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Design Thinking: love the creative process

Design student, muggle designer, someone that needs a designer, whoever you are, I want you to think of this. If you were given a piece of paper and a pen and were asked to draw love, what would you do? Would you feel lost? Or speechless? Would you argue about how love is a feeling, therefore it’s immaterial so it can’t be seen or touched?

I’m not judging you, on the contrary, I think it would be a rather natural reaction to think that something that in its essence is a complex experience, that sometimes can’t even be put into words, couldn’t be reduced to a line in a paper. But I want you to think again, can it?

A creative person would tell you that there are thousands of ways to draw love. It all comes down to what love means to you. For example, we see love in a person petting their dog even though he or she came back home to found out the living room is a mess. We see love in a young couple on a bus stop freezing because they didn’t want to let go of each other. We see love in a person planting a tree and taking care of a flower. When it comes on representing love, even in the most simple ways, the sky is the limit.

It sounds easy, but I don’t want you to feel stupid or uncreative. In fact, there is a misconception in believing that the creative process is pretty simple: you’re doing whatever random everyday activity, and suddenly a brilliant idea struck you. You present it to someone and boom! Success. The creative process is called a process for a reason! It takes time, effort and a little bit of luck.

However, the design community has been hearing about something that promises to make the creative process easier. Its name is Design thinking, its been around us for almost half a century but recently begun to gain recognition as an essential strategy in traditional design disciplines as well as a variety of other fields, like business. Design thinking is transforming workflows for everyone from amateur designers to corporate professionals, setting us up for a brighter future.

We can differ the traditional process from this one using three words: focus, speed, process.

  • Focus on the human aspect. Designers should look at the project from the perspective of the end use and remember that the key to creating effective designs is empathy.
  • Rapid iterating through many different versions of an idea is essential to figuring out what is working and what it’s not. To do this, create prototypes or drafts to communicate the idea, get feedback, make adjustments and keep moving forward.
  • Check your own personal ideas through a collaborative process. Seek out and incorporate feedback and advice. You can even brainstorm with a team to come up with a solution.

To improve your design thinking the theory recommends to focus on these skills:

  • Empathy. Connect with the people you’re designing for.
  • Definition and understanding of the problem. Get to know the territory you’re working on, its flaws and strengths.
  • Ideation. Start by grounding your ideas and begin creating a solution.
  • Prototype. Build something simple that helps you communicate your idea.
  • Test. Show your prototype, process and incorporate the feedback.

If you couldn’t figure out how to draw love it can mean that you’re suffering from lack of creativity. It can be temporal o permanent and can affect us all but don’t worry, it isn’t a big deal. If you feel stuck, design thinking can shake the laziness off you. Always remember, whether simple or complicated, creating something involves going through a process. Fortunately, we have these tools to help us get through it.