problem

    • 5. Create a Possible Solution

    • 6. Test Your Solution

    • 7. Final Thoughts

    • 8. Explore More Classes on Skillshare

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About This Class

Looking to level up your design process? It all starts with design thinking.

More than a buzzword, design thinking is a set of tools and attitudes that can help you solve creative problems in a new way. Join UX designer and startup founder Andy Budd to learn how you can use this proven approach to break out of old thinking, act more strategically, and unlock creative solutions. Whether you’re designing a logo, building an app, or launching a creative business, this 50-minute class will provide you with the foundational knowledge to start applying design thinking to solve every type of creative problem.

You’ll learn:

  • The four steps of the design thinking process
  • Key attitudes and mindsets of successful designers
  • Real-world applications of design thinking techniques
  • Guided exercises to apply this approach to your own life

Plus, every lesson is packed with tips, techniques, and frameworks you can use to build an arsenal of tools you can draw from again and again.

Design thinking is the perfect foundation for all design: graphic, digital, UX, and beyond! Once you’ve mastered the simple art of design thinking you’ll never approach a design problem the same way again.

Meet Your Teacher

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Andy Budd

Design Leader & CEO of Clearleft


As a renowned UX designer and CEO of Clearleft, Andy helps companies like The BBC, Virgin, and Penguin Random House with issues of digital transformation. As one of the first pioneers of web standards, his blog and best-selling book CSS Mastery: Web Standards Solutions helped set the tone for progressive web-design in the UK.

Andy is a regular speaker at international conferences like SXSW, An Event Apart, and The Next Web. He also curates the UX London and Leading Design conferences. In 2011, Andy co-founded the Brighton Digital Festival, a citywide celebration of digital culture attracting 40,000 visitors and over 190 events.

Andy is a serial entrepreneur, dabbles with angel investing, and mentors at Seedcamp. These are just some of the reasons his company has won Netmag... See full profile

