Design Thinking –and quite a lot of doing

Throw-back Saturday. Sitting by my lap-top trying to find ways and words to describe my thoughts on last weekends’ Design Thinking -course. What are main learnings I took home from the weekend and what are the ideas I still carry with me after getting familiar with the recommended literature* on the topic? I grouped the outcome into three main themes; Group dynamics, Design processes and various models, Characteristics of a designer.

Outcome grouped

The two-day intensive course started off as it was to continue,
fast and intensive. 20170916_135752Right after the opening words, we were to get to know one another through inspiring bingo-game to find a person with the right feature. I got pretty close…
Another fun exercise was to play with the Mindshake Design Thinking cards to identify, pair and cluster the design techniques with the corresponding design actions. It was interesting to notice how quickly the groups started to work on the task productively without really knowing one another. Here’s a mini video-clip I took from my team in action. 😊

At least to me, these exercises managed to proof the importance of team-work (you could’ve not managed to fill in the paper without getting and giving help), point out the heterogeneous nature of our group (diversity is a strong asset in a design team), and strengthen our group dynamics from the very beginning.

All these warming up tasks prepared us for the bigger teamwork that was to follow. We were given a design case to work on by following the Evolution62 -model, which at times turned out to be not so clear. However, after refining our concept for several times we finally managed to come up with a brilliant idea and an applicable concept I still am proud of today. To get an idea on our design process journey, check the evidence. 😉

As Katja Tschimmel well puts it in her paper: “Design Thinking offers new models of processes and toolkits which help to improve, accelerate and visualise every creative process, carried out not only by designers, but in multidisciplinary teams in any kind of organisation.” In other words, even us new-beginners in designing, were able to come up with an innovative business idea with the help of the Evolution62-model. Also, when reading more on the different Design Thinking Models, one the key finding to me was that a design process is always iterative and no matter the model you follow, reflection, visualisation and proper documentation are important in a successful design process.

During the above illustrated exercise, we as a group experienced the same challenges any design team faces during the design process. It was also eye-opening to notice how team-support helped you in coping pressure and challenges. To me as a person, the most encouraging learnings from the whole session were to be able to handle uncertainty, pressure and failure -and what other characteristics and abilities are expected from a designer. Have a look at the picture to which I have collected the characteristics derived from my own experience and also pointed out by Cross and Tschimmel.

characteristics of a designer

What are your thoughts after the course? How do you feel about the different design models? Which design characteristics would you point out?

Jenny Jokinen, a rookie service designer

*Cross, Nigel 2011. Design thinking: understanding how designers think and work. Oxford: Berg Publishers. Tschimmel, K. (2012). Design Thinking as an effective Toolkit for Innovation.

3 thoughts on “Design Thinking –and quite a lot of doing

  1. You are quite true. The working under uncertainty is hard. We are thought at school that you have to give right answers. In design thinking you can never know what the end result is, just trust your intuition and learn from the the others and the end-users. To error is also a great learning.

  2. Thank you Jenny for the interesting blog post! I found the two intensive course days very inspiring and felt a lot the same thoughts that you wrote about in your post. What comes to the different design models, it was so invigorating to see how step by step, tool by tool you were falling more deeply into the idea the group was innovating and idealizing. With some models it was first hard to get started properly but when the team had discovered what was the idea and purpose of the model, the process really took you with it and you found yourself enthusiastically creating new inventions for it.

    Really looking forward for the upcoming study units and learning more of SD! 🙂

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