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How Dan Droz Revolutionized Design Thinking

Dan Droz was one of the pioneers of design thinking. He collaborated with Herb Simon to develop the first multidisciplinary course while integrating design thinking in the mix.

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How Dan Droz Revolutionized Design Thinking

The definition of design thinking is as follows: a set of tools and methods dedicated to solving a problem or an innovation project, like a designer. This approach to innovation is a synthesis between intuitive thinking and analytical thinking. It is mainly based on a co-creative process, involving consumer feedback in order to understand their behavior. Inspired by the work of Robert McKim, design thinking methods emerged in the 1980s under the initiative of Rolf Faste. They place the human being, his needs and his uses at the heart of the reflection.

What are the Principles of Design Thinking?

Design thinking is a problem-solving innovation process. It is a process of reflection, based on a common and profound interest: the development of user understanding. Therefore, this method makes marketing professionals, engineers and creatives work together. It is thus a crucial ally in the process of questioning during which empathy with the target client guarantees success. An indispensable tool, this concept makes it possible to deal with poorly defined models. Reformulated in a way targeted towards consumers, this work develops creativity as well as the emergence of nascent ideas, in this case during brainstorming sessions.

The design thinking scheme is based on a multi-step process, including:

  • Identifying a problem and understanding its environment;
  • The search for the solution or the saving concept;
  • The design of the form intended to embody this concept.
  • Concretely, design thinking revolves around three logics:

Dan Droz was one of the pioneers of design thinking. He collaborated with Herb Simon to develop the first multidisciplinary course while integrating design thinking in the mix. Daniel Myron Droz is a sculptor, an industrial designer, entrepreneur, and an educator. His public sculptures are presented in exhibitions around the globe, and he is the founder of Droz and Associates.

He graduated cum laude from Harvard College, and was a Distinguished Design Alumni. His use of design thinking and its integration into the product development process has been renowned throughout the industry. Apart from his business and academic activities, since 1974, Droz also had a separate studio to make freestanding and wall sculpture, and some works on paper, influenced by Constructivism, the Italian Memphis movement, De Stijl, and Ulm Schools, where he brought a distinctive design sensibility to his work. His early works were made primarily in wood and often involved moveable elements that encouraged viewer interaction. He played a critical role in advancing the professional of new product development, and his work is quite famous.

What are the Stages of Design Thinking?

The director of product design at Stanford University, Rolf Faste, presents 7 steps for design thinking  :

The Definition

Performed upstream, this first step determines the entire creative process. It makes it possible to sort out the elements to be considered and those to be banned from the final solution in order to identify the deliverables of the solution. These can take the form of a customer acquisition page, mobile application screens or a website “landing page” version.

The Research

This part is dedicated to the identification of the “pain points” encountered by the consumer during his customer journey. This funnel-shaped process represents an exploration phase during which the participants widen the fields of the problems as much as possible in order to refine the choices during the ideation phase.

Ideation

At this level, each stakeholder proposes their ideas with a view to finding solutions in accordance with customer needs. This participative and creative process is essential in the quest for innovative ideas, aimed at solving a real problem.

Prototyping

During this stage, the outlines of the service or product begin to take shape. During this key phase, participants carry out a series of experiments.

The Selection

Based on budget, time and technical feasibility constraints, a first pre-selection will be made, followed by an individual pitching session or in small groups.

Implementation

The implementation results in the drafting of an action plan, the sharing of responsibilities as well as the definition of the resources necessary for the development of the project.

Test and learn This last step collects feedback from users in order to assess how they feel about the new product or service.

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