A comprehensive definition of design thinking is that it is a methodology used by innovators and entrepreneurs to solve complex problems through empathy, to find desirable solutions for their clients. The process is systematic, characterized by human-centric attributes which support problem-solving. This approach has been adopted over the years when it became apparent and necessary for solutions to embrace value-addition and creativity to solve societal problems. Over time, business operations have witnessed a transition from traditional project-oriented ways of assessing performance to a healthy process-oriented system. With the gradual acceptance of change in the working structure, more innovative practices have been integrated into business functioning, to allow room for effectiveness. In this light, the design thinking methodology has seen progressive uptake and comprehension in boardrooms and enterprises.
To understand design thinking from a practical approach let’s look at a basic yet important design of a shoe. Different types of shoes have been designed to suit different environments, to eliminate the different problems that result in one pain which is physically hurting ones feet. Walking bare feet increases the chance of stubbing ones toes against objects hence triggering an emotion. This emotion is pain and it immediately makes us take an appropriate course of action to prevent it from reoccurring. Therefore, one possible course of action is purchasing or borrowing shoes. Although the immediate problem has been eradicated we still face other problems that can cause pain. For instance, if weather patterns change and it suddenly begins to rain, we may have shoes but we might not have the appropriate shoes to walk on mud. Hence, to address problems such as ruining our shoes or getting infected with bacteria, we opt to purchase rain boots. Essentially, all these solutions are geared towards different problems that address one pain.
Having examined the illustration above, it is clear that design thinking follows a methodological approach. This involves empathy, problem definition and identification, idea generation, prototyping and communication.
In a nutshell, design thinking can be contemplated as a process for formulating illusions of deterministic innovation. It has effectively encouraged a creative approach because it is action oriented towards creating a preferred solution to a particular problem that causes pain therefore eliminating assumptions and relying on facts.