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1. Introduction: But I understand design thinking, it allow you to elevate your design process, and allows you to solve a whole range of problems that you'd never thought were possible, with what you already know today. Hi there. My name is Andy Budd and I am a UX designer turned managing director of a design agency. I run conferences, I run events, I run workshops, and today we are going to be learning about design thinking. Design thinking is approach to solve a whole ranging class of problems using design. I think the best designers in the world, do not just have one way of solving problems, but I have a whole toolkit to draw upon. I'm going to introduce you to some of my favorite tools and techniques. Then I'll walk you through the four phases of the design thinking process. I think if you are a designer, whether a junior or senior, with a graphic designer or a UX designer, or service designer, by understanding the design thinking process, you can get even more value out of your career, and allows you to solve a whole broad range of problems. Whether it's problems with interfaces, whether it's a problem with cognitive services, with problems of products. Design thinking is a great way to help us solve problems and make the world a better place. I'm really excited to spend the next five or six lessons with you, exploring the Internets of Design Thinking. Let's get going. 2. What is Design Thinking?: Design thinking is a process for creative problem-solving, is effectively looking at how designers solve traditional design problems, but then applying that process to maybe slightly unusual non-traditional business or service design problems. For instance, you might not necessarily think that coming up with a new business idea is a design problem, but essentially. Essentially, you are creating something new, you are bringing something into the world that has never existed before and so having a process to do that, understanding where you get inspiration from, understanding that you're making the right business that's going to be successful is a design process. Design thinking is about how you can use your design skills to solve maybe slightly a more unusual design problems. Design thinking is actually something that is relatively well-established, which is ironic, because actually it might be better established in boardrooms and is in design studios. Actually, in design studios there's a lot of concern around whether design thinking is actually a new thing. Does it exist? Does it not? Does it provide value? This is what we're here to talk about today. Why is design thinking effective? It allows you to follow a fairly well established process. It breaks you out of your current thinking and allows you to be more creative and it helps you think more strategically. What does design thinking actually look like? My definition of design thinking is that it's basically a combination of three things: abductive reasoning, so how designers think about solving problems, visual thinking, so how you then capture the information and visualize it in a meaningful way and play it back and then the use of common design tools to solve uncommon problems. First of all, I'm going to go into a little bit about what abductive thinking is. Ultimately, there are three modes of thinking: there's abductive, there's inductive, and there is deductive. Deductive reasoning is the mode that most people take. You come up with a hypothesis, you test it out in the real world and then that test tells you whether that hypothesis is true or false. This is actually a very logical approach to thinking. It's the approach you often find very common amongst developers, so they're very much around coming up with an idea, testing out in code, see whether it works and moving on. You then have inductive reasoning. Inductive reasoning switches things around. Actually with inductive reasoning, you start with a series of research, you understand statistics, you understand numbers, and then you should have like back fill and come up with a solution based on your learnings. Again, inductive reasoning is quite a common model amongst business, often boards and maybe managers have this inductive reasoning process. Abductive reasoning is a main way that designers solve problems. Designers often have very little information, so you have to make these big leaps of thoughts to try and come up with solutions to really poorly ill-define problems. This is abductive reasoning. What I tend to find in most businesses is they have lots of deductive reasoners, they have loads of inductive reasoners, but they often don't have that many abductive reasoners. So bringing designers and that dominant thinking mode into business gives you a different angle and a different way of solving problems. I think it would be very powerful. Abductive reasoning is actually the mode that a lot of doctors use when they're trying to diagnose symptoms. They don't have all the information but they're asking lots of questions that forming patterns. It's also the mode that a lot of TV detectives use. There's a misnomer, that Sherlock Holmes, for instance, was a deductive reasoner. It's actually an abductive reasoner, pulling together all these little threads, putting them hormonal wall and trying to spot the patterns, the logical leaps that will help you solve the problem. Actually, I joke sometimes that the best design thinkers surround themselves with all this information, all these signal, the desk is really messy, the world is really messy, so much so actually it's like a murder has happened. If you've got designers that are full of all this information, it's a really good indicator that they're using abductive reasoning. If you've got a super tidy work space, maybe they're more deductive or inductive reasoners. Another aspect of design thinking is the use of visual thinking. A lot of the time in modern business life, everyone sits around the boardroom, everyone has conversations, people write things down in words. But often it's really common to come out of a meeting, think everyone's on the same page, but actually everybody has a different perspective in their mind of what's been decided. One of the powers of visual thinking is taking these things out of people's minds and putting them in a physical space so people can understand. It might be writing sketch notes, it might be doing design games, but basically it's getting those ideas out of people's heads. What I tend to find is, if you do this, if you get these ideas around out of people's heads quickly, then everyone sits around and goes, No, that's not actually what I thought. I meant something else. As you can avoid these really awkward situations when you're a designer, that you only find out maybe months later that the thing you designed isn't quite what was expected because it wasn't communicated properly. Visual thinking is a real powerful tool of making ideas concrete. Visuals are really simple way of letting people understand a problem very quickly. They lead to the shared understanding, which is really important for designers. Even if you're working on your own, visualizing stuff, getting out of your head as quickly as possible can be incredibly powerful. Even if you're solo designer, I would recommend taking a visualized approach. If you're interested in learning more about visualization, there's an amazing author called David Sibbet from Growth Partners. He's written a whole ton of books around Infovis, data visualization, and visual work shopping, etc, so I highly recommend you check out his stuff. The last aspect, design thinking was the use of common design tools. Now, there are tons and tons of tools that designers use every day, like