Where does inspiration come from? It differs from people to people, but one of the best ways to find inspiration is to go out there and really connect with people, put yourself in their shoes – see life from their eyes, experiences, really ‘feel’ their problem and then you might solve their problem with the same intensity and passion like you would want to solve a problem of your own.
Design thinking is a new way to find solutions to problems where we might need to think intuitively and taking into account emotions of people by truly connecting with them. It can be used to solve problems which cannot be solved rationally, analytically which doesn’t have a fixed data to analyze. It can be used to solve a wide range of problems ranging from business, social, technical or even personal. It can be used in early envisioning of a project, pre-sales pitch, team-bonding offsites, and even something as specific as designing for the next sprint.
To promote this culture of innovation, creative thinking, and guide people to find inspiration through truly connecting with people, I conduct design thinking workshops internally as well as externally for customers, architects, peers, senior leadership within Microsoft.
These days there is a common misconception that design thinking workshops is about ‘post-its’ or simply brainstorming with wild ideas. But the main point of design thinking lies in the first stage which is ‘Empathy’ and in making quick and dirty prototypes with rapid feedback and learning cycles. I make it a point to focus on these two stages of ethnographic research and rapid prototyping in my design thinking workshops.
Having attended/conducted many design thinking workshops myself by different institutes, companies, college I have analyzed different methodologies such as Stanford, Inclusive Design, NESTA and various other toolkits. I can specifically tailor a workshop for a given problem, audience and time constraints.
I have conducted workshops with 40-50 people at a time with groups of 5-6. Some of the workshops I conducted are for Hannover Messe 2018, Microsoft Ready Las Vegas 2018, Mission Control offsites, Enterprise Architects team and for customer projects like the government of Zambia, and trainings for my own UX team. These workshops have always received phenomenal response, sometimes people describing it to me as a ‘breath of fresh air’, ‘creative way’ and moments of inspiration which they haven’t experienced in a long time.
In 2.5 years of design college I had to apply design thinking through all the design projects where special emphasis was given on the first stage ‘empathy’ where I did extensive ethnographic research, participatory observations, long interviews to capture and analyze insights. These projects would sometimes span months at a time.
In the past 3 years design thinking has gained great popularity and it is great to see the corporate world of technology and business being aware of design thinking. I hope this spirit continues and companies, educational institutes, or start ups apply this actively to all their projects. I would be more than glad to always conduct workshops to drive this culture of innovation.