Design thinking builds a creative mindset that improves problem-solving skills and deepens communication and understanding between team members
As creatures of habit, we develop routine ways of completing tasks. After time has passed, a once efficient routine can sometimes become a relentless rut. Transition from routine to rut is gradual and sometimes we fail to notice when it happens until we’re stuck in an unproductive loop without recognizing our situation.
A rut leads nowhere. It’s cramped, uncomfortable, and even though it’s familiar, you start to feel bad about being there. Spending too much time stuck in a rut can lead to a negative outlook on life and poor performance at work.
In order to prevent yourself from falling into a rut you need a new toolbox: one that contains innovative and inspiring processes for solving problems. Design thinking is that toolbox. It’s a problem solving process initially created by designers who were tasked with creating solutions to complicated problems.
Design thinking requires that you access your imagination, intuition, logic, and reasoning. Your goal is to establish a new mindset for creating solutions to your problems. Use the following steps to craft a design thinking process that works for you.
Identify the Problem
You need to get your problem out of your head and into the world so you can look at it and begin your problem-solving process. Schedule a specific time to identify the problem. Give yourself 30 minutes to simply analyze the situation and identify the problem and how it impacts your process at work.
Think About the Problem
Don’t just do something—sit there. It’s time to stop using routine and unproductive approaches to problem solving. Engaging a design thinking mindset requires that you actually think about the problem. Do your research. Brainstorm with the team. Investigate possible causes and pain points.
Create a Problem Profile
Assemble your materials into a clear profile of the problem. The shape of the problem becomes clear when you list the negative impacts it has on your team, your department, and your company. We often fail when we try solving problems because we haven’t identified the actual problem, just its impact or symptoms.
Imagine Your Solutions
Review the material you have gathered and begin creating solutions to the problems. Consider the positive and negative impacts of each proposed solution. Identify the solutions that offer the best outcomes for your problem and company and make sure that they’re in alignment.
Make a Decision and Act On It
At some point you have to put your solution into action. Work with your team members and monitor the results of your solution. The powerful quality of design thinking is that it allows you to test and retest solutions. Observe how the new process works and make changes as required using your new design thinking mindset.
Build a Parking Lot
Using a parking lot of ideas allows you to save important ideas that may not be related to the problem you’re trying to solve but might have potential for solving other problems. Use a notebook, sticky notes, an idea board, or a spreadsheet. Consider keeping your parking lot in view. A glance at it while you’re pondering a problem might provide inspiration you need at that moment.
What approach do you use for problem solving? How does it impact your productivity at work? Your experience is important to us. Please comment or this page or tell your story on Twitter and follow us @Cydcor, and please share this article with your friends.
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