There are many variants of the Design Thinking process in use today, and they have from three to seven phases, stages, or modes. However, all variants of Design Thinking are very similar. All variants of Design Thinking embody the same principles, which were first described by Nobel Prize laureate Herbert Simon in The Sciences of the Artificial in 1969. Here, we will focus on the five-phase model proposed by the Hasso-Plattner Institute of Design at Stanford, which is also known as d.school. We’ve chosen d.school’s approach because they’re at the forefront of applying and teaching Design Thinking. The five phases of Design Thinking, according to d.school, are as follows:
Design Thinking is an iterative process in which we seek to understand the user, challenge assumptions, and redefine problems in an attempt to identify alternative strategies and solutions that might not be instantly apparent with our initial level of understanding. At the same time, Design Thinking provides a solution-based approach to solving problems. It is a way of thinking and working as well as a collection of hands-on methods.
When these participants are asked what has been the tangible outcome of the course, there are some interesting responses, like that of Laetitia Hoquetis, a Sales and Account Manager at Bloomberg. She says, “What I learnt applies to almost every situation, product, service, whether it is innovation or not. It helps us ask the right questions and then take the next steps.” Another participant, Tanut Karnwai, a Team Lead at the Beumer Group,says, “I got to understand how innovation works and how I can capitalise on it.”
In theory you probably could, and we’ve always been advocates for making the Design Sprint as open as possible, and our aim is to get as many people as possible using it (as long as they do it properly!) however to get all the information in a structured way, and all the toolkit and materials for free, would be really hard and would take hours of piecing bits of information together. Also, most of the information that’s readily available is on the internet (including our own) speaks to a total beginner audience, whereas the material in our course, while suitable for beginners, will give you a deep-dive into the Sprint and all the process and materials around it. The toolkit we provide as part of the course is the actual ‘live’ stuff we’re currently using with our Sprint clients, and we’ve never made it readily available, and to our knowledge, there isn’t anyone else putting this stuff out there.
Another important criterion is the expertise of the trainers, both into the subject as well as in training and facilitating teams and individuals. As mentioned before, some providers have build experience by applying the framework themselves, while building digital products. Others have a background as trainers (for example in Agile, Scrum or Design Thinking) and added Design Sprint training to their curriculum.
In the end the design effort and research should lead to an "Fact Based or Evidence Based Business Design". The design can have many forms, ranging from a business plan to a company website, but we advise that the design should at least contain a substantiated Value Web, a substantiated Business Model Canvas and a substantiated Value Proposition Canvas.
The great beauty of design thinking is that the essential elements combine to form an iterative approach. It may not always proceed linearly, but there’s a roadmap to help move you toward your solution. It starts with identifying a driving question that inspires you and your team to think about who you’re really designing for, and what they actually need. Next, you gather inspiration—what other solutions out in the world can help you rethink the way you’re working? Use that to push past obvious solutions, and arrive at breakthrough ideas. Build rough prototypes to make those ideas tangible, and find what’s working and what’s not. Gather feedback, go back to the drawing board, and keep going. And once you’ve arrived at the right solution, craft a story to introduce it to your colleagues, clients, and its users. Some of those steps may happen several times, and you may even jump back and forth between them. But that roadmap can take you from a blank slate to a new, innovative idea.
Are you looking for a way to introduce your team or organization to design thinking or this approach of a design sprint? Contact Darin at [email protected] for a design sprint training workshop to help your team gain awareness and hands on experience with this powerful approach to solve customer problems and design new products, services, and programs. We can also refer you to others who can help you with either learning for the first time or conducting your own design sprint.