10 videos

The first phase in Design Thinking

Understand - The first phase in Design Thinking

The first phase in Design Thinking: the Understanding - Phase. It all starts with the team coming together and clarifying the project mission: What is it about? Why is the topic strategically relevant for us and at the same time important for possible users?

Excursus: What is Design Thinking?

Design thinking is now used in many different areas to arrive at new solutions. But where did the concept actually originate?

Our coach Holger Rhinow goes back into the history of Design Thinking. He discusses the role of the Bauhaus as well as the scientific observations of the 1970s and 1980s, in which the work of designers and architects was systematically studied. In the early 1990s, it was the design agency IDEO in Silicon Valley that finally helped the term gain its current popularity.

Who are my users?

A new innovation project begins! Of course, the team wants to proceed in a user-centric way, i.e. develop new solutions based on real user needs. But for which users?

"You cannot design for everyone" is a well-known mental model for working on innovations. Successful teams first focus on a niche of potential customers in order to understand their user needs precisely. They work closely with this target group to develop prototypes of the idea that precisely address the important needs.

Method: Semantic Analysis

A project team comes together and deals with a new project assignment. Before starting the actual work, it is helpful to first take the assignment apart literally and to see what experience already exists in the team on the project topic.

Story from a project

Project assignments in innovation projects usually only roughly define the framework for further teamwork. Nevertheless, misunderstandings can quickly arise that cause the team to lose valuable time.

Our coach Franziska knows these situations from her own experience.

The method briefly explained

Franziska and her team use Semantic Analysis to share their experiences on a new project assignment.

Extended: The team session on the method

In the following video you can watch the team session again in detail. Our team starts a new project. First, the team agrees on the project mission. Using a semantic analysis, the team shares their own experiences on the topic as well as assumptions and open questions.

Method: Design Charrette

Especially at the beginning of a new project, everything seems possible at first. But that shouldn't keep a team from acting for too long. To get a quick overview of who the team wants to develop a new solution for, the design charrette is a good way to start.

Story from a project

Methods like the design charrette help to list what a team has already found out about its users in user research.

The listed users should be accessible to everyone at any time, so that it does not lose its user perspective. Our coach Holger already has experience with how quickly a team can lose its user perspective.

The method briefly explained

In a short time, the team summarizes which users are potentially interesting. Then it formulates their needs as quotes and finally derives topics for further user research.

Extended: The team session on the method

Our team clarifies together which user groups could be relevant for the new project. It records potential user groups, their needs as quotes, and the topics that can be derived from this for further research. Much of this is still conjecture, but the team quickly develops an initial focus with a view to the first user surveys.

Excursus: Design Thinking and Agile Teamwork

In our interview with Dr. Holger Rhinow, we explore the question of how design thinking is embedded in organizations. The point is that the understanding of the term has changed.

Design Thinking as a process describes the ways and means towards the actual goal: namely, to create experiences in the team that produce better results and a changed self-perception in the team in the long run. Design Thinking as a cultural concept starts from the goal: What self-perception is an organization building for itself? The concept of culture is comprehensive and often not very helpful for organizations that are just starting to discover Design Thinking for themselves.

Finally, Holger tells how Design Thinking projects usually conclude and provide an interface into agile development via prototypes, e.g. into the Scrum framework.


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