Week Three

2 04 2011

18 March

Design Thinking?

“Thinking like a designer can transform the way you develop products, services, processes, and even strategy”. Tim Brown-Design Thinking

The whole concept of Design Thinking makes me literally “think” about design. What is design really? Where is it at this stage? And where is it going to? …and as a designer, where am I in all this? But for now, I rather get rid of all preconceived questions and to be open minded to be able to absorb as much as possible. In this topic I am a bit new and I do not know much about it but I know it has been going around for quite some time now. IDEO has been doing it for years and as we all know is one of the top design companies in the world.

And who is Opher Yom-Tov? Well, he works now for BT financial Group and he is the former Director of IDEO in Shangahi. Having him as a lecturer will be my closest encounter with IDEO´s aura. On this particular lecture on Design Thinking he addresses these issues directly. He has been in the game for quite some time now mostly working with centered design innovation teams for companies such as Apple, Nasa, Nike and General Electric among others. However, my personal and professional interests always go with ecology and sustainability. In this regard, a very interesting project developed in Africa by KickStart in which IDEO was part of the design team is the MoneyMaker water pump. It is designed to be an affordable micro irrigation system for small scale farmers in West Africa. With a product like this farmers can irrigate half of an acre powered by themselves. Personally I am quite convinced that this is the path design definitely should be taking.

After all this, what is Design Thinking? How a design thinker does looks like? And how design thinking really happens?

While browsing through the internet. Well, actually I was “googling” Tim Brown and I came across a Harvard Business Review´s paper on Design Thinking, by Tim Brown. In this paper he deals with some of the questions I have been asking myself for quite a while. He explains how a design thinker´s profile looks like. In this regard, characteristics like Empathy, Integrating thinking, Optimism, Experimentalism and Collaboration should be “embedded” in design thinkers. Additionally, design projects should have three phases: Inspiration, Ideation and Implementation which basically means: problems, solutions and their paths. Therefore, it is essential for designers to acknowledge all this and most important to focus design projects towards these concepts.  Additionally, a lot of people from all areas are experiencing with Design Thinking. I Came across David Armano´s blog about Logic and Emotions where he shares Paul Hughes´s Notebook on Design Thinking which is simply impressive. it deserves a blog by itself and more. Check it out and share this with others as well.

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References and Links:

Brown, Tim. “Design Thinking”, 2008. Harvard Business Review. Viewed on 20 march, 2010 < http://www.unusualleading.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/12/HBR-on-Design-Thinking.pdf>

Logic + Emotion

Notebook on Design Thinking

IDEO & MoneyMaker

KickStart MoneyMaker


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