I said, to solve UI problems. But these tools have tweaked slightly, can be used to solve a whole range or class of different types of problem. This could be simple things from empathy maps, or crafting an elevator pitch for your problem, some more complex research techniques. Some of my favorite design tools are actually workshop exercises. If you can get a really quick understanding of what needs to be designed upfront, it makes your life much more easy as you go on, so you're not making any mistakes. There's all these class of workshop exercises called design games or boardroom games or executive games. Little techniques, you can take to workshops or meetings to make them less around opinionated arguments and battles with boxes and actually get everybody on an even playing field. A great resource for this is a book called Gamestorming by Dave Gray and Sonny Brown. There is another book called Innovation Games, also by Luke Hohmann. These are great sources for finding lists of all the variety of design tools out there. One of the things I think is to be a great designer, it's really easy to pick one or two tools and lean on them almost like a crutch. But actually the best designer is create a toolbox of tools. One of the real skills of being a great designer and a great design thinker is knowing what tool to use when. There's no real easy way of describing that, all that comes from is practice and experience of running workshops, running sessions, running design thinking activities, and figuring out at the moment which is the right tool to solve the problem that we're trying to face. A big part of design thinking is attitudinal. Designers have a unique set of attitudes which have been honed over many years and are great for solving design problems. But actually if you bring these attitudes into daily business life, you can serve a whole other class of problems as well. Some of the attitudes include: showing rather than telling. Again, that goes back to data visualization. It's really easy for us to fall back on words and have these opinion battles. But actually it's much easier to create something and test it and see whether it works rather than just talking about it. There's a focus that designers have on human values, designers are really good at putting humans and users and people at the center of the problem and using empathy to solve the problem, so focus on human values is a really important tool. Designers are also really good at crafting clarity. This is again where some of the visualization comes in. So understanding problems and playing them back to a group of people gets clarity on that problem quickly. Designers love to experiment. Experimentation is a key part of the designer's toolbox, so that's a strong attitude. Also of having a mindfulness of process. It's amazing how many, massive companies around the world don't actually have formal processes for solving some of these problems, so bringing designers in and have a mindfulness of their process is really, really useful. One of the things I think it's so good about design is that they have a bias towards action. Again, in traditional designs, it might be sketching or designing UI elements. But maybe in a more conceptual sense, it might be going and creating business model canvases or prototyping what it feels like to use a tool or a service. Lastly, designers are great at collaboration. Whereas a lot of business units sit in their silos and don't necessarily talk together, design is a great pulling people into the process. This idea of radical collaboration is a really key attitude, I think designers bring to the table. Over the next series of videos, I'm going to teach you how you can use each of these three tools, abductive reasoning, visual thinking, and common design tools to implement the design thinking process. The design thinking process is comprised of four stages: understanding the problem, using that to discover what the problems are, rethinking the problem and re-framing the problem, creating a whole variety of possible solutions through ideation, and then testing those solutions through prototyping and implementing. Over the course of the next four lessons, we're going to be diving into each one of those in more detail. Now, I'll use a few examples throughout the next couple of episodes to help you understand how you can use design thinking. Hopefully that will convince you that design thinking is an approach that you can use to solve a whole range of different problems. What I'm going to suggest is I want you to think about the last time that you received a gift from a friend or the last time you gave a gift. What did you like about that process? What was interesting? What would the life or what made you happy? What was frustrating? What we're going to do is we're going to use that as a method to use the design thinking process to re-invent the gift-giving process for somebody in your life, maybe your friend, your partner, your kids, what have you. That's what we're doing over the next couple of sessions. 3. Understand the Problem: The first phase of the design thinking process is understanding the problem. It's a discovery process, because you really need to understand the problem thoroughly before you can come up with sensible solutions. The best way to do this is to involve potential customers, potential users in your research. Now many designers think that they are user-centered, but actually you'd be amazed how infrequently designers really go and talk to the people who are going to be using their products on day-to-day basis. Quite often, particularly in large organizations, this maybe the sales team or the telephone support team speak to people every day. One of the key skills is not just to ask what people want, people actually really pour judges of future behavior. If you ask somebody what they think or what they want, there's a really good chance they're going to tell you what they think you want to hear, because we want to be nice to people, so you want to help you out. Actually rather than just asking people for their opinions, really good researchers will look at their behavior. Maybe understand past behaviors and indicators of future behavior. Or maybe just sit around and watch what people are currently doing. Again, a classic example is if you're trying to understand what's wrong with an existing website, rather than just looking at feedback you've had from customers, maybe jumping on some of their sessions and actually watch what they're doing and watch what they're struggling with. I've been in countless usability testing reviews where at the end of the session, I've asked people what they thought. They thought, yeah, this product or service is really easy to use but actually during the session we watched them struggle fundamentally and on some occasions even fail to complete the task. Understanding user needs and motivations is very important. Let's imagine for a second that you're creating a new business, maybe a friend or relative, or maybe even yourself decided that you want to get into the food business. It would be easy just to start cooking and see how it goes but actually you might want to do a bit of research. You might want to understand where the best places are to set up your business. You're going to open a little shop, you can open a stall, you might want to go and understand where the foot flow and the traffic is. You might want to go to neighborhoods if you're thinking about setting up a business in a particular neighborhood and ask what the kind of things are that people like eating, what they don't like eating, what the facilities are nearby. Similarly, if you're trying to create a new app, I see tons of people coming out with new app ideas