Tag Archive | design process

Recipe for successful design process

Modern design thinking does not replace the traditional approach to design but rather adds a new layer. Today we think broader: anyone can learn to apply design thinking to any innovation challenge (Carlgren, Elmquist & Rauth 2014, p. 30). The imagination is the only limit since design thinking can be utilised to the traditional products as well as to ecosystems (Brown, TED talk, 15:34). Therefore, it can be used for improving corporate management, cracking climate change challenge or enhancing healthcare services in developing countries, just to mention few examples.

Liedtka and Ogilvie (2011, p. 21) have taken a systematic approach towards modern design thinking and suggest a set of questions which give guidance through-out the design process: What is? What if? What wows? What works? According to them, by asking these questions we are able to have a systematic approach to wider variety of design challenges. The model (see Figure 1) takes Tim Brennan’s well known design-is-a-mystery drawing a bit further and gives a practical tool-set for each of the four stages. Visualisation is the common thread that runs through the entire process. 

Figure 1. Design process by Liedtka and Ogilvie (2011).

I would like to walk you through the four critical steps of this design process. In order to have a bit richer view over the process, additional remarks will be included from Katja Tschimmel and Tim Brown.

What is – Take a reality check!

To find viable future opportunities, we need to study the present and find “real” people’s needs and desires (Tschimmel 2019). Furthermore, we need to look at how customers currently frame their problems and the mental models. While studying this, we should understand the culture and the context in order to gain a comprehensive view (Brown, TED talk, 5:38). 

Part of the task is achieved by analysing existing data. In addition, tools like media analysis, journey mapping, value chain analysis and mind mapping are needed to gather qualitative information. 

What if – Vision the perfect world!

In order to be truly innovative, think variety, multiple perspectives and fight against stereotypes (Tschimmel 2019). Also, scout for new trends and uncertainties. Based on your study and the information gathered in the previous stage, we can now formulate hypotheses about the desirable future. Tools like brainstorming and concept development have been proven to be useful when envisioning the future.

Generating new ideas by brain writing and sketching.

What wows – Find the sweet spot!

Now we need to make some difficult choices in order to hit sweet spots that offer significant value for the customers in a profitable way. This requires testing the hypotheses carefully and studying the data available (Liedtka & Ogilvie 2011, p. 127). The ambitious goal is to test the future in the present – not an easy task. Assumption testing, business canvas, desktop walkthrough and rapid prototyping, for example, are valuable tools in this process.

Desktop walkthrough over the service concept with legos.

What works – Fail early to succeed sooner!

Learning by making is the key for the successful design process (Brown, TED talk, 7:03). Prototypes speed up the process and give us critical information on strengths and weakness of our solution. In this learning-in-action-process it is important to work in fast feedback cycles in order to minimise the experimenting costs and to maximise the information flow (Liedtka & Ogilvie 2011, p. 33). Remember, that without some failures nothing truly innovative will not merge (Tschimmel 2019). Consumer co-creation, prototype testing and learning launch are examples of usable methods in this stage.

Prototyping with social robot in elderly service center.

And what are my key learnings from this “spiced-up” version of the design process? Firstly, success does not come for free: it requires a large set of tools, systematic thinking, holistic perspective and willingness to fail. Secondly, active collaboration is the key for truly successful innovations and meaningful designs. Thirdly, people must be kept in mind every step of the way – or as Tim Brown puts it – “Design is too important to be left to designers!” (Brown, TED talk, 10:45).

References

Carlgren, L, Elmquist, M. & Rauth, I. 2014. Exploring the use of design thinking in large organisations: Towards a research agenda. Swedish Design Research Journal 1/14.

Liedtka, J & Ogilvie, T. 2011. Designing for growth: A design thinking tool kit for managers. Columbia University Press. 

Tschimmel, K. 2019. Design Thinking lectures on 6–7 September 2019. Laurea University of Applied Sciences.

Tim Brown. 2009. Design Thinking: TED Talk. https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=3&v=J0ZbVAQ8bWI

Is Design Thinking the right approach for every development project?

Heljä Franssila
First-year SID student and comms professional


The first three-day study phase focusing on the basics of Design Thinking left me inspired, yet somewhat confused. When going back home after our last day together, I could not help wondering if design thinking really is a method we can use for every development project.

