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What is Design Thinking? Human-centered Problem-solving | Video

What is Design Thinking? Human-centered Problem-solving | Video

With the continuing rise of Agile Project Management, a term Project Managers are hearing more often is Design Thinking.

So, in this video, I will answer the question, ‘What is Design Thinking?’

This video is safe for viewing in the workplace.

This is learning, so, sit back and enjoy

So, what is Design Thinking?

Design Thinking is a technical problem-solving method that learns from the world of industrial design. It’s characterized by being very much human-centered – focused on the needs and behaviors of users.

It makes incremental changes to improve the way a solution adapts to the needs of users. It’s also highly iterative. And therefore, it is great for dealing with poorly characterized or partially understood problems. Hence its frequent use alongside Agile methodologies.

And it is empathetic. You need to show empathy for the needs of the people who will use the products or solutions you design.

(Do you want to know what Agile is?)

There are 4 Phases to Design Thinking:

  1. Empathy
  2. Essence
  3. Experiment
  4. Evolution

There are many variants on this process. This one is my own interpretation, so as not to run afoul of any proprietary Design Thinking methodologies.


Step 1: Discovery

Understand users and their needs. Most of all, you must empathize with them and understand their mindsets.

Step 2: Define

Challenge assumptions and redefine the problem until you have a clear understanding of the solution you need to find. As a result, state the problem in terms of the solution users need. Frame it in a people-centred way.


Step 3: Ideate

Find solutions that meet the needs of the people. This is where you create the initial design. Continually challenge assumptions to create a strong idea.


Step 4: Prototype

Build a simple model of a solution for the sole purpose of learning

Step 5: Test

Next, put the prototype to the test. Expose it to users in real situations. Then, evaluate how it performs and how it disappoints users.

Design thinking is iterative. So, cycle back to Step 3.


Step 6: Evaluate

Once your solution is out there, evaluate its performance. Look at the need for changes.

Step 7: Iterate

Finally, treat the product as a prototype and develop it further. Create subsequent versions or releases.

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About the Author Mike Clayton

Dr Mike Clayton is one of the most successful and in-demand project management trainers in the UK. He is author of 14 best-selling books, including four about project management. He is also a prolific blogger and contributor to and Project, the journal of the Association for Project Management. Between 1990 and 2002, Mike was a successful project manager, leading large project teams and delivering complex projects. In 2016, Mike launched OnlinePMCourses.

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