without ever really testing the market to see what there is a need or desire. With your business idea, go out there and talk to friends and relatives, but talk to strangers as well. Really build a picture of the mental model that your users are going through. Quite often, your first idea isn't your best idea and going out and researching people's needs can allow you to pivot. In startup times, pivoting, is changing from one ideal solution to the next. A lot of companies or technical companies have pivoted multiple times. The classic example actually is Slack, which is a business productivity tool. It started life as a computer game but actually, the thing that was working so much about the computer game wasn't the game itself, it was the tools the team are created to make that game. Eventually when the game disappeared, they failed. The team behind it thought, well actually we can make money off this tool. Sometimes a first idea isn't the best idea. Going out there and understanding what's valuable can be really important. Design research is a really good way of understanding what the problem is. There's some really simple techniques you can use to make doing research really easy. It can be quite nerve-racking, I think sometimes for designers to go out there and actually interview customers and understand their perspective and their points of view but it's incredibly useful. First off, when you're talking to people don't ask closed questions. Closed question is something that results in a No or Yes. Would you use this product? Yes, no, not a very helpful question. But if you ask people to maybe explain a thing, how do you go about getting a gift for a friend or can you tell me about the last time you did this? It then allows people to tell stories and hidden in these stories is a lot of useful information design research. Also sometime you just need to be encouraging, lookup people, smile, nod. There's whole tendency when we're talking to people to want to dominate the conversation and keep chatting and not let people get a worded. You can also use silence to your advantage. When someone starts giving you an answer, maybe the answer is a little bit too short for your liking. You could just jump in and try and ask them to expand or you could just be quiet. What will typically happen is a person who interviewing will feel a little bit awkward and carry on talking to fill this space. Ideally if you are researching, when you're talking to people, you probably only want to be speaking 10 or 20 percent of the time. Really, it's your there to understand what the other person is thinking about and trying to build a mental model of what their problems are, what their approaches are to solving their problems. Really this is all about gaining empathy and understanding to try and walk into the shoes of those people. When you come back to your studio or wherever you're doing your design work, when you come up with a solution, you can then in your head play it back and go, well, actually with this solution work based on the information I learned from speaking to the potential customers. Ultimately, this is what you're looking for when you're going out to do research, there is a temptation to use it as a way of solution finding. I'm going to go and I'm going to talk to a bunch of people and they're going to tell me what I need to do. That's wrong. The whole purpose of research is problem finding. You're going to go out there, you want to understand the problem or the pain points. Another really popular design technique is co-design. Co-design rather than going and talking to users and asking for their opinion or what they do, how they behave, you actually involve your customers in the design process. One of my favorite tools for this is called the design the box game. In the design of the box game, you may be assembling a group of stakeholders. It could be internal stakeholders, it could be customers or users. You maybe get them into pairs or groups of two or three and you ask them to imagine if this product or service that we were creating, you could actually buy it in a shop in the form of a box. What would the box looked like? What would be on the cover? What would be on the side? What would be on the back? What would be the strap line? What would be the cost? That allows people to think about things in a slightly more abstract way. I'm sure you've all been in meetings with stakeholders maybe where they start sketching out exactly what the solution is but again, we said we don't want solutions from research. We want to understand problems and so getting people to use a mechanism like a cereal box I've used before can be really insightful. Maybe working with a big company unlike the head of finance is all about the cost and the deals. Maybe the head of marketing is all about the glitzy logos, maybe the CEO is all about what's contained inside this product or service with the features and functions. This gives you an idea of what the separate desires are from these different people and it allows you to pull them all together when you're doing your design. Design the box game can be really fun activity to do with customers as well as internal stakeholders. Sometimes you might find yourself in a situation where you don't actually have access to your customers or users. Sometimes when you do that, maybe talking to people that do so a real good technique again, if you're in a bigger company, is maybe going talk to the sales team or maybe going to talk to the customer support team. Or maybe even just go and talk to people that know people that know the service. Once you've done your research, you need a clever way of capturing that information. Sometimes persona's are really good way of doing that and there's a thing called an empathy map, which is like a prototype persona. It's a really rough, almost like pen and pencil sketch of customer needs and basically it's a diagram that ask you to think about four or five different questions. The people you've been talking to, the people you've been researching, what have they been saying? What are they seeing? What are they thinking? What are they doing? Those four quadrants allow you to capture the different bits of information of research you've gathered. Next time when you're then starting to think about the solution, you can reference back to this empathy map or, or proto persona to really understand that the decision you'll come up with meet those customer needs. Once you've conducted your discovery exercise, considering you turning your findings to some shareable object that you can share with all the people that you're working with on the project. In the gift-giving example, maybe you jot down your highlights or your insights and then share them back with the friends and family of the person you're trying to buy the gift for. At work, maybe once you've captured this information, you play it back to your team members, or your stakeholders. But it's important to make sure that the things that you've understood, the things that you've inferred, the insights that you've gained have credibility. Because ultimately what we're talking about is the collection of insights or the purpose of this research is to gain insights into the problem to allow you to have a better solution. Playing those insights back is the first step in and redesigning and reconceiving what the problem truly is. For our gift-given exercise, what I want you to do is to, first of all, put yourself in the mind of the user. Sometimes this is called a cognitive walk-through. If you don't have the opportunity to speak to real people, sometimes you can just get your mindset into an emotive states you can understand some of the challenges. First off, it's we're thinking about