A design is a blueprint or description of the arrangement or structure of something, a model or the output of that structure or object, in the form of an example, machine or procedure, or the outcome of that description in the shape of a product, machine or procedure. The verb to design normally refers to the process of developing or building a design. It can also mean to complete, shape or form into a useful or workable design, as in construction or industrial designing. Designing can be done by someone or a company.
There are many approaches to design thinking and practice. Practitioners often refer to this as a “third way” of perceiving or arriving at a solution. The other ways include intuitive or representational, affective or visual, textual and user experience, and visual or interactive. Designers also use combinations of these approaches to increase or improve their designs. The techniques involved in developing successful designs for usability and human factors include research, modeling, interactive and problem-solving approaches, documentation, design planning and user experience.
Design thinking is not limited to the methods practitioners use to develop designs. They may use alternative strategies also to achieve their goals. An alternative strategy may be to use multiple approaches. This approach can help us to explore the full range of design possibilities and to build flexibility into the process rather than having to rely on just one or two design approaches. This is because it helps us to think in a more fluid and open way about the design process and it makes it possible for us to meet our objectives in a holistic manner.
Designers who apply alternative strategies to the design process do so for many reasons. The most important reason is that it can make the design process much more effective. When designers are able to think creatively about the problems and opportunities in front of them, they are more likely to find innovative solutions to the problems facing their clients. Alternative strategies include incorporating problem-solving thinking, which is the process of coming up with solutions to complex problems, using case studies to support design ideas and thinking practically about problems and solutions. Another alternative strategy is to create prototypes as a means of testing and iteratively improving the product.
Another reason why designers often turn to these alternative strategies is that they can help us to develop faster innovation. The process of turning an idea into a product often takes months or even years. An innovative solutions researcher does not have to wait for years before he or she can start testing a product to come up with innovative solutions. The best ways to get an innovative solution quickly is to adapt the problem-solving approach and to use case studies.
Many design thinking experts advocate that practitioners of design thinking adopt problem solving strategies and to turn their ideas into products. This may seem like wishful thinking at first, but it is helpful in that it helps us to think practically and also in a relatively short time. It would be unrealistic to expect everyone to share the same views about how to improve the quality of design and functionality. Practical experimentation and user interaction are necessary to get the right answers. We can learn a lot from each other and we can all benefit from applying the principles of design thinking to design problems.