W1: Design Thinking

“People don’t want to buy a quarter-inch drill. They want a quarter-inch hole.” as said by one of the marketing professors at Harvard, the design thinking is not just about aesthetically appealing, but more about taking ’empathy’ into account in an existing problem-solving process and discovering what customers really want even though their needs are not explicitly revealed. Here are the five steps for design thinking: Empathize – Define – Ideate – Prototype – Test.

These steps are not linear but interconnected to each other, thus we can always go back and forward if necessary. We did a small exercise during the class following the steps and I made the prototype of a wallet for my classmate Vera as shown in the picture above. She wanted a purple wallet with her name engraved. She also wanted her wallet to have separate space for bills, cards, and coins as I made it a folder type but with two snap buttons so that she can close the wallet from either side.

I was amazed by the fact that we only spent around 3-5 mins for each step and everyone came up with full of brilliant and new ideas within the limited time. This led to a conclusion that design thinking is not always necessarily correlated to the time we have devoted to a certain project or idea but is rather a combination of critical thinking and flexibility, which require both logics and intuitions.


Design Leadership by Sharon Kim
Johns Hopkins Carey Business School


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