Tag Archive | design thinking models

Using empathy as part of a creative process in Design Thinking

Our assignment was to write a blog article in pairs reflecting on the topics discussed in the course Design Thinking. The two-day intensive course during September 4-5th 2020 was held by Katja Tschimmel, the founder of design agency Mindshake and the model Evolution 6² or E6² (2018), and our tutoring teacher Päivi Pöyry-Lassila. 

Picture of Evolution 6² model. Source: Pinterest.

In our group we used the model E6² to identify opportunities for the topic Social Distancing in Educational Institutions. We started from the Emergence phase and gradually made our way to Exposition which we finished with an elevator pitch. Our group chose to focus on the topic of promoting more outdoor activities in educational institute grounds. 

Photo of rapid prototyping with LEGOs during the course. Source: Personal photos.

Personal learnings about the Design Thinking Masterclass in a dialogue: 

Laura: This was the first time I participated in this kind of workshop and I was amazed what a creative environment I had boarded into. I felt enormously inspired to be surrounded by students who have such a variety of professional backgrounds and knowledge, they are bringing to the classroom. During the process I discovered two crucial themes: interacting and communication with the users cannot be emphasized too much, their ideas and viewpoints should be heard closely. Another theme is that presenting your concept orally in front of the audience truly helps you crystallize the ideas you have. 

Joni: I agree with Laura. There was much to learn just from this introduction course. For me there were two revelations during this course. According to Tschimmel all people can be creative when enough experts in a domain (e.g. company) accept the idea as innovative. Previously I had only considered artistic people as creative, not myself. During the course Tschimmel also highlighted not to “fall in love with your first idea”. I cannot emphasize enough how valuable this realization was and how many ideas would have been left undiscovered if we settled for our first one. 

Importance of empathy and creativeness in Design Thinking 

In conclusion, we highlighted several personal key learning’s from the course. Looking at the related materials there are several recurring themes. First Tschimmel (2020), Brown (2009), Kolko (2015) and Kouprie and Sleeswijk (2009) all highlight the importance of empathy in Design Thinking. Secondly, already in 2009 Brown argued that interdisciplinary teams can “tackle more complex problems” than multidisciplinary teams. This also supports empathetic processes as according to Kouprie and Sleeswijk (2009) individuals have an “empathic horizon” that limits the ability to empathize beyond certain characteristics such as nationality, race etc. The empathetic horizon can be improved with time and experience. This information encourages us to push ourselves out of our comfort zone. 

Source: Unsplash.

These themes were also present during our group work. Using the E6² model’s Design Thinking methods we were able to work in an interdisciplinary team and innovate a new concept, prototype it and pitch it to our class just within two days. Through group and individual interviews, we could start to understand the importance of empathizing. This success made us realize that Design Thinking is truly a universal concept that enables all individuals to be creative within their own domain. 

Written by Laura Parviainen-Vilo and Joni Prokkola  

References and links: 

Brown, Tim (2009). Change by design: how design thinking can transform organizations and inspire innovation. New York: HarperCollins Publishers. 

Kolko, Jon (2015). Design thinking comes of age (https://hbr.org/2015/09/design-thinking-comes-of-age). Harvard Business Review September 2015, 66-71. 

Kouprie, Merlijn & Sleeswijk Visser, Froukje (2009). A framework for empathy in design: stepping into and out of the user’s life. Journal of Engineering Design Vol. 20, No. 5, October 2009, 437–448. 

Tschimmel, Katja (2020). Design Thinking course lectures, September 4–5 2020. Laurea University of Applied Sciences. Espoo, Finland. 

Tschimmel, Katja (2018). Evolution 6² Toolkit: An E-handbook for Practical Design Thinking for Innovation. Mindshake. 

Mindshake, Portugal: https://www.mindshake.pt

Mindshake in Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/mindshakept/ 

Unsplash: https://unsplash.com

Playfull innovation

Play has evolved as an advantageous and necessary aspect of behaviour. Why is it then that we so often leave it on other side of the office door? (Michlewski & Buchanan, 2016)

playground

The power of Design Thinking

Design Thinking is as a creative way of thinking which leads to transformation and evolution of new forms of living and to new ways of managing business. Designers not only develop innovative solutions by working in teams with colleagues and partners, but also in collaboration with the final users.

Its visual tools (drawing, sketching, mapping, prototyping, brainstorm, etc) help professionals to identify, visualize, solve problems and preview problems in innovative ways. Enable designer inquire about a future situation or solution to a problem and transform unrealized ideas into something to build on and to discuss with colleagues, final customers and other stakeholders.

Design Thinking characteristics are analytical and emphatic, rational and emotional, methodical and intuitive, oriented by plans and constraints, but spontaneous.

Models

Several process models have been presented. The criteria used to choose the more appropriate model include the characteristics of the task, its context, the number and composition of the team and its dynamic and the available time for the innovation process.

Some examples are: IDEO’s 3 I and HCD Models; Model of the Hasso-Plattner Institute; 4 D or Double Diamond Model of the British Council; Service Design Thinking (SDT) Model; Evolution 6² Model.

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To me sound of SID is like a sound of music

How I found my inner spark of Services Innovation and Design Thinking? I was one of the lucky ones who got in to Services Innovation and Design (SID) Programme at Laurea University of Applied Sciences. We newcomers met for the first time during our 3-day kick-off session in September 2014. I had high expectations for the class but I also kept my mind open because I didn’t know if my expectations were fair.

I think Design Thinking was a good subject to start with. We had workshops during the study days and we got to know each others. I learnt a lot from my group but also of myself. For example I noticed that the passed working years in the traditional business life had moulded the standards and rules around me. And now it was time to let them go and start to think about services and business in a new and innovative way.. in a SID way.

We had inspiring lecturers leading our workshop; Gijs van Wulfen, the founder of FORTH Innovation method, and Katja Tschimmel, a researcher, coach and a famous Design Thinker.

Gijs   Katja

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