My secondary school teacher once said something. He said, “ If you want to understand a term, break that into two syllables and get to understand each word; once you get the understanding of both words, put them together, and then you get the meaning of that term.”
So, we will be breaking down the term “design thinking” into two to get a better understanding of what it means.
Let’s take the word ‘design.’ Design, or to design, simply means to create or to make something.
According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, to design means to devise a specific function or to conceive and plan out.
The word ‘ thinking’ in layman’s terms means to reason.
According to the Cambridge Dictionary, thinking means the activity of using your mind to consider something.
Putting both definitions together, we have design thinking as using your mind to devise a specific function according to the layman.
Design thinking is defined as the iterative process used for practical and creative problem-solving.
Now that we’ve understood what design thinking is, let’s talk about the processes involved in design thinking. There are five processes of design thinking, which include: empathy, define, ideate, prototype, and test.
The first stage is empathy. Empathy simply means understanding the feelings or needs of someone. In this stage, you need to be in the users’ shoes, and for you to do that, you need to get to know the user and understand his or her wants and needs, as well as his or her objectives. There’s no assumption at this stage; you need to gather real facts about the users.
Let’s take Daavi’s G)b3 as an example. Before she starts with her G)b3 business, she has to engage with the people in her community to know if they like G)b3 and how they would like it to be. She gets the customer’s pain points and begins to work with them.
From the empathy stage, we then start to define In this stage, you begin to define the problem based on the information you’ve acquired in the empathy stage. You begin to analyze the information you have acquired.
Back to Daavi’s G)b3, she will be able to identify her target market based on the information she has. With all this, she may come to a consensus that the other G)b3 joints within the community do not provide the kind of service the people want. Then she leverages that.
The third stage is to Ideate. In this stage, you have information from your users and the problem statement, and now you will need to brainstorm on the information gathered.
In Daavi’s case, after analyzing the information she has acquired, she will know how she will prepare the G)b3 to suit her customers, how the packaging will be done, and how her pricing will be based on the information gathered as well as the time she should prepare the food.
After Ideation, Prototype. The prototype stage is basically an experimentation stage. You create a mockup, give it out to a couple of friends and family to try out, and expect feedback and work on it.
Daavi will prepare a sample of her G)b3 and give it out to family and friends to taste for feedback.
Lastly, the testing stage. The testing stage means taking measures to check the quality, performance, or reliability of something, especially before putting it into widespread use. After prototyping your product, you test for feedback, and then this feedback is taken into consideration and worked on.
In Daavi’s case, she will begin by preparing a small quantity of food and give it out to random people within the community for honest feedback. Some may want the G)b3 in plantain wraps, others in packs, and others in plastic bags. Some may want some pepper in their beans; others may want rice with their beans aside from the riped plantains; and others may also want pepper in their beans. From the information gathered, she can improve her services and then scale up her business.
In conclusion, design thinking is a repetitive process; it’s like a never-ending cycle. And it is argued by many that it is not really a linear process. Others may prefer to test their products before building a prototype.