Under the guidance of Katja Tschimmel, our group had set out to find a solution for establishing an agenda for an ecologically sustainable Laurea University, starting from the Leppävaara campus.

In our task, we quickly ran through the phases of a design process from understanding to testing, following the Design Thinking Model of the Hasso-Plattner Institute (Tschimmel 2012, 9), or from discovery to delivery, as in the model of the Design Council (2012, 9) – or from emergence to exposition, as in the E.6² model by Tschimmel’s company Mindshake. Our case was solid in the sense that the challenge we were facing is a real one – how to create a sustainable campus in the times of an ecological crisis – but instead of creating a holistic action plan for the university, the design thinking method basically lead us to developing a mobile app for students. It was obvious that in real life, this kind of solution alone would not help Laurea to a more sustainable future in the large scale.

As an answer to my doubts, Jeanne Liedtka and Tim Ogilvie assure me in their book Designing for Growth (2011) that we still need business thinking in addition to design thinking tools (Liedtka and Ogilvie 2011, 29). They enlist three reasons why combining business thinking models with design thinking tools leads to success. Here, in the context of our campus project, I understand the concept of ‘business thinking’ as a synonym to strategic thinking or other more traditional management models. Liedtka and Ogilvie argue that business thinking is needed because novelty, which is sought after in design innovation processes, does not necessarily create value, and sometimes even value creation is not enough. There are many other elements which must be taken into account, too, when managing a business, or, in our case, running a university (2011, 29).

Finally, according to Liedtka and Ogilvie, we must always consider whether the world really needs our innovation (2011, 29). This is probably the most crucial factor why our group’s innovation would not have survived the testing phase in the design process, as it simply would not deliver a viable solution to the challenge of a sustainable university.

Drawing portraits was a clever way of getting to know each member of our group. It also simply helped us to remember who is who. Yet it felt difficult to sketch a face of a class mate who you didn’t know at all, as the results of one-minute drawings weren’t most flattering! Image: Heljä Franssila


Victory with visuals

What are the strengths of design process, then? For me, the biggest revelation from Tschimmel’s masterclass and the study materials was the power of communicating ideas with visualisations, such as sketches, drawings and prototypes. As communications professional, I have thought to have understood the high value of photographs, videos and illustrations, but now I realise how strongly my thinking is dominated by words and text.

Tschimmel, as well as Liedtka and Ogilvie, encourage us to test and improve our hypothesis by experimentation (Liedtka and Ogilvie, 2011, 39), which can be easily done by rapid sketches and unpolished prototypes (Tschimmel 2012, 16). Using visualisation instead of text decreases the project risk remarkably, as text is much more open to interpretation than pictures and illustrated stories. The text easily leads each participant to imagine their own mental schema about the topic, which can lead to arguments when differing ideas are found out (Lietdka and Ogilvie 2011, 51). It is also recommended to do rapid prototyping as soon as possible, as it is cost-effective to fail at the early stage than in later development (Tschimmel 2012, 16).

In our study project, it first felt impossible to me to visualise my ideas either by drawing or by building legos (“why can’t I just write it!”)  but I see it now very clearly why developing visualisation skills is absolutely necessary for an aspiring service designer such as me. I am looking forward to my future as the first-rate lego builder.



References:

Liedtka, J & Ogilvie, T. (2011). Designing for Growth: a design thinking tool kit for managers. Columbia University Press. 

Tschimmel, K. 2012. Design Thinking as an effective Toolkit for Innovation. In: Proceedings of the XXIII ISPIM Conference: Action for Innovation: Innovating from Experience. Barcelona.

Tschimmel, K. 2019. Design Thinking. Lectures. Held on 6-7 September, 2019. Laurea University of Applied Sciences.

Design Process Three Ways

By Salla Kuuluvainen

I participated in Dash Design – an event that was preparation for Europe’s largest hackathon DASH.
In Dash Design we heard from three companies and their take on design process: Smartly.io, Pentagon Design and Iittala.

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What became quite clear at the event was that the design process can look very different and still be creative, effective and produce great results. At Smartly.io, the process is very well defined and clear structures exist. Same could be said about Pentagon Design, who brought an example of rebranding licorice for Fazer. At Iittala, there was no structured process, instead the new designs were created with a much looser approach of experimentation.

