Design Thinking believes:
1. We need to listen to our users, experience their lives to gain perspective (EMPATHIZE)
2. No idea is too crazy not be given a fair chance (EXPLORE)
3. Ideas need to be honed into impactful solutions through iterative prototyping (EXPERIMENT)
Social problems are often very complex, intermingled with cultural history and economics. Many times, even the most well meaning solutions are not impactful because they are not easily adopted or assimilated by the target beneficiaries. Design Thinking offers us simple but powerful techniques like ethnography to develop solutions based on user perspectives.
Further, novel solutions seldom emerge from conventional ideas. Crazy ideas often need to be nurtured into implementable solutions. The design process offers us techniques to generate such fresh ideas and prototype them repeatedly to carve out meaningful solutions.
In our recent programs at IRMA, we worked with executives from social impact organizations like Amul, World Vision India, Vegetable and Fruit Promotion Council of Kerela, Grameen Development Services, and Simpa Networks among others. While we were readily infected by their passion for solving social problems, they went back with a strong toolkit to generate innovative solutions to social problems.
Some of their quotes illustrate what Design Thinking now means to them:
'The way I conduct user interviews from tomorrow will be nothing like before. I have realized I need to dig out their stories, not short answers to our pointed questions.'
'I thought innovation and strategy is the role of top management. Now I am going to push myself and all my team members to think out of the box'
Design Thinking in Indian Languages