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How is Technology affecting Design Thinking?


Saakshar Makhija, P. Trishita, Esha Biddanda Pavan, Architects, Architecting, Architecture, Architectural, Design Thinking, Innovation, Product, Marketing, Systems Thinking, Collaboration, Leadership, Problem Solving, Human Centered, Psychology, Consumer Behaviour, Zeyka, Zeyka India

Technology is pervasive and entrenched in our minds. It has transformed the cause of design thinking. As the human race is pursuing a technological civilisation, innovation is spearheading it. Such products were earlier limited to our exterior surroundings. However, today we get exposed to innovation even while browsing the web. It is not just a system, but different values created intuitively and deliberately by another person. Technological products, for instance, are completely intertwined with our lifestyle. They emphatically influence the very experience of life itself. As a response, designers need an in-depth analysis of the social behaviour of humans to anticipate their engagement.

Saakshar Makhija, P. Trishita, Esha Biddanda Pavan, Architects, Architecting, Architecture, Architectural, Design Thinking, Innovation, Product, Marketing, Systems Thinking, Collaboration, Leadership, Problem Solving, Human Centered, Psychology, Consumer Behaviour, Zeyka, Zeyka India

Humans are social creatures. They enjoy the experiences that technology can offer. During the Covid-19 pandemic, our interactions with each other became increasingly computerised. The system allowing this virtual space is intricate. It uses a synthesis of visual as well as symbolic mechanisms. Design thinkers make use of AI - Artificial Intelligence - to better understand the social behaviour among people. From the user interface of a website to its functioning, social interaction has evolved profoundly. It takes into account the constantly evolving factors of social life. The social computing system emphasises understanding the diverse range of human values. It collects information through an online database and uses it for various purposes.

Saakshar Makhija, P. Trishita, Esha Biddanda Pavan, Architects, Architecting, Architecture, Architectural, Design Thinking, Innovation, Product, Marketing, Systems Thinking, Collaboration, Leadership, Problem Solving, Human Centered, Psychology, Consumer Behaviour, Zeyka, Zeyka India

The main idea is to increase the quality of the human experience. Technology plays a significant role in the metamorphosis of design thinking. With advanced technology, design thinkers can make use of AR and VR technology. Augmented Reality could allow one to have a first-person experience. It would enable the designer to step into the shoes of the user and think of the solution. This practice focuses on establishing a deeper and more personal understanding of the problem. Besides, issues are reframed and refined to ideate solutions. Furthermore, technology and humans looped together can help achieve the best of both.


Deep learning, a part of AI, can be a convenient tool for design thinkers to study seamless data. As a subset of machine learning, it can mimic the working of a human brain and process information. It allows for the elimination of any biases and synthesises the details on its own. This Big Data can aid in getting rid of the tedious process of going through the vast information accumulated. It collects specifics from social media platforms, e-commerce websites, search engines. However, with the unravelling of this enormous amount of documentation, we can extract relevant data. Hence, it simplifies the ‘define’ phase of design thinking.

Saakshar Makhija, P. Trishita, Esha Biddanda Pavan, Architects, Architecting, Architecture, Architectural, Design Thinking, Innovation, Product, Marketing, Systems Thinking, Collaboration, Leadership, Problem Solving, Human Centered, Psychology, Consumer Behaviour, Zeyka, Zeyka India

The notion of social computing can be characterised as a ‘wicked problem.’ It refers to a multitude of considerations taken for the application of the product for its intended purpose. Nonetheless, it is the design thinker’s framework that determines the functioning of the system. It encourages positive or negative social behaviour. Since the application is at a large scale, the impact of the same can be multi-fold.


The bright side of technology has exhibited the potential that design thinking possesses. Nonetheless, technology has posed some serious challenges. Ranging from its identity to its future pathways, it has made the situation downright bizarre. Design thinking has had a proclivity towards not being human-centric. On the flip side, with the advent of AI, the dehumanising aspect of design thinking has also come into existence. The latter focuses on the optimisation of machines. However, sometimes it is at the loss of human privacy, dignity and liberty.

Saakshar Makhija, P. Trishita, Esha Biddanda Pavan, Architects, Architecting, Architecture, Architectural, Design Thinking, Innovation, Product, Marketing, Systems Thinking, Collaboration, Leadership, Problem Solving, Human Centered, Psychology, Consumer Behaviour, Zeyka, Zeyka India

In the last few years, we have taken notice of the downside of social media networks and platforms. They have coherently fractured and polarised our society. The business model of these platforms initially aimed at keeping users engaged. That was achieved in excess, more than anybody could have imagined. In stark contrast to the proposal for the same, there is heavy damage. Social media’s relentless focus and the use of AI in unleashing the prowess of its advertising potential has caused social harm. Overconsumption has caused users to have mental disorders, anxiety and depression. In Tim Brown’s words, “Is it acceptable to use design to make a product or service more appealing if that product has clear societal downsides?” As a designer, it is crucial to think of the product from this angle too.


Technology has turned design thinking from a salient discourse to a radical movement. While we see the two sides of technology, at the heart of delivering this change is design thinking. Thus, today, the pioneers and entrants to the field face tough questions. Avoiding these moral and ethical dilemmas is not an option for such future interventions.



Saakshar Makhija, P. Trishita, Esha Biddanda Pavan, Architects, Architecting, Architecture, Architectural, Design Thinking, Innovation, Product, Marketing, Systems Thinking, Collaboration, Leadership, Problem Solving, Human Centered, Psychology, Consumer Behaviour, Zeyka, Zeyka India



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.

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