the last time that you gave a gift. What did you like about the process? What did you find frustrating? What worked? What didn't? Now flip that around, think about the last time you were given a gift. How did you react? Was it was a pleasant surprise? Was it an unpleasant surprise? What would you do if the gift wasn't what you wanted? How did you style out? Think about maybe some of the awkward moments of gift-giving. Now you have a better understanding, maybe it's time to go out and talk to other people, friends, relatives to understand their experiences of giving and receiving gifts. Now you've understood a little bit about just gift-giving in general. Let's turn our attention to the person that you actually want to buy that gift for. What do you know about that person? What do they do? What do they like? What are their interests? But maybe you could do a little desk research. Desk researches is where you don't leave the office, but maybe you go and you look things up. In terms of gift-giving, maybe you go to their Twitter, maybe you go to their Amazon wish list, maybe go to Facebook and see the kind of things they're interested in. Maybe go to Instagram and see the kind of things they're posting out. Now, maybe going talk to their friends and families. Friends might discover that actually they really interesting in baking. They're interested in the great British Break Off. They love cupcake shop, say love baking in the weekends. With that information that can really change the direction of what the gift is that you're going to get them. The more you can understand about the needs of your user, the more you're able to solve their problems. This might seem like a trivial example, but the whole gift-giving exercise is really a simple way of getting you to start thinking about design thinking from a personal perspective. For the first part of this activity, what I would suggest you do is first of all, thinking about a friend or person in your life that you want to provide a gift experience for. Go out and speak to some of the people that are in their world. Maybe do a bit of desk research and then captures this information in a meaningful way. A really simple way of doing this is using the empathy map. Put your friend or colleague or partner or family member in the middle and then around the outside, fill the details in. What are these people saying on a regular basis? What are they seeing? What are they thinking? What are they doing? What are they feeling? Then use this as a way of catching your research so you can reference back later. Now we're finished the research phase up. Next, we're going to use the information we've gathered to redefine the problem. 4. Rethink the Problem: At the end of the research process, your head's probably buzzing with loads of ideas about how you can solve this problem, But it's really important to actually stop and think, and re-articulate what the problem is because it might be that based on your research, you've got in slightly different direction. Also having a new articulation of the problem makes it easy in the next phase where you're coming up with design solutions, because you want to be able to refer back to that articulation time and time again, to make sure that the things you're coming up with and the solutions, are actually the solutions to the problems that you recognize in the first phase. If you think about the gift-giving exercise, maybe the research has shown up that actually this person doesn't really like baking anymore, has moved onto something else and rather than you just running out and getting them a thing that's not appropriate, you need to reframe that problem. The whole bunch of ways that you can think about re-framing the problem, to take all the information you've learned, and put it in a different direction. One of my favorite techniques is called Mad Lib Elevator Pitch. Elevator pitches are things that you might be aware of, a lot of the time we were told to have a little bit ready to pitch about ourselves. Maybe your're standing in an elevator, you've got 30 seconds between floors and someone asks you, hey, what it is you do? Or maybe they ask you like what you know, what's your business idea? So you've got to come up really, really quickly with a little short 30-second example or explanation of what it is you do. Mad Libs are these kind of games used to play, where you had little blanks and you'd fill in the blanks. With a Mad Lib Elevator Pitch. The first thing you do is, fill in who your target customer is. You then express the customer need that you've learned from your research. For customer who has this particular need, the next phase is, what's the product or service you're going to create? Product name is a kind of market category that has these key benefits. Now, a lot of the time when you're building new businesses, for instance, a lot of businesses would exist, you also want to understand what the defining factor is. Maybe you then say, unlike other products in this category, ours does something unique and this can be a really good exercise, particularly with groups of people who think they've got a really, really articulated value proposition for their new product or service, or even their existing products and service. But actually forcing people to really think through who the target market is, what that customer's needs are, what the product or services you're doing that will solve those needs, and why is it different or special, can bring up a whole bunch of interesting problems and opportunities to clarify actually what you're doing. One of the risks is, if you don't do this now if you hadn't gone through the first part of this double diamond in the research process, then maybe all of these biases are baked into your solution, baked into your brief, you might only discover them once you've actually built the product or service. Redefining the brief is an opportunity to take your learnings, and solve some of the problems or some of the hidden challenges, before your put up service ever reaches the market. Another one of my favorite techniques, for coming up with a vision and re-articulating the problem, is sometimes called press release or sometimes called cover story. In this design game, effectively what you do is you imagine a time in the future. That time in the future could be the day of launch, or it could be 10 years down the line, it could be when your new product or service or business is finished and what you do is, you write the story almost like in the future as though it was looking backwards. Let's say that you're launching a new bagel store in New York. Maybe you write a press release or even like an obituary, like a wrap-up of like 10 years of history of this amazing new business. You talk about how you had humble beginnings, and you started in one store but you grew to 2,3,4,5 and then how you ended up being like a millionaire with your dozens of stores across the country. What that does is that gives a really good articulation of the problem you're trying to solve, the scale you are trying to get to. That allows you to put a flag in the sand and head towards that. It's just an artificial process of getting you to think about the problem in a slightly different way, and articulating in a slightly different way. In the startup world, I think one of the best ways of re-articulating the problem, one of the most popular ways, is something known as a Business Model Canvas. There's a whole bunch of different to the canvases these days, a Business Model Canvas was the first, but there's something called the Lean Startup Canvas it seems almost every day somebody has a new variation of Business Model Canvas. But ultimately the Business Model Canvas is a simple tool, it's a