Apply Design Thinking To Your Life

Apply Design Thinking To Your Life

Design Thinking is mostly used in the corporate environment but it can also be used to solve personal problems, and to design and build your future. Traditional ways of problem solving has always been about what is the right answer and the repeatable proven processes.

Design Thinking, however, works on the perspective of asking what is the right question and the intuitive and responsive practice.  A human centric and yet creative problem-solving process that provides the “how-to” in order to think “outside the box”. 

Below you’ll find an overview of the Design Thinking process, and discover how you can apply design thinking to your life. In our earlier post, we shared the four phased model created by the Design Council(UK).  The following highlights the five steps of Design Thinking by Stanford University :


1. Empathize.

Design Thinking puts the people and their needs first. One must build empathy for the “who” and “what” that is important to them. Therefore, the first step of the process is to understand the problem from the perspective of the end-user.


2. Define.

With the insights gathered, the “define” step focuses on expressing the problem and to determine what the real challenge is. This step is concluded once a problem statement has been crafted and used as a solution-brainstorming springboard that provides focus and inspiration.


3. Ideate.

In step three, Design Thinkers uses a creative mindset to generate as many ideas and solutions as possible to solve the problem. This is where one must step out of the comfort zone and think out of the box. Brainstorming, mind mapping and wordnet are some tools available for innovation and creative ideation. 


4. Prototyping.

Prototyping is a critical step to move ideas into the physical world. Design Thinkers learn by doing and building their way forward. At this stage, best ideas (between three to five) are chosen to be turned into simple prototypes. 


5. Test.

Testing and receiving feedback creates opportunity to refine solutions and make adjustments to better improve the prototype. Ideate, prototype and test steps are repeated until the prototype meets the needs and wants of the end user.


So, how do we apply Design Thinking to our life?

Let’s start by applying Design Thinking in our jobs and careers and keeping in mind that Design Thinking can be applied to improve any areas of our life. Here are the steps:


1. Keep a Good Time Journal.

Assuming that you are feeling unhappy at work. To determine how to improve the situation, start keeping track of your daily activities for a week to see which activities you enjoy the most. Ask yourself the following questions:

▪   Which activities make you happy?
▪   When are you most mindful?
▪   Which activities make you feel calm and peaceful?
▪   When do you feel completely involved in the activity you’re carrying out?


2. Track Your Energy.

Log in your activities for a few weeks. Observe how the activities affect you and your energy levels. Go through the log will give you ideas on how to improve your routines.


3. Create Three Odyssey Plans.

In this exercise, think of several plans or paths they you could realistically pursue for the next five years of your life. Include not just career goals but also personal goals. This exercise is for you to realise that your life could go in many different directions, and the happiness in each one. 


4. Define Your Problem.

Using the information from step 1 to 3, define your problem. Below are some questions you could ask yourself to define your problem:
▪   Which skills should I learn to start moving in a new direction?
▪   What do I want to do next?
▪    How can I create a next better version of myself?
▪   What do I most need to change?


5. Ideate.

Knowing your exact destination and then making a plan and follow a route to get there is simple. But, the problem with redesigning your life is not easy and you don’t know exactly where you’re going. When you ideate, you come up with possibilities and alternatives and choose the best ideas and begin testing those ideas.


6. Prototype and Test.

Build your way forward by doing small experiments. Instead of just analyzing things in your head, get out there fast and try something in order to learn from the experience.


Continue the process and start making adjustments along the ways until you’re happy with the results. There is no right way or wrong way of doing it but the process that leads you to it. Take the first step by applying Design Thinking to your life.



Director – Digne Consult Asia Pacific

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