Designing with Clear Roadmaps at Smartly

Smartly.io helps companies with automatized online marketing solutions. It’s a fast paced tech company that prides in innovating fast. Smartly has a very clearly defined roadmap for product development, with a clever side process for more experimental innovation. All solutions are created close to the customer and tested internally and externally.

3 takeaways from Smartly

• Everyone at the company is involved in the design process, not just designers.
• Rapid prototyping and early release of new features is crucial.
• It’s important to work very close to the customer.

Deep Diving with Pentagon Design

Pentagon Design is a consultancy that helped a very well known, old Finnish company Fazer in rebranding some of their most classic licorice products very successfully towards a more premium category product. Pentagon Design used a very thought through approach that was based on the Double Diamond and included lots of testing with customers and feedback, and for example a process called Deep Dive that investigated the environments and user and even employee perspectives of the products in thorough manner.

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An example of Pentagon Design’s analytical approach to design process

3 takeaways from Pentagon Design

• For a design agency, it’s good to have a strong, tried out framework for the design process, which can even be adapted to the client company’s own processes.
• It’s important to let the customers in the design process from early phases to get the right feedback.
• The design team should have the right mixture of competences.

Experimenting at Iittala

Iittala is known for every Finn, it is a very traditional interior design brand. Jeremiah Teslin from Iittala talked about the different approaches he had used when rebranding and redesigning some of Iittala’s established product categories.

Personally for me it was interesting how much Teslin talked about needing to convince the organization to support the new designs, and how he used visual rebranding, creation of attractive images of the new products and setting up spaces to showcase the products as well as organized different kinds of internal innovation events to create engagement in the company for the new products. So in a way the design process for him was much more about change management than just about coming up with new products.

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An example of visualization of products

3 takeaways from Iittala

• Work with the right people.
• Make the ideas visible and tangible for the whole company.
• Facilitate behavior change with design: We don’t need new mugs, instead we need better coffee moments.

Generally what all of these three companies had was passion and awareness for the process of design, even if they worked in quite different areas and with different kinds of tools and methods. That enthusiasm is also my main takeaway from the event!

DASH Boom Bang!

“You gotta get stuff done.” – Jeremiah Tesolin, Iittala.

Event: DASH – Design Process

Time: 13.9.2018 17.00 – 19.00

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Host presenting DASH – Design Hackathon

Place: Clarion Hotel Helsinki (Tyynenmerenkatu 2, 00220 Helsinki)

 

”Interested to discover new design processes and learn different approaches to design? DASH – Design Process gathers three companies from different fields to uncover their design process.

Using different design processes help you to work more efficiently and to break down a large project into manageable chunks. Architects, engineers, scientists, and other thinkers use design processes frequently to solve a variety of problems.”

 

 

 

 

Keynote1: Roman Musatkin, Product Designer at Smartly.io

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Roman Musatkin


What defines design process?

  1. Maximizing Pruduct Development speed
  2. Building the product with the most advanced customers
  3. Everyone does customer support
  4. Everyone is involved in the design process

At Smartly.io product building is fast: plan – design – release a feature the same week. Customers give instant feedback about user experience issues or bugs in the system. They use whiteboards, sketching and Invision to keep the process agile and not too complex.

 

 

 

Keynote 2: Virva Haltsonen, Senior Strategist at Pentagon Design

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Virva Haltsonen

 

 

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Fazer Lakritsi new release, had try it after Dash 🙂

Virva presented Fazer Lakritsi concept project as a case design process. Together they built a portfolio that is turning settings around in liquerice business.  Pentagon design uses double diamond as the basic design process, normally the prosess is divided in five phases each with own meaning in the iterative project. Their long-lasting design thinking agency relies in simple formula in success: empathy + creativity + rationality = user
needs + business success. Pentagon designs attributes their success in ”Rational passion” combining rigorous procesess and creativity. Virva emphasised that it is important to learn quite quickly. Find answers to questions like ”How do we know that we are onto something interesting?” ”Who should be involved?”

