Creative Problem Solving with Design Thinking

A different kind of thinking

If you are only thinking you are not doing – And, you certainly not winning!

The future belongs to a very different type of person with a different kind of mind – Artist, creators, designers, meaning makers, pattern recognizers, and storytellers.

These thinkers will reap society’s big rewards and joys because they craft satisfying narratives, create artistic and emotional beauty, detect patterns and opportunities, and combine seemingly unrelated ideas into something new and valuable.

Daniel H. Pink – Author – A Whole New Mind

So, if you want to be a winner. Do what winners do: Do!

Just stop thinking and start doing.

Sounds easy?



Ok – Maybe, in theory, it’s easy.

But, in reality, we both know things are not so simple.

It isn’t always possible to do, have, and keep everything we want in our lives.

Life just seems to get in our way: Lack of time, money, and experience. No resources or support. Bad timing. Responsibilities, commitments, and circumstances. The list of obstacles and excuses are endless…

And, worse of all, for the most part, we tend to lives on repeat!

Same old thinking – Same old results!

Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

Albert Einstein – Theoretical Physicist 

So what’s the answer?

How do we break out of our fixed ways of thinking, so that we can get more out of life?

I say we need a new approach.

Maybe a process called design thinking might be the answer we are looking for.


Because design thinking challenges us to ask for help, explore new opportunities, and most importantly take action.

It’s all about letting go and finding the sweet spot where our needs, desires, and the constraints of reality merge together.

Sound interesting?



What is design thinking

Design thinking is more than a process – It’s also a mindset.

Design thinking draws upon logic, imagination, intuition, and systematic reasoning, to explore potential possibilities, and create desired outcomes that benefit the end users.

Alten Calsoftlabs – Design Thinking Playbook

It’s all about fresh ideas, people, and taking action.

Proactively focusing on solutions – not problems.

And, it starts with a process:

The above diagram is inspired by the Stanford D. School design thinking process. And, the following description of the process has been curated from the D. School’s Design Thinking Bootleg – I highly recommend taking a look at this excellent resource if you are interested in learning more details about this powerful process.

1. Empathize – Empathy is the foundation of human-centered design. The problems you’re trying to solve are rarely your own, they’re those of particular users. Build empathy for your users by learning their values. To empathize, you: observe, engage, and immerse.

2. Define – The define mode is when you unpack your empathy findings into needs and insights and scope a meaningful challenge. Based on your understanding of users and their environments, come up with an actionable problem statement: your point of view.

3. Ideate – Ideate is the mode in which you generate radical design alternatives. Ideation is a process of “going wide” in terms of concepts and outcomes—a mode of “flaring” instead of “focus”. The goal of ideation
is to explore a wide solution space—both a large quantity and broad diversity of ideas. From this vast repository of ideas, you can build prototypes to test with users.

4. Prototype – Prototyping gets ideas out of your head and into the world. A prototype can be anything that takes a physical form—a wall of post-its, a role-playing activity, an object. In early stages, keep prototypes inexpensive and low resolution to learn quickly and explore possibilities.

5. Test – Testing is your chance to gather feedback, refine solutions, and continue to learn about your users. The test mode is an iterative mode in which you place low-resolution prototypes in the appropriate context of your user’s life. Prototype as if you know you’re right, but test as if you know you’re wrong.

And, this process is made whole by replacing our fixed mindsets with a growth mindset focused on:

  • Embracing challenges
  • Being curious
  • Reaching out to others
  • Reframing questions
  • Trying new things
  • Learning from mistakes
  • Seeing what works
  • Evolving

The design thinking process and mindset fuels our motivation and achievements.

So don’t just talk about change, open your mind, and do it!

Have an open mind

Start to think like a designer and change the way you collaborate, create, and live.

Somewhere in between Design Thinking and Design Doing, I am Design Being.

Kerry Bodine – Author and Thought Leader

To be continued!