Improve Your Workflow with Design Thinking

An efficient and effective daily workflow can make designers work faster and be happier at work. A workflow with major bottlenecks or points where everything has the potential to fall apart can add stress and unnecessary delays.

Applying design thinking methods to your workflow to improve it can make all of your projects smoother and more efficient to complete and be successful.

What is Design Thinking?

Design thinking is an iterative process for tackling ill-defined design problems. It puts the focus on the user rather than the design or designer.

By definition, design thinking is a human-centered design approach that consists of five parts. Those parts are:

  • Empathize
  • Define
  • Ideate
  • Prototype
  • Test
improve your workflow with design thinking

1 – Empathize

The first step in the design thinking process is to empathize with the user. In the case of applying design thinking to your workflow, the user is you. You’ll be exploring your own needs and wants in this stage. Think through what you need from your workflow. Include everything you can think of. This list can include both concrete things as well as things like how you should feel while working.

improve your workflow with design thinking

2 – Define

Once you know the underlying needs and wants you have for your workflow, you can start to define the actual problems with your current workflow.

Where does it fall short of your ideal? Where are the bottlenecks? The common breakpoints? What do you feel like you need to fix?

3 – Ideate

You have an idea of what you want from your workflow. You have an idea of where your current workflow falls short of that ideal. Now, it’s time to come up with ideas for solutions.

Use brainstorming for every possible solution to your problems, regardless of how bad, unconventional, or impractical they may seem. Write down every idea that comes to mind. Sometimes the bad ideas can lead you to really good ideas. Don’t be afraid to challenge assumptions around how you should handle specific parts of the design process.

improve your workflow with design thinking

4 – Prototype

It’s time to prototype. Spend some time sorting through your list of potential ideas and solutions to find the ones that seem like they’ll best solve the problems you have.

Create a prototype for your new workflow. It can include minor tweaks to what you’re currently doing, as well as any big shifts.

5 – Test

Once you have your workflow prototype outlined, you’ll need to test it. Follow your outline as closely as you can, making note of where it falls short or where unexpected problems create further bottlenecks or breakpoints. 

When you find a step where the new workflow falls short, you’ll want to go back to the ideation step and see what alternatives you could try. The entire idea behind design thinking is that it’s iterative and that you can circle back to steps as needed. 

improve your workflow with design thinking
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