Design Thinking

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The design thinking Process

Design thinking is an approach that uses a set of methods to solve problems that effectively manage risks by placing small bets fast. It is therefore an approach best suited to conditions of high uncertainty.

Design thinking is an approach best suited to solving problems with conditions of high uncertainty. It uses a set of methods to solve problems effectively while managing risks by placing small bets quickly. (Liedtka, Ogilvie & Brozenske 2014)

The design process is human centred. It starts with looking at and understanding the present rather than the future and allows for innovative ideas to be created from insights into the current reality. (Liedtka, Ogilvie & Brozenske 2014).

In their book ‘Designing for Growth: A Design thinking Toolkit for Managers’, Liedtka & Ogilvile (2011) identify four basic questions that correspond to each stage of the design thinking process.

The four basic questions are: What is? What if? What wows? What works?

The black lines around the questions in the diagram below represent the widening and narrowing of our filed of vision as each question is explored. In the early stages of the design process our view is widened as ideas are generated. In the latter stages ideas and options are narrowed down to the most effective. (Liedtka & Ogilvile 2011).


What is? Seeks to understand and explore the current reality
What if? Begins to envision a new future and explore possibilities
What wows? Narrows down some ideas into options that ‘wow’
What works? Taking solutions into the marketplace.

Leidetc and someone have then identified 10 tools that are essential to the design thinking process and allow the design thinker to navigate their way through the process and effectively address all four questions. (downloaded book page 71)

Liedtka &…...

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