Tips on how to use design thinking in the training process

Design thinking is a powerful methodology used to solve complex problems with innovative solutions. It’s a human-centered approach that starts with understanding user needs and ends with testing innovative solutions. If you’re looking to inject a creative spark into your team, incorporating design thinking into your training could be an ideal move. Keep reading for practical tips on how to do it!

  1. Introduce the Design Thinking Framework

The first step in integrating design thinking into your team training is to introduce the concept and process. The design thinking process typically involves five stages: Empathize, Define, Ideate, Prototype, and Test. Explain each stage in detail and provide real-world examples to help your team understand how they can apply this process to their work.

  1. Foster a Culture of Empathy

At the heart of design thinking is empathy – understanding the needs, challenges, and desires of the people you’re designing for. To foster empathy, your training should include exercises and activities that encourage team members to put themselves in the shoes of the end-users. This could involve role-playing, user interviews, or persona creation.

  1. Encourage Brainstorming and Ideation

The ideation phase in the design thinking process is all about generating as many ideas as possible. Encourage your team to think freely and openly, without the constraints of feasibility or resources. Techniques such as brainstorming, mind mapping, or the “100 ideas” exercise can facilitate this process. (See a demo of how we used ChatGPT to demonstrate the 100 ideas exercise for this challenge of integrating design thinking into your team training.)

  1. Focus on Prototyping

Prototyping is about bringing ideas to life. Incorporate hands-on sessions in your training where team members can create physical or digital prototypes of their ideas. This can range from sketching to building simple models using craft materials. The goal is to make the idea tangible and interactive.

  1. Test, Iterate, and Improve

Once the team has created prototypes, it’s time to test them. This phase should involve gathering feedback, learning from what doesn’t work, and iterating on the design. Remember that design thinking is a non-linear process – the insights gained from testing often lead back to earlier stages, sparking new ideas or changes in direction.

  1. Promote a Safe Environment for Creativity

A fundamental aspect of design thinking is the belief that every idea has potential. Create an environment where team members feel comfortable sharing and developing even the most out-there ideas. Encourage constructive criticism and discourage judgment during the idea generation phase.

  1. Provide Real-world Scenarios for Practice

To help your team grasp the power of design thinking, apply it to real-world scenarios. You can use case studies related to your industry, tackle existing challenges in your organization, or even partner with a nonprofit that could benefit from your team’s innovative solutions. It’s helpful to see how design thinking works in the “real world” even if this will just be an example and not something you act on later.

  1. Iterate on Your Training Process

Finally, remember that training, like design thinking, is an iterative process. Collect feedback after each training session, understand what worked and what didn’t, and make necessary changes. This will help you refine your training program and make it more effective over time.

Incorporating design thinking into your team training can empower your team members to think more creatively, work collaboratively, and develop innovative solutions to problems. Remember, design thinking is more than just a process—it’s a mindset that can revolutionize the way your team works.

Want help creating a innovation workshop or design thinking training session for your organization? Contact us online today to learn how to get started!