In Design Thinking The EDIT PAGE

The ‘Design’ Way of Thinking

Dezeen Web-Author Richard van der Laken, in his article “Design is more than perfume, aesthetics and trends” explained how design thinking could have played a crucial role in addressing the current growing refugee crisis. This took the methodology of design thinking to a whole new level, beyond the business of Google, Apple or GE, or the educational architecture of Stanford University and other institutions.

Perceiving the ‘Design’ Way

An amalgamation of both visual and scientific, design thinking is precisely a closed loop process that keeps evolving with users’ feedback, an ideal workflow-architecture enabling and enforcing designers and innovators to come up with better solutions every time. As shown in the figure, the methodology of design thinking is usually conceived through the below closed loop steps:

Once limited to the syllabi of engineering/design engineering, gradually, it became an inherent part of work-flow in business, education and other areas too. This is important, as disruptive innovations and designs are more-often driven by user experience. Todd Olson, an innovator, designer and columnist, while discussing the design genius of Apple and Google averred, “design innovation — not technological innovation — disrupts businesses and industries.” There was a time when Apple invested a major chunk of its capital on design thinking only, more than the profit, the company made.

Design thinking not only helps in bringing the best possible solutions to the table, but the methodology also helps redefine the marketing strategy. In one of my previous columns, I had explained the design thinking in Apple’s brand building. 

Before releasing the first iPhone, Steve had some 15 amazing models from which the actual iPhone was selected. Though Apple had applied all those designs for patents for the sake of just what their designers did, but unlike other companies, they did not bring all the models into the market. Quoting Jobs, "We don't give you the alternatives, we give you the best." It's because of this value Apple evoked an irresistible admiration and attention in the global market. Values are not created by product but by the way company moves forward. When new updated version of Mac computers was launched, there were more than 1200 old mac computers lying inside company's store. An HBS pass out lady, the then CFO decided to bring it at cheaper rates almost equal to the manufacturing cost which later also got the support of Board of Directors, but when came to Steve for his consent, he refused to sign....."It's not the way we work", commented Steve.” This explains how you re-emphasize the solutions post testing and implementation phase.

In Design Thinking, if there is any loop open, you might miss the parallel narrative of the entire architecture.
While we all are aware of the design saga of Google, GE, IBM, Apple, and other companies, let’s take an Einstein’s case, the genius and his mistake while processing design thinking.

Einstein emphasized the Universe, Newton’s gravitational law, and black holes, defined them through various laws, then ideated and presented the most famous theory – general theory of relativity.

In 1915, Albert Einstein published geometric theory of gravitation i.e. general theory of relativity, arguing that if two particles with some given constant velocities start moving towards the pole, the particles would meet irrespective of the distance in between. The argument was plain and simple that defied Newton’s law of motion, an observation and a basis for general theory of relativity. The entire theory was part and parcel of Einstein’s ‘way of thinking’ which Peter Rowe coined as ‘Design Thinking’ later. Einstein re-emphasized Newton’s laws of motion; defined its cones it at various situations, and since the laws failed at various situations, he introduced ‘General Theory of Relativity’. However, when his own theory suggested that the universe is expanding; he couldn’t test the same, and hence introduced a parameter, later lifted by Hawking.

Testing and Implementation helped Hawking emphasize and re-define the theory of relativity which Einstein couldn’t, in his lifetime.
Let’s take another case, Xerox’s Palo Alto Research Centre developed world’s first ever mouse, yet the organisation was unable to present the same, as a solution to the society. Steve Jobs, a champion of design thinking used the prototype to build and present world’s first PC with GUI enabled OS. What Xerox couldn’t, Steve, a college dropout did was filling the bridge of ideation in design thinking.

In a nutshell, each every step of design thinking is closely interlinked, and doesn’t work in isolation.

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