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19 May Design Thinking — breakthrough products through collaboration between tech, design & business

Design thinking — what is that? Contrary to thinking about design as a noun, Design Thinking is very much a verb; a process that allows you to find novel solutions to clearly defined problems. Fast Company summarizes the steps as (1) Define the Problem — targeting and framing the right problem to solve, (2) Consider Options — explore all solutions, no matter how wild, (3) Refine Options and Repeat (if necessary). Once product ideas have been developed, it’s time to test them with your customer by way of prototypes, minimum viable products or other lean feedback tools.

How using Design Thinking will fix Design Thinking. Embarking on a Design Thinking project may be difficult to sell to participants in other departments. Oftentimes, people will question its value and disconnection from technical feasibility and market reality. Bert Brautigam is optimistic that Design Thinking can be of great value , as long as it’s applied and measured correctly. That’s where the Product Manager steps in. They are needed to collaborate closely with the design, tech and business lead and develop a deep understanding of each discipline’s priorities. Furthermore, a Product Manager can use data to demonstrate the impact solutions have, using experiments and quantitative feedback.

How I introduced design thinking at my company. Once you get buy-in for a Design Thinking session, it’s time to structure an experience that promotes creative ideas, collaboration and willingness to question assumptions. Aizat Murtaza pitched the session in her company as a ‘Product Improv’ to make it “feel like a light, casual and informal workshop”. The team settled on a specific problem to solve — a health insurance comparison feature on their website — and set to work. At the beginning, she found it useful to play a video of famed design consultancy IDEO working through the design process for inspiration. Individuals from different departments then worked together to define, solve and iterate on experiments.

BonusUse Design Thinking for a better life.

Paul McAvinchey
Paul McAvinchey
paulmcavinchey@gmail.com

Paul has spent over 15 years building and collaborating on digital products with the likes of AOL and WMS Gaming. Currently, he leads business development for DXY Solutions, a leading product design firm in the Midwest with a focus on building beautiful applications for connected devices. Previously, he led product development for MedCity Media, a publishing startup acquired by Breaking Media in 2015. He's also a founder of Product Collective, a new initiative to connect product people from across the world online and in person at INDUSTRY: The Product Conference held in Cleveland annually.

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