Lean Design Thinking: Maximize the Human Value

Illustration of the difference between Design Thinking and Lean Design Thinking.

As a design thinking practitioner and trainer, I believe in the power of design thinking, which is a really innovative mindset to solve problems. However, human constraint makes it cannot function well for beginner.

By putting more and more time into the project, the belief in success will be increased as well. It’s because we don’t want to walk through the process again and again. Even we know that the powerful point of design thinking is reviewing different points, we will choose to believe that we are on the right track, especially for the Asian. In Asia culture, we are not really open-minded. We are afraid to fail.

That’s the reason why we need Lean Design Thinking.

Less time contributed, Less afraid of fail.

Lean method

“Lean thinking methodologies are about maximizing customer value while minimizing waste.” Lean startup is a very famous methodology in the startup world nowadays. Minimum Viable Product (MVP) is one of the crucial concepts. It is no need to build big for the first time, but we use MVP to test the market and gain customer feedback. In a build-measure-learn loop, it saved time on building wrong things and maximizing customer value.

Design Thinking

“Design thinking is a human-centered approach to innovation that draws from the designer’s toolkit to integrate the needs of people, the possibilities of technology, and the requirements for business success.” — Tim Brown, CEO of IDEO. Design thinking utilizes elements from the designer’s toolkit like empathy and experimentation to arrive at innovative solutions. By using design thinking, you make decisions based on what future customers really want instead of relying only on historical data or making risky bets based on instinct instead of evidence.
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To shortened the process of Design Thinking, we added Lean method on it.

Lean Design Thinking

“Lean Design Thinking is a “rapid prototyping first” approach, to maximize customer value in human-centered innovation.” It is not really a brand new concept, we just changed the operation direction of design thinking. As the illustration at the beginning, in the traditional method, we do inspiration, then ideation, finally implementation. You can revert the step if you found problems, but usually, it is a step by step process. It is kind of building a building, from the ground structure, and then based on it to add more things.

What Lean Design Thinking doing is that we do “Inspiration + Ideation + Implementation” at the same time. How? By making a very first prototype, which is based on your assumption, and then fails.

Why it is good? Because we put the fail point at the very very very early stage, and you know that you must fail. It is really difficult to make someone think out of the box. Therefore, we can break the box during you are making the box.

Learn more:

Prototype as an engine to drive the process.

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