About thirty years ago, Apple Computers released the first ever personal computer with a graphical user interface and named it Lisa. Although, the Lisa was crazy expensive (enough to build a mansion in Nigeria!) and a failure (Duh..), it introduced something out-of-norm, and they called it the computer mouse. The mouse used in Apple’s Lisa was a cheaper, sexier ripoff from Xerox and they needed the help of a product design team to get it done — IDEO.

To design this mouse, IDEO had to employ a process that involved understanding the target users, exploring hundreds of prototypes, and conducting exhaustive testing with focus groups in order to create the perfect device. This process came to be known as Design Thinking.

Many approaches have been used in solving problems, but over the years, Design Thinking has evolved to become the preferred method of solving problems. You might be reading this article and say,

“What the heck is Design Thinking?”

“Do you mean thinking of how to use photoshop?”

Design Thinking revolves around a deep interest in developing and understanding the people for whom we’re designing the products or services.

Interaction-Design Foundation

No no, Design Thinking is not how to use photoshop, neither is it a process used for just product development. Design Thinking is a user-centered iterative process that involves a set of phases used to successfully solve problems within any industry — not just tech or design.

We could break down the Design Thinking process into 5 general phases:

1. Empathize

According to an interview of Tom Kelley from IDEO, he pointed out that IDEO Anthropologists carefully observe and listen well to people in order to get personal insights, and most of them don’t even hold an Anthropology degree. The main aim of this phase is to go out there, find your users and gather as much information you can.

2. Define

Armed with the information you gather from your users, this phase involves analysing the information and trying to connect patterns from your user information. The define phase tries to make sense of all the jargon spilled to you from your users. To be honest, this phase can get somewhat cumbersome.

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