sheet of paper that is broken up into grids and each square in the grid asks for different question and one of them might be, who the users are? One of them might be, what the resources you have to bring to the problem? One of them might be how are you going to make money? So what your business model fundamentally. It's a really, really good way, particularly if you're trying to build a new business, or a new business user or a new product of articulating this. Now before the founders got to even prototyping or launching something, they might have done dozens and dozens of Business Model Canvas exercises. [inaudible] to exactly what the best business model is, for then you put onto service. Particularly if you're in the startup space, the Business Model Canvas is a great exercise. You can do it alone on your own, you could do with groups of people or even online tools that you can go to, where you can do it on your computer. Definitely check out the Business Model Canvas in the book that goes with it. What are the challenges are as designer is brief so often quite vague. Often, as a designer you're almost told the solution, your client might come to you and say, just do X, the ability to go and do research and then reframe the brief, really is a way of questioning whether you're being asked to do the right thing. The last thing you want to do is invest weeks or months or maybe even years, coming up with a solution that actually doesn't solve the real problem. One of the really great techniques I think designers have, is a technique called The Five Whys, where you constantly keep asking Why? If a client says, I want you to build an app so it does X, you ask why then you re-articulate the problem. Then you ask why again, and you re-articulate the problem and by constantly rearticulating the problem, you get back to some like knob of immutable truth. Rather than solving a really surface level facile problem, you actually get to solve much, much deeper, much more meaningful problems, and understand these problems in a more meaningful way. When you're working with clients as a designer, sometimes it can be frustrating, you've gone off and done a bunch of research, you've come back to the client and said, well, actually you've asked for X, but I think you need to have Y and then might say no, no, no, just go ahead and do what I've asked you to do. This can be really challenging, and there are no simple answers for how you solve that problem. Ultimately, all you can do is talk to the client through the research, told the clients through the findings you've come up with, and the rationale as to why you've decided that the brief is slightly different. Sometimes if the client is adamant, then you might need to make a call as to whether you want to carry on with the design process or not. But actually, I believe that if you engage clients with the process, if you show them the findings, using this scientific approach, then it's very, very rare that clients actually dig their heels in. So in the next phase of the lesson, we're going to talk about ideating on prototyping. 5. Create a Possible Solution: You've done your research, you've talked to users, you've got a much better understanding of the problem and you've re-articulated the problem in a meaningful way. Now it's time to start actually coming up with possible solutions. It's the ideation phase. Now again, for very junior designers, often particularly if you're time strapped, you would rush into the first most obvious solution. But it isn't necessarily the right solution, isn't necessarily the best solution. The next phase of design thinking is try and come up with as many variations as possible. From those variations, then you start to narrow down which ones are the right ones to take forwards. There's a really popular technique with 100 designs, a process of generating lots and lots and lots of ideas, forces you to think more creatively, forces you to think outside the box, forces you to maybe generate ideas that you never would have thought of otherwise. Whether you decide to generate 100 ideas or 10 or 20 ideas in a day, the more ideas you can come up with, the more you escape the trap of obvious solutions and come up with something a little bit more interesting and challenging. In the UI space, a common tool that I like to use is sometimes known as 6-UP,1-UP or sometimes known as crazy eights. They both use a similar focus of dividing a piece of paper usually into six or eight squares and then asking the people you're working with or maybe if you're doing on your own, just yourself to generate six or eight ideas. Maybe you're trying to redesign the homepage of your product or service, or your app or maybe you're trying to create a new physical product and give yourself a time frame maybe you've just five or 10 minutes per idea. You go ahead and you sketch this ideas out. You move to next one, next one, next one. Once you've done all six or eight, then you start picking the best bits from each one and turn it into the best version of all those ideas or maybe you decide actually, you don't want to create a bit of a Frankenstein solution. But maybe one of those eight, maybe the last one or the second before last one, is the best. So you start sketching out a bigger, better high fidelity version of that. There's an alternate method of this, which is sometimes called design studio, which is a really good fantastic to do if you're working with dozens of people. Basically, you as an individual goes through your six or eight design solutions and come down to one and then pair up with somebody else who has done that. You tell them about your solution, they tell you about theirs. Then as a group as a pair, you go and do the process again together, come up with six or eight ideas and then narrow it down to one. Then that pair goes with another pair, and the whole process repeats. You can work with very large teams of maybe 40, 50, 60, 70 people to generate dozens, if not hundreds of ideas over a very, very short period of time. Then whittle them down. You'd have three or four really, really good candidates. That is a technique you'll see used a lot in both product design, digital and physical. Once you come up with a lot of ideas and it's time to start narrowing them down, it might be that there are two or three candidates you think are really really vulnerable. Then rather than just plowing ahead and building the thing, it's actually a good idea to create a prototype. There's a whole different variety of prototypes and there's a whole bunch of reasons why you should do that. Architects don't just go out and start drawing plans then building, because it's really expensive if they get it wrong. If they get something wrong in a building, they might have to pull it down and start again. Architects build these small models called markets, which are really really simple way of visualizing how the building will work and how people flow through the building before they start actually designing it and building it for real. But building a prototype allows you to show it to your stakeholders. It allows you to show it to your customers, to get some immediate feedback, to see how they feel the product solves their problems. There's research that shows that like an hour spent or dollar spent prototyping can maybe save you weeks or hundreds of dollars when the product goes live if problems get stuck at delivery. As you can imagine, if you're building an app, it costs so much more to rebuild parts of the app than it does to rip up a bit of paper or throw away a prototype that's taking a couple of days and redo those elements. The best prototypes are quick to make and quick to throw away. You want to avoid falling into the trap of falling