Design thinking is a tool that has personally helped me with various projects and I just want to share about what are the 5 main things I have learnt while using the tool. I will use my project EZMON Technologies as an case to illustrate some points. My involvement with the Lean Startup methodology as well as Agile development have shaped my views.
One great tip while interviewing the users: it is best to strike a conversation by asking open ended questions such as "if you had a magic wand, what would you do about your condition?". This lets us get better insights into their needs, wants, desires and fears.
Once you have validated that the users need your product, you can go ahead with your development. But in case they tell you that they would rather have something else or you realize that the users you were targeting are wrong? This is when you have to swallow your pride and pivot.
Pivot is something I borrowed from the Lean Startup Methodology that goes very well with the Design Thinking Process. A pivot is defined as a “structured course correction designed to test a new fundamental hypothesis about the product, strategy, and engine of growth.” by Eric Ries.
Here are some examples of our initial mockups and interactive UI
In the case of ezmon, we make new versions of the system every 2-3 weeks by adding new features, removing some or just increasing stability.
We were also lucky to represent NUS and Singapore for a few global competitions such as the Intel Global Challenge and the Global TIC. We met with all kinds of people during these trips and many of them had great expertise in fields ranging from manufacturing to technology commercialization. This gave us better insights and helped us improve the product.
One needs to try finding the sweet spot between design and technology. This is way harder than it seems. I am still trying to make sure I dont drift too much onto either side. One really good pointer I believe in is to "keep it simple". Distill every problem into its simplest form and see how you can solve it.