Design thinking 

On Friday I attended a design thinking training. You probably won’t expect to change your way of thinking thru a day’s training and some logic you will know already at your work, yet it’s an interesting experience.

Some takes from the training:

  1. talk to customers and ask questions; find empathy with your customers.
  2. focus on problem, not solution.
  3. Keep checking with customer on prototype. Make the prototype visible to them and modify as they need at early stage.

On first point – the more question you asks, the more information you get from customers. A lot of cases people make assumption without us being aware of it. This applies to both customer and builder (or service provider or problem solver whatever you name it). Customer assume you know their request and we assume we  assume what we think is right. It’s even worse that lot of requests are written in docs and can be interpreted in so many ways. Hence communication is important – ask why do they need this, how are they going to use it, or if you have some idea just say why don’t we blah blah. This will not only dig out more background but also build up rapport and makes future communication easier.

On the second point – a lot of times we are given a brief or a request to do something. There is nothing wrong to follow the brief, only when you know that it is the right brief. To make sure it will happen, make sure that you are involved when building the brief and understand the problem. Sometimes smart customers think they know the ‘terms’ and ‘solution’, but those might not be the right way. It’s like when you go to a doctor you tell them your problem, not ask for medicine – the doctor is the one who tells what is the therapy as you might not understand the symptoms.

On the third point – it echos the way when at work we give analogies on things so that people don’t understand well. It does bring it to the next level. So if a solution is designed, present the result to customer at early stage. Good example would be if we build a campaign, show the actual data at early stage so that they know those are the right customers to target; when building a website, draw the draft on the page so that they can see it physically… Basically things shouldn’t be just descriptive; they need to come in real so that customers can give concrete feedback without ambiguity.

As said, lot of those are known best practices at work, but no harm to put them as rules and remind myself.

Btw I got know the show shark tank during the interview and apparently it’s quite famous.:)


One thought on “Design thinking 

  1. Jax says:

    1. Customer empathy is something we have emphasized last week too. When trying to solve the customer’s problem, there is no shame to ask. Only by asking you will better understand his question, and by asking the right question you also showed that you care what his problem is.
    2. It’s connected to 1 as well. People feel proud when they can give the solution while it may feel “slow” or incapable to solve a problem if one steps in from the problem. Humans understand the world through perception. Perceptions can be close but most of the time is different. Digging deep into the problem itself not only provide more communication but gives everyone the opportunity to think about the solution from scratch again as well.
    3. This concept is wildly used in semiconductor industry. As the product life cycle is long and costly. We designed a lot of tests plugged into the process flow to see if the device works the way we want. Also variation in a complicated process will only accumulate. Say step A is +-5, step B is +-10. The final result can be +-15. If we don’t control each step carefully, when it comes to the end of the process, we will never know where the problem or variation happened. Troubleshooting will be mission impossible.

    Shark tank, lets download some see if it’s good.


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