7 October 2008

The New York Times on design thinking

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Magnetic paint
Janet Rae-Dupree of the New York Times explores the latest about design thinking:

“The word “design” tends to conjure up images of crisp graphics, nicely arranged interiors or pleasing packaging. But a growing cadre of advocates say the world of design has much more to offer corporate America.

They are proponents of “design thinking,” which focuses on people’s actual needs rather than trying to persuade them to buy into what businesses are selling. It revolves around field research followed by freewheeling idea generation that often leads to unexpected results. […]

While definitions vary, design thinking usually involves a period of field research — usually close observation of people — to generate inspiration and a better understanding of what is needed, followed by open, nonjudgmental generation of ideas. After a brief analysis, a number of the more promising ideas are combined and expanded to go into “rapid prototyping,” which can vary from a simple drawing or text description to a three-dimensional mock-up. Feedback on the prototypes helps hone the ideas so that a select few can be used.”

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