So you want to be a design thinker? Design Thinking 101: 6 Resources to Kickstart your Learning Journey
So you want to be a design thinker?
Fully adopting design thinking as a second nature will take time but there are best practices you can pick up with a tiny learning curve and benefit from instantaneously. Shall we?
WTF is design thinking?
You’ve surely heard the term design thinking being tossed around but let’s backtrack for a second to make sure we’re on the same page.
Tim Brown describes it on the IDEO blog as:
“a discipline that uses the designer’s sensibility and methods to match people’s needs with what is technologically feasible and what a viable business strategy can convert into customer value and market opportunity.”
Value and opportunity here does not refer solely to monetary measures, but to social impact as well.
Design thinking is not:
- some secret sauce that will dissolve problems and spit out fantastic new products by itself (almost!)
- about visuals, color palettes and other associations we conventionally hold with the word design
- a practice reserved only for “creative” people
- the same as lean startup or agile
- a fad
Design thinking is:
- a methodology to understand problems and design solutions
- a multidisciplinary approach, incorporating business, tech and human needs
- a process to help unlock creativity in anyone and any team
- (almost) the same as human-centered design
- a buzz word at the moment
All semantics aside, I believe you’re ready to start your journey.
6 Resources to Kickstart Your Design Thinking Learning Journey
The book — Change by Design
Tim Brown, CEO of the design and innovation firm IDEO, has released a book detailed how the value of design is no longer restricted to product and how design thinking can benefit companies across industries and size. Get it here.]
The TED talk — Designers, Think Big
For the non-readers amongst us, the same Tim Brown has granted us with a TED talk summarizing most of what is said in the book and serving as a viable 20-minute introduction to design thinking. Watch it here.
The online course — IDEO’s Intro to Human-Centered Design
For online learning, IDEO and Acumen partnered on this free, self-paced course running you through all the fundamentals. Enroll here.
The practice — D-school’s Virtual Crash Course
D-school’s Virtual Crash Course offers you a chance to practice with a more hands-on, experimental approach. In this 90-minute experience you will be taken through a full design cycle and apply your learnings by participating in The Gift-Giving Project. Practice here.
The live course — Design Thinkers Academy
For the best in-person workshops, I recommend Design Thinkers Academy. Their HQ is in Amsterdam but they have hubs and practitioners all around. Check the agenda here. They also organize an annual Design Thinking Conference in October if you’re going for the deep dive.
The toolkit — Design Kit
Once you’re ready to get hands-on, Design Kit has collected a good set of activities, tools and methods with detailed instructions for you to practice with. Start tinkering here.
Be on your way and start discovering the immense value and yet intuitive logic of this method for yourself. I’d love to hear if this was helpful to you, and if you have any other sources to add to the list.
Thanks for reading!
Nadia Piet is freelance human-centered designer, innovation facilitator and multidisciplinary business creative with a passion for the digital realm and emerging tech.