Design Thinking Series - Part I: Increase member engagement using design thinking

Design Thinking Series - Part I: Increase member engagement using design thinking

Lately, when a new employee joins our company they eventually come to me with a variation of this:

“I know that we say we dig deeper and think about the user experience than our competitors but I had no idea the depth to which we perform the work – this is completely different than the last agency I worked at.”

This tells me two things:

  • Our approach to client branding and large-scale redesign projects makes us different compared to our competitors, and
  • We don’t do a great job of advertising what makes us different ;)

Here is what makes us different

Balance Interactive practices the principals of design thinking

What is design thinking?

Developed by IDEO founder David Kelley, design thinking is defined as “a human-centered approach to innovation that draws from the designer's toolkit to integrate the needs of people, the possibilities of technology, and the requirements for business success.” Thus, the method focuses on three main elements of a product or solution: people, technology, and business. All of these aspects evolve around the customer.

A prototype that consists of arranged, multi-color post-it notesIn a nutshell the framework we use is modified for our needs from a variety of sources including IDEO-published work and Stanford’s DSchool. It consists of the following:

DEFINE: We first define the broad business need.  We try not to define it too tightly because it’s the user research that will answer the question in surprising ways. 

EMPATHIZE:  Work to fully understand the experience of the user for whom you are designing.  Do this through observation, interaction, and immersing yourself in their experiences.

PROCESS & SYNTHESIZE: Process and synthesize the findings from your empathy work in order to form a user point of view that you will address with your design.

IDEATE: Explore a wide variety of possible solutions through generating a large quantity of diverse possible solutions, allowing you to step beyond the obvious and explore a range of ideas.

PROTOTYPE: Transform your ideas into a physical form so that you can experience and interact with them and, in the process, learn and develop more empathy. 

TEST: Try out high-resolution products and use observations and feedback to refine prototypes, learn more about the user, and refine your original point of view.

This is the first post of a series. Check back for posts that will lead you through our process and show you how it can apply to your organization’s next project.

Connect With Us!

Do you have a project that could benefit from our Design Thinking approach? Call us at 703.451.8675 or contact us online

Want to experience design thinking in action?

And at the same time solve your own business challenges?  I am so excited that ASAE has created this innovative experience:  http://xdp.asaecenter.org/

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