By Michelle Polizzi
What do the iMac computer, the Polaroid camera, and the Model T have in common?
They’re the results of design thinking, a problem solving technique that combines logic, intuition and systematic reasoning to develop long-term solutions.
This strategy isn’t limited just to designers; In fact, we think everyone can learn to master design thinking.
To start you on the path to becoming a better problem solver, here are 5 simple, yet effective tips for how to use design thinking in your daily life.
1. Visualize Your Problem
Whether you’re solving critical global problems or tackling micro-level projects, visualization reveals key themes and patterns.
Venn diagrams, flow charts, and graphs help you identify each moving part and draw intricate conclusions between them.
The ability to discover patterns helps creative thinkers better interpret nuances in data and trends.
2. Challenge Common Assumptions
image credit: barnimages.com
This “question everything” approach helps you break down societal norms and assumptions to begin devising out-of-the-box ideas.
Imagine you’re a city planner trying to incorporate more trees into an urban landscape.
Typically, you may state your challenge like this: there are too many buildings and not enough grass in which to plant trees.
By challenging assumptions, you’ll instead ask a question like, what if we could create a way to plant trees on top of buildings?
When you break down the very barriers preventing you from success, you take the first step towards a brilliant solution.
3. Reverse Your Thinking
Instead of getting discouraged about major roadblocks, think about your problem in reverse.
This means turning a negative statement into a positive one, and vice versa.
For example, let’s say your main marketing objective is to increase brand awareness within the millennial target market.
Instead of asking how do I appeal to this target market? you may reverse your thinking to instead ask yourself: how can I make sure this target market is never exposed to my brand?
The answer could be never launch social media marketing campaigns or never conduct market research to identify current trends.
By reversing the situation, you can see problems in a new light and decide what to prioritize.
4. Empathize With Your Audience
Designers often ask themselves: what greater purpose does my design serve?
Whether your situation involves coworkers, managers, friends or even family, you too can ask this question.
Begin with simple questions, such as: who else does this problem affect? How does it affect them? What is one thing that would alleviate their suffering?
By empathizing with your own audience, your problem solving process becomes more meaningful.
In turn, you become more dedicated to achieving an impactful, longterm solution.
5. Embrace Risk and Failure
Designers are masters of innovative thinking for one major reason:they’re comfortable with risk and failure.
If you’re committed to incorporating design thinking into your daily life, you must overcome the fear of failure.
It’s only when you accept (and even embrace) the possibility of failure that you can create truly groundbreaking ideas and solutions.
For more tips on how to boost your creativity, check out these 6 Design Quotes to Inspire Brand Greatness. If you’re looking for a great place to store your brand assets, don’t forget to check out our features for marketers and designers, or see how Brandfolder Digital Asset Management can help your brand be more productive.