7 Steps to Innovative and Impactful Solutions With Human-Centered Design Mindsets

Human-centered design is as much about how you think, as it is about developing prototypes. Reveal the philosophy behind the human-centered design (HCD) process, and show that the way you think can directly affect your results.

  1. Embrace Optimism

    One of the core beliefs of HCD is that every problem is solvable. As a result, proponents believe that design is inherently optimistic. To take on the biggest of problems, it is necessary to regard progress as an option.

    Optimism is about embracing possibility — it’s “the idea that even if we don’t know the answer, that it’s out there and we can find it.” Therefore, it is important to focus on what could be, not the obstacles that can get in the way. As you go through the process, you will notice that optimism is the driving force of HCD.

  2. Explore Ambiguity

    Along with optimism, it is important to make yourself comfortable with the unknown. Giving yourself permission to explore and embrace ambiguity allows you to pursue creativity and ideas that lead to an unexpected solution.

    Creative Director and Co-Lead at IDEO, Patrice Martin, says it best: “It’s not easy not knowing the answer; and even less so not even knowing the right questions to ask. But if we knew the answer when we started, what could we possibly learn?” In embracing this mindset, you can freely discover answers you didn’t (and couldn’t!) originally imagine.

  3. Make It

    Once referred to as Bias Toward Action, Make It helps get ideas out of our heads in tangible form. Using anything from cardboard and pipe cleaners to a PowerPoint presentation, your goal should be to get your idea into the hands of the people you want to serve.

    By making something simple first, you remove the risk, and can learn great lessons. The more feedback you get from the user, the more impactful your solution(s).

  4. Emit Creative Confidence

    Human-centered designers emphasize that anyone can approach the world like a designer. All it takes to unlock your dynamic problem-solving abilities is to emit creative confidence.

    “Creative confidence is the notion that you have big ideas, and that you have the ability to act on them,” says David Kelley, a founder of IDEO and the d.school at Stanford University. By exuding this mindset, you can and will come up with creative answers to big challenges.

  5. Iterate, Iterate, Iterate

    In keeping with the mindset of optimism, iteration provides the space for ongoing progress. Involving the people you are designing for and continuously incorporating their feedback is a critical part of the design process.

    In addition to more successful and impactful solutions, iteration allows designers to validate as they make progress. Iterating and hearing from the people you’re actually designing for, ensures your design will be a hit.

  6. Learn From Failure

    Rather than trying to get it “right” on the first try, put something out in the world from which you can keep learning, asking and testing. Repeatedly testing prototypes remains at the heart of the process. So maintain the mindset that not all of the prototypes will work as you try to solve bigger and bigger problems. And remember, you are bound to fail at some point. Learning from the failure will set you apart and allow you to create solutions centered on the people you wish to serve.

  7. Practice Empathy

    The final mindset of human-centered design is about immersing yourself in the lives of those you are designing for.

    Intrigued to know more about how Bluespire incorporates HCD into your problem-solving process? Connect with us today.

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