Design Thinking: The Best Designers Happily Use Their Products


“Those who design the product are not the consumers who use them,” a seasoned lab technician justly complained to me, showing me countless examples of poor design, on one of my current Alcimed missions with an objective to reverse this problem.

The best designers engage with their end-users and happily use their own products.

Engage and empathize with others, who face the problem, as well as those who have overcome them.

Once again, we can apply these lessons to our entire lives, as Guerric describes at the end of today’s post, inspired by Designing Your Life.

Get Inside the Box! Not Just Think Outside It

reframe: what’s your unique perspective

… what do you (and your team) know about this challenge that no one else has considered? not in terms of your long-held expertise, but instead unique user-centered insights. what’s your specific vision (not solution) about how you want to change people’s lives? another way to think about this is: what assumption are you going to disrupt on your way to a successful solution?

as an example, alum doug dietz works as a designer of medical imaging equipment. a few years ago, sedating kids before MRI scans were the norm (as high as 80%). one day doug visited a hospital, and witnessed first-hand a family coming in for a scan and saw the true fear (and tears) of a seven year-old child and her parents. he realized the accepted attitude of just-get-through-it (and sedate children as needed) had to change. he needed to stop thinking about designing machines, and start thinking about designing experiences for those young patients. in the end, his new perspective resulted in significant reduction in child sedation on the pilot ‘adventure series’ rooms.

so, what’s your unique perspective? write down your human-centered point-of-view (not business plan)

– Hasso Plattner Institute of Design at Stanford.

Open Doors by Considering Multiple Options, Working with Other Great Minds, Not Limited by One Path or One Experience  and Make Your Solution More Than Words

Looking at a problem from more than one perspective always yields richer results.

Many times we are not aware of the filters we may be burdened with when we create answers to problems. In this stage opportunities appear. The trick is to recognize them as opportunities. Multiple perspectives and teamwork are crucial. Design thinking suggests that better answers happen when 5 people work on a problem for a day, than one person for five days. Designers have an advantage in the use of 2D and 3dimensional tools to demonstrate solutions and new ideas — tools which are almost always far more effective to demonstrate what is meant, than words.”

– Fast Company.

Enjoy Our October Book Feature: Designing Your Life

We’ve all had long weeks. You get the feeling that something’s draining your energy, but it’s tough to know exactly what it is. You try to convince yourself that it was just a series of bad weeks and that the next ones will be better.

But we all know that it’s not true.

It’s easy to get stuck in a life that doesn’t fulfill you. There’s clearly a problem to be solved. And this is where thinking like a designer can help you.

In Designing Your Life, Bill Burnett and Dave Evans share the results of years of teaching at Stanford: a set of design tools that will help you build the life you really want.

Think like designer: First, identify and define a problem. Then, generate multiple solutions. Finally, experiment with the most promising solutions, and tweak them until you find something that feels right.

Designers use this process to create new products; you can use it to design a productive career and a joyful life.