The Design Process
STEP 1: Empathize.
As our first semester is coming to an end (already?!), I look back on the last four months and feel extremely proud of my team and my class, and what everyone have accomplished in such a short period of time.
In my last post I mentioned that we, as a part of our Design-Thinking for Start-ups module, were to create a small company in collaboration with Young Enterprise, but I haven’t really explained the process of design, product development and idea generation in this process.
In our very first Design-Thinking session we were to work from the subject of ‘Home’, as I described in my first blogpost. In that session we were given a frame in which we could gather information, ideate and create a solution to the problems we identified whilst interacting and observing people and their feelings and behaviours. The frame made it somewhat more tangible to find a problem and a solution, since we knew what to look for.This process has been somewhat different, since we were to create our own frame from which we should gather information and create an understanding. And it has been a challenge – where do you even begin? We’ve learned that it’s first and foremost the validity of the problem, that makes or breaks a product.
So we tried for weeks to seek out problems in everything in our daily lives, hoping to find that one problem that could be solved by a new service or product, but the more we actively searched, the less we found. We then tried to pin down a segment, a group of people that we thought we could design something for. We talked about designing for new mothers, children and students, but we soon realized that our hearts wasn’t in it – we simply didn’t feel passionate enough about the ideas we came up with.
We soon found that we had all experienced sleepless nights in the past. Nights, where the mind is just racing, focusing on what to do next, and how you are going to solve your issue of time management; assignments, cleaning, laundry, social life etc. I especially found that sound, music and meditation worked for me, but the problem is that, after a while, it’s really uncomfortable to sleep with earphones and earbuds. After doing some research on the subject, we found that quite a few people shared that same perspective. Now we had our problem.
So how did we try to solve the problem, you ask? How are we trying to do and be better than the existing solutions? I’ll tell you… next time.
“The most important part of design is finding all the issues to be resolved. The rest are details”. – Soumeet Lanka.