 

 

 

Keynote 3: Jeremiah Tesolin, Creative Director at Iittala

Jeremiah Tesolin explained design process more through guidelines about how to develop a company:

  • Making it relevant
  • Working with what the company is really good at
  • Doing something a bit wild
  • Working with the right people
  • Familiar yet surprisingly new

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Jeremiah Tesolin

 

It was very interesting to hear three keynotes about the same topic with three quite different companies. They all had a lot in common in their design processes though. The dominant theme seemed to be doing things. Doing things fast. It of course fits well to the hachathon theme coming up, but also about being efficient is important in modern world today. Being agile in development process and maximizing product development speed keep you at an advantage point when comparing to competitors. Rapid prototyping and other methods are important, because you need to learn quite quickly about what to do with your next move. Doing things from scratch ’till release fast gives you opportunity to also grow fast if you do your process right.

In order of doing design process right, all three companies have another thing completely the same: getting customers involved. Having customers involved in the design process helps you to understand the users needs and get genuine feedback. Some build the product together with the most advanced customers, others are making things relevant by understanding the context of use. As Jeremiah Tesolin said: “You own the vase, but you bring the flowers into your life.”

Just as building services with clients/customers/users, you also need to involve everyone in the company in the design process. Sharing the knowledge in “Friday demos” or talking to people stimulates your brain to new ideas. Working with the right people creates objects and services people love. A lot of the times sharing and learning is done by tools such as whiteboard, InVision, Slack, Pinterest, photographing and other things that help you visualize things.

One has to make exceptions to the system and create change towards collaboration and new contexts for services and designs. New moments, new experiences, new uses, new behaviours, new relationships, new degrees of funcion.

 

”Dash is organized by Aalto Entrepreneurship Society, the largest and most developed student entrepreneurship community in Europe. Aaltoes organizes various events and programs to promote entrepreneurship and help early-stage startups to start their ventures. Aaltoes is behind events and programs such as Kiuas, early-stage startup incubator, and FallUp, Europe’s entrepreneurship event for students.”

 

The author Siru Sirén is MBA student in Futures Studies and Customer-Oriented Services in Laurea UAS// Licenced social service professional

 

More info and ideas:

https://www.dash.design

https://www.smartly.io

http://www.pentagondesign.fi/fi

https://www.iittala.com/fi/fi/tarinamme

https://www.fazer.fi/tuotteet-ja-asiakaspalvelu/tuotemerkit/fazer-lakritsi

https://www.invisionapp.com

https://slack.com

https://www.nordicchoicehotels.fi/hotellit/suomi/helsinki/clarion-hotel-helsinki/

https://www.helsinkidesignweek.com

*Article-photo taken as a screenshot from Dash website

Design when everybody designs

When, a couple of years ago, I announced I was going to quit my job to attend the HPI School of Design Thinking, most of my family and friends thought I was about to neglect the business path I had been following to find my true self in sketching trees on a notebook. (Which, by the way, is a back thought I never really excluded).

Later on, when sitting next to a scientist, a film producer, a psychologist and a dancer, all aiming to become design thinkers, I wondered what would bring us all together.

Once clarified that our goal was not to become excellent drawers, what does design mean to us? And if background is not a differentiator, what’s that make us feel in the right place?

Tim Brown (2008) lists a number of characteristics shaping the profile of a design thinker:

  • Empathy, as in the ability to observe situation from multiple perspectives
  • Integrative thinking, as in approaching a problem holistically
  • Optimism, as in having trust in finding a solution that fits, no matter how blurry the process is
  • Experimentalism, as in curiosity and resilience to failure
  • Collaboration, as in a natural tendency to work in teams

groupwork

This last point is further explained, again by Tim Brown in his book “Change by design”, where he summarizes the profile of  design thinker as a “T-shaped” person, meaning someone with a deep expertise that can clearly contribute to the outcome, but also with a certain capacity and disposition for collaboration across disciplines.

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I’m Developer, I’m not Creative?

I have always thought that since I’m ex-developer, I’m not creative. Developers only need to follow programming logic and mathematics rules to develop from business requirements. Then I found myself from Katja Tschimmel’s course on Design Thinking at Laurea and very quickly realized that I need to be very creative for next two days.

We started Design Thinking course with different exercises for being creative and some instructions how to be even more creative. We got some advice and ideas how to move ahead when you have total block.

Katja

Then Katja Tschimmel started to tell us about different kind of models of the design thinking process. Great, this would be easy after all, all developers love processes.

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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

GROUP DYNAMICS
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.

DESIGN PROCESS AND MODELS
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. 😉 Continue reading