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Use Design Thinking to Improve Your Life

Ever heard of design thinking? Companies like Apple, Airbnb, and SAP have used design thinking to create massive success and wins for themselves. Advocates hail design thinking as a template for everything from raising resourceful kids to improving doctor-patient relationships. And schools like Harvard and MIT teach design thinking courses to help students learn to problem solve.

So, what exactly is design thinking?

Design thinking is a creative, problem-solving strategy designers use to create solutions that are focused on the end result. Design thinking is also used as a way to create alternative strategies and solutions to problems in business, society, and in everyday life.

Or, for Jay Melone, partner at New Haircut, a design thinking software company that helps startups and Fortune 500 companies like Johnson & Johnson, Coach, and Springer, design thinking means building web and mobile applications, designing user-centered visual experiences, and developing digital infrastructures that solve problems. Jay led innovators in a design-thinking based contest at the 2017 Propelify Innovation Festival and also encouraged others to give design thinking a go the next time they have a problem to solve. 

Try using the five steps of the design thinking process to create innovation in your business and solve a problem for others:

  1. Empathize – Before you can solve a problem, first dive into the human experience of dealing with this problem. This might include talking to experts, immersing yourself in the situation, or collecting more data on the issue.
  2. Define – Create a definition of the problem that doesn’t just benefit you, but also benefits the client. (Great tips to creating design thinking problem definitions can be found here.)
  3. Ideate – Brainstorm solutions. No rules for this step, just a focus on interesting, innovative solutions. At this stage, all ideas are good ideas, because even the duds will pave the way to eventual gold.
  4. Prototype – Create a test or model of your solution to the problem for users to interact and engage with. This is prototype will then help you see the problems inherent in your potential solution.
  5. Test – Get users to engage with your prototype! Finally, use their feedback to create a tweaked and improved prototype…and eventually solve your problem.

For more great info on design thinking, check out New Haircut’s blog.

Watch highlights from Jay's talk at the 2017 Propelify Innovation Festival:

Want to hear more about design thinking?  Sign up for a complimentary Propelify Insider membership and receive future access to our library of incredible content and talks from innovators, changemakers, and entrepreneurial geniuses like Al Gore, Divyank Turakhia, Arianna Huffington, Jason Fiefer, Marcus Weldon and more.