There’s one last thing I’d like to say about design process thinking. So far, I’ve described it a big, elaborate process. And it certainly can be. For large, complicated projects, each step could take months.

But it can also be a fast process – one that you can do in your head.

Let’s say that an acquaintance asks you for a favour. They are moving house and need someone to help lift their boxes and furniture. You hesitate – you don’t really know this person, after all – but they insist. It’s only a couple of hours of your time, they say, to help them out in a big way. Although they don’t say it, the implication is that you help them move… or you’re a jerk.

Before you reluctantly agree, you run through the design process in your mind.

First, you define the problem. The acquaintance says that the choice is between donating some time or being rude, but you realise that’s not right. Moving takes more than a couple of hours, even in ideal situations. It will likely take most of the day, if not longer. It’s also physically and mentally draining, which will leave you unable to do what you want (or need) to do that day. And it’s not impolite to decide not to help them move. Last time you moved, you appreciated the burden you were placing on others by asking for help.

Can you research information in your head? You can, although the only data you’ll have are your own memories. You might remember the last time you helped someone move – you were sore for a week after and had to cancel plans to go hiking. You also remember that this acquaintance has more furniture than they are suggesting now.

You quickly brainstorm possible outcomes. If you say no, they might be annoyed for a while. But they’ll get over it. If you say yes, you will be doing a nice thing and they’ll owe you a favour, which is nice. On the other hand, you’ll likely leave yourself injured, exhausted and frustrated.

With these thoughts in mind, you make your decision. Now, maybe you end up agreeing to help them move – but at least you made that choice based on facts, not guilt.

It’s hard to experiment in this context, but remember: part of experimenting is reflecting on the outcome. So you pay attention to what happens. A few days later, you casually ask people who helped your acquaintance move. Maybe you were right and they are cursing the day they were born. Maybe they had a fun time. Either way, incorporate this information and draw on it with future researching tasks.

Design process thinking enhances your decision-making – even the simple decisions. I trust you will find chances to use it. It will change the way you live, act and feel.

< PreviousNext >

Module 1: Introduction
Module 2: Defining the problem
Module 3: Researching the data
Module 4: Imagining possibilities
Module 5: Designing the solution
Module 6: Experimenting
Module 7: Case study: This Course
Module 8: Where to from here?

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