in love with your solutions falling in love with your own ideas. Actually, the best designers don't fall in love with their ideas, they fall in love with the problem. In the digital space you might want to build some interactive prototype. It could be a very sort of Barebones, Wireframe prototype, or it could be a high-fidelity visual prototype using visual designs, you might even want to use an animated prototype that fakes a little bit about the actual feeling of using the product. In the tech world, there's this idea of a Wizard of Oz Prototype, which basically is used to fake an experience. I'm sure you've all heard the idea of a minimum viable products. Often it's used really really poorly to be a very very low featured version of the final solution. But actually a lot of the time you can fake it. For instance, imagine that you are trying to create a voice activated Alexa agent. You could spend all your time and effort going out there and building the AI and building the chat scripts but it's really really difficult. Maybe if you use a Wizard of Oz technique, you actually have somebody in the next room pretending to be Alexa. When you are bringing in users to test the tool, they think that they're interacting with a voice agent when actually it's just somebody next door. This is something you can do with voice or maybe with chat. I've seen people pretend to be Chatbot just by using Skype. This Wizard of Oz technique is coined from the movie Wizard of Oz or actually the wizard wasn't really an all powerful wizard, but it was actually hiding behind the curtains, maneuvering and manipulating this scene to make you think that this was an all-powerful creature. It's easy to understand what a prototype might look like for physical products. It's also easy to understand what a prototype might look for digital product or service some interactive experience maybe created with a tool like Invision. But how do you actually prototype a service, how do you prototype a business? Let's imagine you're creating this sort of new bagel shop. You could go in on day 1 and just start serving bagels. But maybe you can need to figure out where you're going to pull up the equipment, where the toast is going to be, where the cream cheese is going to be, where the counter is. If you didn't think about it, you might end up banging into your other staff members or you just might find it's a really inefficient process. In the movie The Founder, it charts the story of McDonald's and there's a great episode or great scene in that movie where they recreate the experience of prototyping the very very first McDonald's restaurant on a tennis court. They got all the stuff and they sketched out areas on the floor about where the fries fly would go, where the burger bun grill would go, where the patty flipper would go. Then they pretended to act out the process of making burgers and they bumped into each other and things were really slow and so they reformatted that again and tried it again and again. Over the course of hours or maybe even days, through the process of trial and error, they perfected what the ideal structure of a McDonald's kitchen would be. If they hadn't done that, they probably would have gone in. They probably would have put all of the really expensive equipment in certain places. Then it would have been stuck there. Just going through the prototyping process in the artificial way, allow them to get around all those problems. It's almost the process of improvisation. In the design world this is sometimes called bodystorming, where you prototype with your physical self. There's another UK brand, called Pizza Pilgrims in the UK, who basically got a little van that traveled around the whole of Italy. They tried to figure out what the best pizza recipe was and came back and for about a year, will just take their van around to shows in order to perfect the perfect pizza. It was only once set for perfecting the perfect pizza did they start opening chains of restaurants. That prototyped the pizza making process before they then started figuring out how to monetize it. Now for our gift-giving example, one technique you might want to use is to sketch out the process of giving the gift from where you buy it from, how you create it, how you hand it over to the person that you're buying the gift for, how they react, all the way through that life cycle. You can do this through a really simple cartoon approach. These Day in the Life sketches as they're sometimes called or service diagrams allow you to think through all the steps and all the processes. If it doesn't work, if you come to a problem that might be challenging, you can rip it up and you could do another one. Cycling through dozens and dozens of these ideas can help you optimize and tweak the process. This is really the whole process of design is, it's intrusive the whole value of Agile, the whole value of Lean is to not just do the first thing you come up with, but test it and tweak and tweak and tweak and iterate until you come up with a perfect solution. Once you have a prototype whether its physical, whether it's digital, it's now time to take those tools out to the market and test them to see whether they actually are going to work. That's what we'll be talking about in the next section. 6. Test Your Solution: Once you've come up with your solution, whether it's an early prototype or whether it's a final thing, it'd be really tempting to launch and sometimes that is the best option. Sometimes you can learn a term from making something go live. But actually, if you make something go live, you might have baked in a whole bunch of problems, you might upset early adopters. I always think it's really good to test on a smaller group of people first before you push something live. The testing process, particularly in an early stage when you're testing on a really rough bitter or really rough prototype makes a lot of sense. Now we're going to talk about how you go about testing your ideas and testing your products and services. Landing page test is really good way of doing this. It's really simple basically, you get a domain or a URL, you create landing pages or something like, "Here is the product we're creating, here are the features, this is coming soon. If you'd like to learn more, give us your email address." People will often really a protective of the email addresses. So they're only going to give you the email address if they genuinely think there's value in the product. Maybe you set yourself a target to say like we are going to go and quit our jobs and build this business if in the first week we get a 100 people sign up to our service or 1,000 people sign up to the service. But this can be a really good way of testing abstract ideas rather than in a tangible interfaces. But will people actually give me my information? Even better is that people will part with their money. If you can say to people this product or service is coming soon and if you give me the money now, we'll give you a discount. Kickstarter is a really good example of this. It's a platform that allows you to put up a product idea, maybe with a video, maybe with something like prototypes and say, "If you find this idea valuable, I will build it, if you give me £10,000, £20,000, £30,000." You only have to go and build the thing once you validated the business idea. These landing page test are really smart. Sometimes you're building a digital business that requires a lot more intelligence. Often if you're building a business that has maybe a component of automation or AI. Maybe it's too early to actually build all of that into the product, particularly if you don't have funding or you don't know whether the product is going to be a success. Another really