Pushing the Boundaries of Creative Thought: Design Thinking and Ideating

Design for America’s presentation on design thinking and ideating drastically changed my perception of the product creation process. In accordance with Tim Brown’s article titled “Design Thinking” (https://hbr.org/2008/06/design-thinking), we learned the three steps in the design thinking: inspiration, ideation, and implementation. Many times, it can be easy to perhaps identify a problem that is encountered in everyday life (i.e. the product’s inspiration), however developing an idea to resolve the problem can take a significant amount of effort. The problem itself, in addition, cannot be too broad or impractical. This part of the process is so impactful, Brown believes, that companies are now hiring thinkers to not only implement an idea, but also to originate them.

One particularly interesting exercise the presenter’s guided us through was the design thinking card game. Each team was given three cards: one card had the hypothetical patrons of the product, the other had the purpose of the product, and the third outlined some type of constraint that the creators would encounter. This game definitely forced us to think outside the box, as well as demonstrated from a high-level the thought process that designers experience. In addition, our team used the design thinking process described by the presenters in order to develop our team logo. The logo (which can be found here), incorporated the initials of our last names in an overlapping and visually appealing fashion.

An intriguing real-world example of design thinking that was recently publicized was the German engineering firm Siemens use of 3D printing to create gas turbine blades. The article, which can be found here, details the problem faced by Siemens and their solution. The problem, that the cost to produce these blades were immense and the time needed to produce them was lengthy, was resolved by using metal-based 3D printing. As a result, the time needed to produce this part was shaved from two years to just two months.

Further examples of the impact of design thinking can be found in this article, “3 Great Examples of Design Thinking in Action”, found on the website Medium. One in particular great example of the utilization of design thinking was in creating a foot activated car door, in which ideators realized the challenge of opening a car door when the user’s hands are occupied, such as when they are leaving a grocery store. The foot activated car door allows users to still open the door without needing to free their hands.

In conclusion, I believe that learning about the design thinking process will prove to be crucial as we continue to explore the world of making, and this knowledge will serve as a strong foundation on which we can start to build our own innovative ideas.

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