5 traits you need to be successful in Design Thinking
Design thinking is a nexus. A majority of people are inclined to employ it. Some are conspicuous about it. At the same time, others attempt to be successful at it. The term has already been in the industry for several years. Still, only a few have thoroughly lived up to it. Predominantly one needs five traits to be successful in design thinking.
From my standpoint, it is the most crucial aspect of becoming a successful design thinker. Brain development over time concretised one to be empathetic towards others. The churning process for the same begins during childhood. Hence, it is a cultivated attribute. Our surroundings enable us to be accommodative. For a designer, the skill of understanding users’ needs by putting themselves into their position can be tricky. They have to be imaginative of the multiple perspectives and opinions of users from different geographic locations. Aligning and processing information of the umpteen stakeholders is another challenge. As a design thinker, one cannot only be limited to prototyping and focus on the result. In the process, one has to understand numerous people by observing, meeting and listening to them.
Another important aspect is to have the instinct to put other people’s voices before their own. A design thinker should take the role of being a mediator during the conflict of ideas. One should not push their judgement but accept and assimilate the information; further, use it to their benefit. Along with this characteristic, one should be explicit about communicating with everyone. Being vigilant by observing the characteristics of stakeholders that others might overlook can be pivotal.
2. Systems Thinking
Systems thinking is a holistic approach to analysis. It is the ability to examine connections and inter-relationships across disciplines, trends and cultures. Having a general awareness of the surroundings can be critical. It is vital to be analytical and understand how the structuring of processes takes place. To be a design thinker, one needs to have the ability to dissect processes, elements and attributes. Moreover, one should investigate the relationship between animate and inanimate objects of their study.
A significant segment of this goes into gaining an understanding of the ethics of the marketplace. One has to foresee the symmetries and asymmetries in the framework they observe. It can aid them in overcoming both trivial and confounding problems. Furthermore, it can mitigate the process while proposing dramatic solutions and alternatives to existing mechanisms. Systemic thinking can lead to one having an insightful analysis that can be translated into innovative solutions.
Design thinking can be a tedious process where making attempts and failing could be the norm. One should come to terms with failure being an acceptable outcome as it is more likely to happen than success. One must accept defeat by taking the blame. More importantly, one should spring back to work at the earliest. Perhaps, it is a salient and understated need of the career. It is through perseverance, resilience and tenacity that one can achieve their long term goal.
Innovation begins with curiosity. One has to fiddle around with approaches to see what works well in the outside world. Reinventing the wheel requires one to poke their nose in places where no one else has previously bothered. Nonetheless, design thinking is not limited to pursuing a new direction or remapping the marketplace. One cannot redirect and change the whole market. Besides, it is about fixing and optimising existing solutions in the market. Thus, it is essential to understand which approach would suit the scenario best. However, only a curious mind can solve this dilemma in baffling situations.
Design thinking is a domain that has no room for one to be high headed at any point. In a diverse marketplace that is constantly changing, one can never attain all the skills required for design thinking. With the advent of technology in every industry, the world has a complex marketplace. Hence, one needs to be humble enough to accept that he can never understand the entirety of the global marketplace. As a design thinker, one would always be imperfect. But, this trait highlights the interdisciplinary nature of the field. One should be open to other professionals being a part of the process and respect their skill sets. In addition to forming meaningful relationships, it also creates productive outcomes.
The traits mentioned above are relevant for one to be a successful design thinker. One can work on them over time while assimilating significant information. Further, it is about analysing, testing, and working on the same process in a recurrent loop. Thus, the sooner one starts paving their path to success, the better.
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About the Writer
Saakshar Makhija is an undergraduate architecture student at the School of Planning and Architecture (SPA), Bhopal. He is the Co-Founder of Emblema Designs, a graphic design, and digital marketing venture. He has experience working with Rethinking The Future (RTF) and India Lost and Found (ILF) by Amit Pasricha. He attended the summer school organised by the "Rafael Manzano Prize for New Traditional Architecture" by the International Network for Traditional Building, Architecture and Urbanism (INTBAU), Spain.
About the Editor
Esha Biddanda Pavan is an architect and urbanist currently based out of Toronto, Canada. She is a graduate of the School of Geography and Planning, Cardiff University, UK, and the Visvesvaraya Technological University (VTU), Bangalore. She has experience working at Kitsune Consulting, Cardiff University Business School, Weaving Thoughts, Keha Casa, Kabir Hira Architects and a-designstudio.
About the Illustrator
P. Trishita is an undergraduate architecture student at the School of Planning and Architecture (SPA), Bhopal. She is also a multipotentialite, illustrator, singer, and occasional songwriter.