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Design Thinking vs. Design Sprint demystified

ON THE ORIGIN OF THE DESIGN THINKING

Robert A. Simon and Robert Mckim introduced ‘Design Thinking’ in such a manner viewing “design as a way of thinking” in 1969. Fast forward a bit and David Kelly (IDEO) adapted it to business purposes followed by Richard Buchanan which tried to address human concerns with Design Thinking.

DESIGN THINKING EMPHASIZES OPEN-MINDEDNESS, CURIOSITY, AND COLLABORATION

Design Thinking is an attempt to learn from designers’ approach to design challenges. The recurrent shift from divergent to convergent modes of thinking, having a holistic view, engaging in multi-disciplinary teams, the fetish for prototyping, pen and paper, embracing uncertainty and welcoming ambiguity, putting yourself in someone else’s shoes, trial and error (iterative mindset), etc… are some of the significant upheavals introduced by Design Thinking. Welcome to problem-solving 2.0.

WHY DO I SEE SO MUCH STICKY NOTES?

The single-minded approach, isolating a problem and addressing it without considering the bigger picture, can cost businesses a fortune. Design Thinking is proven to be a useful mindset to adopt given it encourages you to look at the problem in its entirety, experience it and establish empathy with those affected by it. As a result, it’s not onerous to predict the increasing demand for Design Thinking — Google Trend shows a threefold increase in popularity of the term since the past five years.

DESIGN THINKING VS DESIGN SPRINT

Design Thinking is a philosophy to internalize and a mindset to adopt. It is about structuring our thought process to understand and define the problem, conceptualize, actualize and test solutions. In contrast, ‘Design Sprint’ is a methodological process, based on Design Thinking, which tackles and solves the problems in the most efficient way within a specific time range.

WHEN TO USE DESIGN THINKING?

Design Thinking breaks down and describes the systematic process that designers use so everyone can tackle any problem by following it. Bear in mind, everyone designs solutions to their problems on a daily basis — yes your CEO does design solutions.

Graph representing the design thinking process 101 which encourages to empathize define ideate prototype test and implement.
Image source: Nielsen Norman Group

There are two major advantages to Design Thinking.

Its obsessive focus on establishing an empathetic connection with the target group — getting to know your audience.
Its iterative mindset — test solutions, gather evidence and iterate.
If an organization does not base their design processes on these two principles, then they’re probably either blind to the needs of the market or fail to include all the factors that influence the success of the solution.

NEXT STEP?

Make sure everyone in the organization understands Design Thinking and incorporates it into their workflow. Running workshops for teams that are especially involved in the production is of the utmost importance.

CAUTION!

Design Thinking teaches you theory but fails at offering a cohesive systematic process to go about tackling and solving problems.

WHAT IS DESIGN SPRINT?

Design Sprint is derived from Design Thinking and offers a prescribed way to leverage the design thinking mindset. Design Sprint is a systematic five-day framework to help you with your problem definition, idea generation, rigorous prioritization, and user tests.

I can talk endlessly on how Design Sprint is a revolutionary, effective framework. Personally, what strikes me the most is the no BS attitude that Design Sprint employs. It uses strict timing for each step, prohibits lengthy discussion and favours individual inputs as much as group work — Goodbye pointless brainstorming sessions!

WHEN TO USE DESIGN SPRINT?

Time is gold; focus is key. If you’re looking for a framework to produce the maximum effect within a plausible time-range, then Design Sprint is the right tool. You can use it for any of the organization’s challenges, ranging from product-specific topics to the overall business strategy.

CAUTION!

Evangelizing for Design Thinking is the prerequisite for the adoption of Design Sprint. It may take some time after incorporating Design Thinking in an organization before there is a need for a more rigid methodology.

About Bonanza Design

At Bonanza, we’ve had the unique opportunity to form strong ties with our clients, encouraging them to keep coming back for advice, projects and more. Currently, we’re working with clients on an on-going basis and we feed them with Design Thinking, strategy and design inputs.