No matter where you go, what you do, and which company you work for, every organization employs design thinking in some form or the other. If we look at the essence of design thinking, it is inbuilt in so many jobs and in the way that things are pursued, without most people realizing that there is a technical term for it. What seems to be a way of living for people has turned into a radical and innovative way of problem-solving and product development.
So, the hype of design thinking started raging in the early 2010s worldwide. Though this very concept has been in existence with humanity for decades, it was much later when this concept was formalized and presented creatively in the corporate and industrial world.
There is no doubt that with the introduction of design thinking, people can shift their product-centric thinking to human-centric solutions for different problems, which indeed focus on performing at one’s optimum capacity. So, if you also wish to build a career in design thinking or this subject interests you, this is the right place. Let’s start from the basics, i.e., design thinking for real.
What is Design Thinking?
In simple language, design thinking is an empathetic mindset combined with a set of tools and activities to help you solve problems creatively. For better understanding, let us see design thinking as a road map or a guide to solve any problem, where the basic framework remains the same. But the tools, activities, and steps undertaken would vary depending upon the understanding of the problem, the requirement of the subject, and several other factors based on the individual capacity of every human.
Here, the approach is more customer-oriented than product-oriented; the primary focus is on understanding the customer, understanding the issues, empathizing with it, and then developing a prototype based on the customer’s requirements. The customer’s feedback is the key here and is given the utmost importance while developing the end product keeping in mind what will serve our customer.
Steps to Design Thinking Process:
Step 1: Empathize – To start with the process, firstly, you need to know the person you want to solve the problem for. One needs to feel the real problem and issue to develop a creative solution; that is where empathy comes. If you can’t understand the root cause and the damage of the issue, you can’t get to its solution.
Step 2: Define the Problem- Once you have identified the subject, then comes the part of defining the problem. You have to identify the source of the problem to develop a mindful solution.
Step 3: Ideate Solutions- Create ideas around the curated assumptions filtered during the initial stages.
Step 4: Create a Prototype- Create solutions for the defined problem and develop a prototype as per the feedback provided by the customer and make the necessary changes along the way.
Step 5: Testing of Product- In the final stage of testing, after all the hit and trial, test how your product works for the customer and implement the same.
Essential Skills to Start a Career in Design Thinking
For a flourishing career in the field of design thinking, there are some fundamental skills one should master, such as:
- Problem-solving ability.
- Analytical thinking – Being a design thinker who works on different clients and problems requires a questioning mind with out-of-the-box thinking for reaching solutions that an ordinary person can’t.
- Feeling empathy for others helps in understanding the client and the problem, and if you cannot understand the customer who will be using the product you are creating, it probably won’t work.
- Having a curious and creative mind is a requisite for a design thinker, as it would be essential to come up with more and more ideas.
- Soft skills – In the field of design thinking, there are many people that you have to deal with on an everyday basis, i.e., clients, team members, managers, etc. So, having excellent command over soft skills is obligatory since there will be a lot of dialogues regularly.
How to Start Learning Design Thinking?
Design thinking can be an intimidating and challenging path at first to look from a career point of view, but indeed a creative and progressing field to be in. Once you start, there is no limit to the amount of exposure and creative satisfaction you can get from this line of work. To learn design thinking, first, you need to understand the basics of design thinking and incorporate the pre-requisite skills shared above.
There are multiple options available to learn design thinking depending on the cost and time a person is willing to devote. From traditional courses such as the design thinking course from Stanford to other online courses on design thinking, there is a wide variety of options to choose from.
Since design thinking is a relatively new and different field from conventional courses, there is a lot of data and information available online on e-learning platforms straight from the experts themselves. There is an abundance of knowledge available on anything and everything in every possible form, whether Youtube or articles, and everything is just a click away at your convenience.
Design Thinking Certificate
To start a career in the design thinking field, apart from the basic skill set listed above, you would at least need a Bachelor’s degree. And depending upon the individual requirements of the industry, some of the careers also require a Master’s degree. For people seeking to enter the creative field and upskill their level of expertise, learning design thinking could act as an excellent boost for their respective careers.
Some people wish to get their certification while working side by side; for them, design thinking certification programs are best suitable for learning design thinking as they will give them an edge over their peers.
In a Nutshell
The bottom line is in terms of acquiring skills, design thinking may not seem as complex, but in reality, it’s not that simple to apply everything that you read. It requires an extraordinary amount of skill set in the actual implementation. You may need the guidance of a professional to walk you through the unique path of learning design thinking. This field has so much untapped potential for growth and boosting your career.
There is so much information online, and universities across the globe provide several design thinking courses. People from different avenues and fields can move a step ahead in the hierarchy by learning design thinking and doing the same job with a more unique and creative approach.
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