interesting technique for testing ideas is something called a concierge technique. Some businesses require a lot of people maybe, or other businesses require a lot of technology may be artificial intelligence even. Let's say you're creating a digital business that is a artificial PA. Sure, you could build the technology to create that PA algorithm and test it for many years and make it perfect. That would prove whether the technology was right, but it wouldn't actually prove where there's demand for the business. The concierge technique is basically a way of temporarily faking technology with real people. Rather than building the technology, just pretends up an email box and pretend to be the PA, the virtual PA. When the client says, I want you to book me a restaurant, you just get the email and you actually phone them up and book the restaurant. But from the perspective of the customer, they think they are interacting with a digital service. There are ways that you can fake the experience really cheaply to get you to a point that you understand whether something works or not without investing huge amount of time and effort. For our bagel example, rather than going and setting up a shop, you might want to set up a bagel stand for our app product or smartphone products. Rather than building the whole startup, you might want to use a test, an interactive prototype, or come up with some landing page test or some concierge or wizard of those test. Is obviously a little bit more difficult if you're trying to test the gift giving experience, you don't want to test that on the person you're buying the gift for. Maybe what you do is something called a cognitive walk through. It sounds really fancy, but all it is, is you put yourself in the mind of the person receiving the gift. You maybe sketch out the steps so that they're going to go through and you should've mentally walked through and see where the problems are. If you see it's not responding problems or issues, then you cycle back and you fix them. With traditional usability testing, you don't need to have huge numbers and so you can usually do these think aloud tests, Guerilla usability tests, 567 people. What you traditionally want to do is you want to set up a series of tasks, maybe three or four tasks. If it's an app, you might want to see what it's like for people to sign up to the app. See what it's like for them to use the core features. See what it's like to make a payment or make a purchase or whatever the core functionality is. So that four or five tasks, write the task down, ask the customers, ask the users to engage with those tasks and then watch them. Every time they do something, note down what they're doing and why they're doing it and maybe if they're doing it wrongly what you're noticing. There's this idea of the speak aloud protocol, which is if you just watch people and they're not talking, it's really difficult to understand what they're thinking. If you get your usability test subjects to talk aloud about what they're thinking, why they're pressing that button, what they expect to happen once they press that button, what they think that button will do, etc. Then if their expectations are met, you know that the product or service is working well. If they don't understand something and they're talking aloud and being asked to explain it, you very quickly, understand what the problems are. You don't need any fancy equipment, you can just do it in a coffee shop or an office space and in half a day, you can get tons and tons of feedback that might then give you enough to spend another week or two or three or four making improvements. One of the challenges is if you find these problems early enough that we'd be really cheap to solve. If you bury your head in the sand and don't thoroughly test these things, it might take weeks or months or even years for the problems to come about. Actually a product or service is really good to use will be much more successful than one is frustrated and annoying the customers. If you can iron out all the kinks before you launch, you'll have a much better chance of being successful. One of the great things about design process is the idea is iterative. That you design something, you test it, you gather feedback, you feed that feedback into design processes and improve it again. I think it's a challenge sometimes to know when something is ready to go live. I think more often than not, people release products or services before they're really ready to hit the market. Actually, some of the ideas fail because they haven't been thoroughly tested. But occasionally companies get so worried that they're going to make a mistake, that they keep on testing and things never get released. How do you know when the right time is to release something? I think ultimately it comes from having done it a bunch of times and learning and figuring out where the right point is. But ultimately what you're looking for, you're looking to get to a point of diminishing returns. When you start testing something and maybe you're doing a usability test and the first test you get a 100 problems, the next test you get 20 problems, the next test you get five problems. Sure you can carry on testing again, you might get four or three or two problems. But once there's only five problems that you've got down from a 100, you're probably safe to get out there and put it out in the market. It's understanding that you're never going to have something that's going to be perfect. But if you can derisk it and if you can find as many of those problems as early as possible, then once something goes live, you can always tweak it slightly. We never want to have products in perpetual beta. We always do want these things to go live, but a small amount of testing and iteration can actually make that a much faster, and much smoother process, and it comes with time. Once you've tested your products, a number of times and you're confident that you've ironed out most of the quirks and the bugs and the kinks, it's time to launch. But in reality, you're never done whether it's your product or service or an experience, you're always improving, you're always making things better. Actually the end of the design thinking process, in some regards, it's just the start of a whole new process. 7. Final Thoughts: Well, thank you very much for spending your time with me. You've reached the end of the class. What I'm hoping is, at the end of this session, you've gained a new understanding of what design thinking actually is, you've understood how you could maybe apply it to your day job, but maybe also, you've learned how you can apply your innate design skills to a range of problems, and services, and products, may be outside your media experience. Hopefully, you've got a better understanding of how you can articulate design thinking to people that haven't come across the term before. Hopefully, you now understand that design thinking is actually really just an articulation of the common design process. It's a mixture of abductive reasoning, it's a mixture of tools, and it's a mixture of design visualization. Hopefully, you've understand that the design thinking process is really broken down into four key stages of understanding and empathizing with users through research. Better articulating the problem and playing it back, so you're all in agreement that this is the problem we're going to solve, is a process of ideation, so you generate lots of ideas and don't just go to the most obvious idea. But then you take few candidates and you prototype, and you test, and you validate, and you do all that to make sure that when you launch your product, it's going to be the most successful it can possibly be. 8. Explore More Classes on Skillshare: