What is Design Thinking?
Design thinking as a methodology illuminates complicated problems.
It’s human-centered, putting you in touch with users. It simplifies convoluted issues and clarifies thinking. The process is fluid, but tends to move through stages of empathizing, defining the problem, ideation, prototyping, and testing. Some of these happen in different orders, at the same time, or are repeated. Whatever it takes to make an impact.
Through information gathering and collaboration, it forces us to ask questions and rethink problems, providing intuitive, innovative solutions.
Design thinking is also being minimized. People are taking skills that take years to master and reducing them to a template. This compulsion for streamlining and efficiency takes away from the thought and craftsmanship that goes into well designed products.
Templates Aren’t All Bad
…when you’re new and don’t have much capital. The truth is, templates can give you a tidy starting place. When you’re just starting out, they provide structure. They make sense; they’re easy to go from start to launch in hours. And there’s no reason why nascent brands shouldn’t use them.
But you’re going to grow, and those templates aren’t going to scale with you. When it’s time to stand out, you’ll need designers and design thinking. Deep exploration, concepting, and cultivating multiple ideas create innovative design and new perspectives.
Herbert Simon, author of Administrative Behavior, explains it well, “There are no judgments in design thinking. This eliminates the fear of failure and encourages maximum input and participation. Wild ideas are welcome since these often lead to the most creative solutions.”
Design thinking isn’t easy. And relying on patterns is tempting. You see something someone else has done; it worked for them, so you figure it’ll work for you. But it probably won’t. You don’t have their product, their voice, their branding. So why would you force your company into their design?
Dedicated designers strengthen your brand through design thinking. Through the processes of analyzing customer behavior, competitors, and markets, they capture your voice, empathize with your users, and expand your audience appeal. Prototyping and testing ensure your users get the best experience possible. And it’s done again and again to make sure it’s right every time.
With design thinking, you ensure the design meets your needs, because there is no one-size-fits-all solution. You elevate your brand and stay true to your voice, while maintaining established customers and growing your company.
A template is never going to get in touch with your users, audit your product, and analyze markets for you.
Taking Design Seriously
Artists don’t create by paint-by-numbers. We shouldn’t be designing-by-numbers either. It leads to boring, homogenous work. A wasteland of the same website for hundreds of different products. It’s like writing everything as a 5-paragraph essay for the rest of your life. Sure it works, but it’s beyond dull.
Design thinking means simplification, imagination, empathy, and insight. It means enhancing problem solving and design skills, not deteriorating them through templates or ‘streamlined processes’. When you take design thinking seriously, you get brilliant, innovative solutions. You speak to your users, and you let them speak to you.
Yes, it can be more pricey than that template you found. But shouldn’t it be? Well designed products, experiences, and interfaces are an investment. They’re wild ideas and creative solutions. They grow your brand, speak to your users, and scale with your company. Good design is a bet on the future, on your growth, and it’s a bet you should take.
Accomplice specializes in creating consumer experiences for today’s brands – from digital to physical spaces. Visit our website to learn more about the Accomplice team.