Design Thinking Transcend Human Centricity

Transcend Human Centricity

Design thinking 2

Words by Sandeep Ozarde

Jan 21, 2020

5 Minute Read

Solving the real world problems requires different approach, beyond the grasp of politicians and policy makers.

There are three classes of people: those who see, those who see when they are shown, those who do not see.

Leonardo da Vinci

I think can work closely with governments, universities, global institutions such as the United Nations, UNICEF, UNESCO, WHO, RedCross, the World Economic Forum to work around the serious issues such as the global warming, environmental crisis, mass extinction of endanger species, political crisis, social issues, education, healthcare, risks of genetically engineered biological agents, growing pollution, overpopulation, poverty, deforestation, rising threat of hostile artificial intelligence arm race, robotics, data privacy, data security and many more issues.

“In doing so, creative people are able to juggle seemingly contradictory modes of thought — cognitive and emotional, deliberate and spontaneous.”

As psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

Designers don’t like status-quo

Designers are capable of asking fundamental questions and most businesses don’t like to be questioned, a good question doesn’t depend just on the type of question it is, but also on how you frame it. The form of a question is part of its function.

Good questions should challenge preconceived assumptions eg. Do we really think genetically engineered biological agents will save the humanity? questions should help clarify the situation and cause individuals, governments, and organizations to explore the methods, processes, and conventions that drive their actions.

Questions encourage reflection, encourage breakthrough thinking, not self-doubting, good questions open up new possibilities and help people see things beyond the obvious. Good questions motivate people to take things to the next level.

Design thinking is an iterative process in which knowledge is constantly being questioned.

Design is how it works

“Most people make the mistake of thinking design is what it looks like. People think it’s this veneer — that the designers are handed this box and told, ‘Make it look good!’ That’s not what we think design is. It’s not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.” Steve Jobs

Leonardo Da Vinci (15 April 1452–2 May 1519) — an astonishing intellectual, and at times spiritual, journey into the center of human creativity via the particular brain of one undereducated, left-handed, nearly ambidextrous, vegetarian, pacifist, singularly creative Renaissance male, who was able to attain a different state of consciousness than ‘practically all other humans.’

The source of Leonardo’s extraordinary creativity was his ability to access different ways of thinking, to see more clearly the interconnectedness of everything, and in doing so, to reach a different state of consciousness than the rest of us.

Leonardo da Vinci story continues to inspire because he represents the highest excellence  to be intellectually, creatively, and emotionally.

Designers have a preference for chaos, curiosity, complexity and ambiguity, they have ability to extract order from chaos, a willingness to think unconventional to solve complex problems or making ambiguities more comprehensible.

Psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

The conscious creative mind operates as a surface scanner

The most psychologists agree that creativity is multifaceted in nature. And even on a neurological level, creativity can be messy. Contrary to the ‘right-brain’ myth, creativity doesn’t just involve a single brain region or even a single side of the brain. Instead, the creative process draws on the whole brain. It’s a dynamic interplay of many different brain regions, emotions, and our unconscious and conscious processing systems.

Creative impulses and flow experiences rise from the unconscious through the subconscious. Creative people pay more attention to these dimensions. The creative brain is particularly good at flexibly activating and deactivating these brain networks, which in most people are at odds with each other.

“In doing so, creative people are able to juggle seemingly contradictory modes of thought — cognitive and emotional, deliberate and spontaneous.”

This allows them to draw on a wide range of strengths, characteristics and thinking styles in their work.

The conscious creative mind operates as a surface scanner. It perceives an object or event, triggers a need to respond and then stores it in either the unconscious or subconscious.

Creative and curious minds can lead the change

Creative and curious minds can lead the change, manage, design, discover and innovate. The design thinking draws upon logic, reasoning, imagination, intuition, design thinking approach is not just about solving problems, but it can be applied to corporations, research, systems, processes, protocols, customers, user experiences. Ultimately design can help improve the quality of life and the planet.

Design thinkers rely on customer insights gained from real-world experiments, not just historical data or market research.

Design thinking transcend human centricity

Questioning the problems, questioning the assumptions, questioning the status-quo and questioning the implications.

Design thinking can help tackling problems that are fuzzy or unknown, design can go beyond human centricity.

“Design thinking can be described as a discipline that uses the designer’s sensibility and methods to match people’s needs with what is technologically feasible and what a viable business strategy can convert into customer value and market opportunity.”

– Tim Brown CEO, IDEO Distinctions Between Design and Design Thinking

You can’t connect the dots looking forward

“You can’t connect the dots looking forward, you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.”

— Steve Jobs

Design thinking described by Herbert Simon

All variants of Design Thinking embody the same principles, which were first described by Nobel Prize laureate Herbert Simon in The Sciences of the Artificial in 1969. The five-phase model proposed by the Hasso-Plattner Institute of Design at Stanford, which is also known as

  • Empathise — with your users
  • Define — your users’ needs, their problem, and your insights
  • Ideate — by challenging assumptions and creating ideas for innovative solutions
  • Prototype — to start creating solutions
  • Test — solutions

They do not have to follow any specific order and can often occur in parallel and repeat iteratively. Given that, you should not understand the phases as a hierarchal or step-by-step process. Instead, you should look at it as an overview of the modes or phases that contribute to an innovative project, rather than sequential steps.

Resource — Stanford, Wiki
Photos — Unsplash, Wiki, Google
Illustration — Nikhil Kapoor
Disclaimer — Ideas shared here are based on personal views and has no commercial value

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