Design Thinking is a way of facilitating innovation and “thinking outside the box”. It has been around for the last couple of decades and is mostly used in developing new consumer products, but there is a lot of potential for it in policy making and public service delivery.
It can be described as a method, tool or mindset and is centered around the idea of not just asking what people want but finding out what they actually need.
Traditionally, a team goes through a six step process and it can be applied to any problem:
- Get your team together. A good team spirit is crucial but having a diverse team with different perspectives and experiences remember diverse teams are the most successful ones.
- Try to really understand the context of the problem you are trying to solve.
- Empathise with the people affected by the problem, your target audiences. Try to learn what they need, not necessarily what they want.
- Develop and ideate several solutions for the problem.
- Make a prototype of the best idea.
- Test it with the user.
If you encounter any obstacles or learn something that really changes your perspective on the problem, don’t worry about it. Keep your head up and go one step back. It’s totally normal and crucial for the success for things to change.
At the Innovation in Politics Institute, we have used Design Thinking for our Local Labs project, helping local communities come up with solution-oriented ideas to improve their area. If you have any questions about the method or would like to share your success stories, get in touch.