How Good Designers Think

We all know that really good designers somehow think differently from you and me about new products. But just exactly what does this difference consist of? Most insight, because it relies so heavily on asking consumers, only deals with improvements to known and existing products and services. It rarely deals with the new/never been done before. Good designers understand how to intelligently move beyond what you get from simply asking consumers what they need and want.

Firstly, good designers don’t tend to think about consumers; they think about people and what they want and need. It’s a subtle point, but thinking about people as consumers immediately dehumanizes them and makes it harder to empathize.

Secondly, good designers like observing — really looking at what people do rather than simply relying on what they say they do. As Paul Smith once explained, when asked where he got his ideas from: “You and I could walk down the street together and look at the same things, but I’d SEE ten times more than you would.”

Thirdly, they bring expertise in other categories and industries to bear on problems in others. They pull together threads from different functions, disciplines, fields, and sectors, and integrate them into a new and (the dreaded word) “holistic” understanding.

Fourthly, good designers look at what might all change in the short, medium and long-term, by engaging with the best trends and forecasting intelligence. Unlike other crystal ball gazers they use this prescience to help them understand how they could bend the future, shape it to their vision.

Read full article » blogs.hbr.org/cs/2011/04…

 

Image: Hand Holding Globe from Shutterstock.com

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