Design Thinking – Define (Phase 3)

In this phase of design thinking, practitioners will focus on becoming aware of peoples’ needs and developing insights. The phrase “How might we….” is often used to define a point of view, which is a statement of the: user + need + insight

This statement ends with a suggestion about how to make changes that will have an impact on peoples’ experiences. But remember the following quote.

“Building something nobody wants is the ultimate form of waste.” – Eric Ries

The Define mode of the design process is all about bringing clarity and focus to the design space. It is your chance, and responsibility, as a design thinker to define the challenge you
are taking on, based on what you have learned about your user and about the context. After
becoming an instant-expert on the subject and gaining invaluable empathy for the person you
are designing for, this stage is about making sense of the widespread information you have

We need a Point of View (PoV) to identify needs and create a theory about those needs.
Defining a possible solution space help create the link. Think SYNTHESIS, the art of structuring your insights. STORYTELLING Bring your insights into the team.

As a Storyteller

  • Make a list of users you saw
  • Describe what you heard and observed
  • Try not to (mis)-interpret or judge and indicate if you make assumption
  • Bring collected artifacts & pictures

As the Audience

  • Note down ALL important details on post-its
  • Put one statement per post-it
  • User one color per user to have references

COLOR CODING helps to link insights to users

Clustering your observations:

  • Sort your insights into Categories or Buckets
  • Which insights are related to each other in some way
  • Look for common patterns and themes

Remember: We are still looking for the right question.

Another framework to describe the Empathy:

Play with frameworks: They all give different perspectives.

Creating Personas:

  • Personas are fictional characters created to represent user types
  • They are useful in considering the Goals, Desires, and Limitations of the users to help the guide the design decisions
  • Personas put a personal Human face on otherwise abstract data

EG Tom Taller, 28.
Likes / Dislikes / Motivations / Insights / Typical Day

Coming up with a Point of View:

  • The point of view is one sentence that creates an image in your mind
  • Based on understanding of a user group and insight into a specific need, it narrows the focus and makes the problem specific.

Your point of view Potential traps:

  • Do not design for eveyone
  • Do not confuse solutions with needs
  • Do not try to include all insights
  • Do not take common wisdom as meaningful insights

Define Point of View is about…:
…focusing on a specific need with a persona in mind.

The goal of the Define mode is to craft a meaningful and actionable problem statement – this
is what we call a point-of-view. This should be a guiding statement that focuses on insights and
needs of a particular user, or composite character. Insights don’t often just jump in your lap;
rather they emerge from a process of synthesizing information to discover connections and
patterns. In a word, the Define mode is sensemaking.

The Define mode is critical to the design process because it results in your point-of-view
(POV): the explicit expression of the problem you are striving to address. More importantly,
your POV defines the RIGHT challenge to address, based on your new understanding of
people and the problem space. It may seem counterintuitive but crafting a more narrowly
focused problem statement tends to yield both greater quantity and higher quality solutions
when you are generating ideas.

The Define mode is also an endeavor to synthesize your scattered findings into powerful
insights. It is this synthesis of your empathy work that gives you the advantage that no one
else has: discoveries that you can leverage to tackle the design challenge; that is, INSIGHT

Next up: IDEATE

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