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What is Design Thinking?
Design thinking is the cognitive process associated with new concept development. It looks at problems collaboratively to garner a deeper understanding. The objective of design thinking is to address difficult problems through:
- Framing Problems – Exploring the problem, recognizing the context, and reorganizing and restructuring the problem in pursuit of a method of addressing the problem or a solution.
- Focus on Solutions – Solution-focused cognitive strategies are distinct from problem-focused strategies (scientific). This allows an alternative approach to understanding the problem at hand.
- Abductive Reasoning – Inferring solutions to a problem from information, experience, and non-deductive methods of thinking. This generally includes elements of emotion or affect in the reasoning process, rather than just logic.
- Modeling – This concerns the translation of abstract concepts to fixed, concrete objects.
Note: Creative designers go back and forth between their understanding of the context and their focus on solutions to better understand the problem at hand. The effect is a deeper understanding of the problem and the generation of more ideas as solutions. There is a heavy focus on observation and inquiry.
Design thinking concerns such processes as:
- Context analysis
- Problem finding
- Creative thinking
- Testing and Evaluating
What are the Phases of Design Thinking in Innovation?
Researchers Plattner, Meinel, and Leider developed a 5-phase model for the design innovation process:
- Redefining the problem
- Needfinding and Benchmarking
Interestingly, these steps make up a system for design thinking, rather than a step-by-step approach.