Last Tuesday February 29, CREATURE organized a Design Thinking Workshop with some of the trainees of the Paris Network. The activities spread along half of the day, in which every young project leader had a chance to present and discuss their projects in full detail, meet their new co-workers on this project, and provide insight into what specific requirements the CULTURESHIP platform should achieve for them.

This was the first session of at least two that we have planned. We are using this method to have better insight into what elements and feature we should include in our online platform to provide the best experience possible. Below, you will find a brief explanation of the Design Thinking method. In this first session, we worked on the Empathize, Define and Ideation phases. Our next session we will prototype and start testing the first snippets of our platform.

What is Design Thinking?

For those who are not familiar with the concept of Design Thinking, it is a human-centered, problem-solving process developed by Stanford University. It has proven to be wildly successful because it provides a space where users can voice their opinions about how the solution should be, and where designers can study with detail the difficulties that users experience every day. This economizes market research, provides improved probabilities of finding success with the solution, and allows users to have an active role by co-designing the solution.

The Design Thinking process can be as short as 90 minutes or stretch out over several months; it may target one or several populations, and can be swiftly adapted to meet the needs of those involved. It only requires two specific groups (users and designers), and to follow these chronological steps:

  1. Designers should Empathize with the users. Get to know them. Allow them the time and space to explain with full detail what their necessities are and what are their ideas for solutions.
  2. Once a relationship and a sense of trust has started to grow, Define what are the problems. Try to give all needs a name and a description. Use tags. Find patterns. Look for similarities.
  3. Ideate solutions. Brainstorm together from the wildest to the most modest solution. This is the creativity peak of the process. Come with as many solutions as you can, and then start narrowing down. Often, the most insane or atypical solutions can bring insight or evolve into more concrete and down-to-earth solutions.
  4. Designers will choose at least one solution and build a quick Prototype. Ideally, the quality of the prototype is correlated to how advanced the project is. In the early stages, cheap and simple prototypes are sufficient. But in the latter stages, prototypes should become more sophisticated. Either way, prototyping is the cheapest and quickest way to fail.
  5. Finally, designers will have users Test the prototype and provide feedback. Based on this feedback, designers can build an improved prototype and have it tested again. This cycle of prototyping and testing is done as many times as needed, although it usually never takes more than a couple of tries.

This brief introduction to the Design Thinking method can be expanded by visiting this Virtual Crash Course of Design Thinking or from visiting the website from d.school Institute of Design at Stanford.

Take a look at our gallery from the event