Design Thinking:  Integrating Innovation, Customer Experience and Brand Value. Edited by Thomas Lockwood. (2009)

Design thinking is about applying a designer’s sensibility and methods to problem solving. It’s more of a methodology – a theory of doing research – than a particular tool or technique. Design thinking may involve various methods such as field observation or ethnography in addition to market research.  The tools, however, are not as important as the overall approach. This book is useful in that it provides numerous case studies on design thinking featuring Eames, Steelcase, Bon Appétit, Linux, Dyson, etc. Most useful, I believe, is what the book says about creating a meaningful people-centered experience. Here a few takeaways:

Create experiences that people care about

People demand experiences that matter. Social capital is just as important as economic capital. Social capital helps people create meaning from their experiences. A designer’s role should help people create meaning through various touchpoints. Designers can do this through research that identifies “moments of truth.” A good research design might examine users’ patterns, stories, and insights. The designer can then engineer more meaningful moments like those.

Develop empathy

Designers need to conduct research that helps them to:

  • Understand what is meaningful to users
  • Discover user’s unarticulated needs and desires
  • Imagine the world from the user perspective
  • Connect with users around what is meaningful and valuable to them

This makes people care more

A strange thing happens when a person sees that you care.  They often reciprocate the gesture and care about you right back. The emotional connection is powerful; people have a natural tendency to care, a gut-level intuition. People who are emotionally influenced will seek the product, service (etc.) because they desire a tangible, physical manifestation of the relationship. This is where social media comes into play. Nurturing and sustaining relationships via designed social media strategies facilitates more meaning, more connection, more lifestyle integration.

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