This is part three of the Design Thinking blog series I had initiated a while ago. The first part was a premier on Design thinking titled – Design Thinking – A simple primer and the second one was on the first stage of design thinking i.e. Empathize
This blog talks about the Define stage. What does the word ‘define’ bring to your mind? For most of us the word define was usually in the context of definition and that is some we all remember a lot. For example we studied definition of force, acceleration, democracy and other terms which we assiduously committed to memory for those valuable marks during our school and college studies.
Being empathetic was a key to open one’s mind and be receptive to the needs of users who are wanting us to solve a problem. The first step is to understand deeply their needs, the stated and usually the un-stated motivation behind the necessity to seek a solution for their problem. This was a process where we kept our minds like a bottomless pit and absorbed all that the users had to tell and all the observations we made. This was flare out process. This process of defining the problem is a flare-in process where we zone in on the key elements of the problem that we are trying to solve. Define here implies the process of zoning on the key design elements of the solution and this process lays the foundation for the Ideate phase following.
In this process we would unravel all the findings in the earlier step. We would remove duplicate findings, merge similar findings and enumerate the needs of the users and statements from the users that insightful in the design process going forward. The final objective in this stage is to come up with a point of view (PoV) statement that is actionable going into the next stage of ideation.
The PoV provides a unique positioning on the design vision of the solution of the problem that is under study. This would allow the solvers to ideate with a clear focus and it would ensure that the clarity will generate a solution that addresses the foundations of the problem.
How do we know whether we have generated a good Point of View?
- A PoV should provide a focus and thereby dictates the boundary very clearly
- The solving team understand this clearly and inspires to come with an appropriate solution
- During the ideation stage all ideas are validated with this PoV for relevance and its appropriateness
- Each solver can independently work on his approach to provide alternative viable solutions
- Brainstorming in the ideation phase is facilitated to answer “how might we” statements
- The PoV should be catchy easily captures the mind and hearts of the solvers
- PoV provides the context and the concept for ideation
- Any conflict can be resolved by reverting to the PoV and in case the PoV is incorrect then the PoV is the one place for reformulation
- The innovation efforts are guided by the PoV
Once the PoV is done the Define stage is complete and the problem solvers can go on to the next phase – Ideate