Design Thinking – DT Personal Journey

There was a quote by Steve Jobs saying, “Design is how it works.” I think he was right. Recently i met an engineering student with strong right brain, he echoed that quote. He’s an undergraduate in Mechanical Engineering. He said a lot of people equate design with advertisement, art or schematic drawing. It’s wrong he said. I agreed with him; completely.

It was just weeks ago i graduated from a Design Thinking program organized by genovasi in collaboration with Hasso Platner Institute (HPI). The program was a 10-weeks hands on and pants down (i mean i have to do a lot of running around!). The entire program was done in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia.

The training room set up was brilliant and well thought. Everything were on rollers and wheels (except us). There were fun activities, higher order thinking games and best of all like minded folks; they came from various background but still when it comes to getting this done we only had one source; the Design Thinking (DT) 5 steps and 12 commandments. We literally guided by how to use and apply them in various settings and actual projects.


"DT house" @Malaysia
“DT house” @Malaysia

As i travel my DT journey i am beginning to see the world and its problems in new dimension. I got acquainted with design magazine such as Wallpaper and Fast Company (Design issue was released in October 2013). I ventured with enthusiasm what DT capable of doing and now am a DT convert.

There is only one immediate problem i see now; it is a new field that people are still struggling to adopt en-masse. Even when i spoke to my consultant friends, ehemmm! DT is perceived as playful as Mickey Mouse in pin stripped jacket.

Besides, even i personally have to constantly reminding myself on DT whenever i approach new “design challenges”. I sound dogmatic of trying to repackage old rules in new nicely ribboned matte box. Heck, as a convert i should be right? 😉

Look around you will find design plays significant role of a successful products or services. You can see this especially in IT application because technology enablement is a big part of user experience. DT place “human” as central to its approach. Why technology? This is because of our borderless and cross border economic aspiration. For eg. App-based application is used by global citizen and to appeal such a huge majority is a daunting task. But once your app is widely accepted (many examples of this) you are sure to turn them into money machine. This is impossible to do 15-20years ago because of heavy reliant on domestic market. But now with technology, this is not far a distance.


Pushed to a corner with a design challenge
Pushed to a corner with a design challenge

While we’ve seen rapid expansion of technology companies, we also observed tech giants that too big too fail; failed. They were unable to cope with this massive power given to global users in the name of UX (user experience). This lies DT approach that see the intersection of User Needs, Technology and Business as Innovation opportunity.

In summary, as a DT convert i only have this to say, “nobody can stop an idea that time has come.” DT is making wave and it is for good cause and for humanity. I know i am in.

Well, thats all for now. I surely get back with more insights as i travel my DT journey.

Brickbats please send to [email protected]