DART the Design Thinking way at Society of Design Thinking Professionals

Design thinking refers to creative strategies’ designers use during the process of designing.

It has also been developed as an approach to resolve issues outside of professional design practice, such as in business and social contexts. Broadly speaking it is a package of mindsets, principles, practices, and techniques which resemble the way certain designers work and approach problems that go beyond a product’s look or a service design.It is called a “package”, because the knowledge has just been made tacit and accessible on a broader scale to non-designers in recent years. As this package resembles certain elements of intra/entrepreneurial activity (e.g. user-centeredness, brainstorming, synthesis, prototyping, testing solutions with users, multidisciplinary teamwork, etc.) and as it organizes them in an apparently structured manner, many organizations took notice.

Some of the world’s leading brands, such as Apple, Google, Samsung and GE, have rapidly adopted the Design Thinking approach, and Design Thinking is being taught at leading universities around the world, including d.school, Stanford, Harvard, MIT, IIMs and ISB.

Spurred by the success stories of companies like IDEO, P&G and the like they perceived Design Thinking as a way for navigating through our complex contemporary economy, as it combines all these critical success factors into an integrated (innovation) approach.

Design Thinking is an iterative process in which we seek to understand the user, Challenge the assumptions and recreate, refine, relook, redefine problems in an attempt to identify alternative ways, means, strategies and solutions that might not be instantly apparent with our initial level of understanding. At the same time, Design Thinking provides a solution-based approach to solving problems. It is a way of thinking and working as well as a collection of hands-on methods. In a nutshell Design Thinking is a Culture, a way of life.

Design Thinking revolves around a deep interest in developing an understanding of the people for whom we’re designing the products or services. It helps us observe and develop empathy with the target user. Design Thinking helps us in the process of questioning: questioning the problem/s, assumption/s, implication/s. Design Thinking is extremely useful in tackling problems that are ill-defined or unknown, by re-framing the problem in human-centric ways, creating many ideas in ideation sessions, and adopting a hands-on approach in bias towards action to create prototypes and testing.

Design Thinking also involves ongoing experimentation: to any and every Design Thinker there is never a finished product, everything around us is a prototype which can be iterated upon.

We at Society of Design Thinking Professionals call this process as DART.

D — Discover

A — Analyse

R — Reflect

T — Test

There are many variants of the Design Thinking process in use today, and they have from three to seven phases, stages, or modes. However, all variants of Design Thinking are very similar. All variants of Design Thinking embody the same principles, which were first described by Nobel Prize laureate Herbert Simon in The Sciences of the Artificial in 1969.

We at Society of Design Thinking Professionals (SDTP) call this process as DART

At SDTP, we believe that ‘Design’ is the process that goes behind the teams’ psychology that lead to the desired outcomes; the agreements, disagreements, iterations, findings, discoveries, analysis; altogether the focused chaos.

We also believe that every human being is creative and in order to design we require the confidence to communicate visually and creatively. Many call it ‘Creative Confidence.’ The Design process per se doesn’t require artistic abilities so Design Thinking for us is the process that involves ongoing conversations with the Users to understand their jobs to be done, define ‘what qualifies as the success metrics for the jobs to be done,’ and come up with solutions that ensures that the job is well done! Now, that becomes the focal point for value creation.

At SDTP, when we started evangelizing and applying Design Thinking to solve real world problems, we realized certain gaps that can be filled in the framework. For example, ‘Needs’ itself is kind of vague, unclear, ambiguous, fluffy puzzle pieces of information that are just left to the interpretations of the beholder!

Needs can’t be open to interpretations. There must be a rational, a measurable, controllable, tangible, unambiguous, error free semantics to it. That’s where we, at SDTP, came up with our 3 pillars of Design Thinking and these pillars act as our core guiding Principles to Design.

● A finite set of Users (50 to 100)

● A focus on User Jobs and Outcomes

● Infinite Pivots

We achieve this by using our DART way of Design Thinking.

At SDTP we consciously married Design Thinking with Outcome Driven Innovation to take sprints ahead in Customer Centricity.

We do the DART. Where

D stands for Discover

Discover — consumer needs that have semantic rules and structure

A for Analyse

Analyse — the core functional jobs-to-be-done for the consumers

R for Reflect

Reflect — on the outcome success metrics

T for Test

Test — solution archetypes to create problem solution fits

Design Thinking is not only about solving problems, but to find the right problems to solve. And that’s where it breaks the convention of what a good solution can be, and instead, focuses on finding unmet potential needs that unravels undiscovered possibilities based on User Outcomes and that leads the innovation curve. It is important to note that the stages or modes are not always sequential. They do not have to follow any specific order and can often occur in parallel and repeat iteratively. Given that, you should not understand the phases as a hierarchical or step-by-step process. Instead, you should look at it as an overview of the modes or phases that contribute to an innovative project, rather than sequential steps.

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