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Design Thinking – A lot of Buzz all around and the talk is all about Design Thinking everywhere. Just wondering, why is there so much of hype about Design Thinking? Because “T-H–I-S I-S S-A-P!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (Probably influenced by the movie 300, This is SPARTA 🙂 ).

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Search on Google for Design Thinking and wiki gave me an excellent explanation:

Design thinking has come to be defined as combining empathy for the context of a problem, creativity in the generation of insights and solutions, and rationality in analysing and fitting various solutions to the problem context“.

Oh My Dog!! (Symbolizes that I am an Atheist 😛 ). Do you find some similarity in Aamir Khan’s definition for BOOK in 3 Idiots:

“Instrument that record, analyse, summarise, organise, debate and explain information that are illustrative, non illustrative,hard bound paper bag jacketed, non jacketed, with forward introduction table of contents, index that are intended for the enlightenment, understanding, enrichment, enhancement and education of the human brain through sensory route of vision… some times touched”.


With all the super simple definitions in place,I observed an interesting interaction between my wife and daughter recently which I felt can be linked to the way we need to think.

Wife:           Go and get onions from the room.

Daughter:    Which Room?

Wife:           Bed Room

Daughter:    This one (Pointing towards the room next to Kitchen) or this one (Pointing to the other room opposite to kitchen)

Wife:           This one (Pointing towards the room next to kitchen)

Daughter:    How many?

Wife:           2

(My Daughter runs into the room and gets 2 onions, hands it over to her mom.)

Wife: Hmm.. I wanted 2 big onions, but you have got smaller ones. Go and get 2 big onions.

(My Daughter again runs to the room and gets 2 big onions.)


I started thinking, what would have I done if my wife had asked me to do the same.


Wife:           Go and get onions from the room.

(I would have got up to one of the Room, searched there.)

Me:              It’s not in this room, where is it?

Wife:           It’s not in that room, it’s in the other room.

(I go to next room, picked up 2 onions and would have given her.)

Wife:           Hmm… I wanted 2 big onions, but you have got smaller one. Go and get 2 big onions.

Me:             (Frustrating Look) You should have told me. It’s ok. Adjust with them.


Lets see the differences in these 2 interactions.

Interaction 1 (My Daughter – Developer and My Wife – Customer) Interaction 2 (Me – Developer and My Wife – Customer)

Define the problem: Successfully able to define the problem

* Which Room?

* Is it from Room 1 or Room 2?

* How Many?

I directly went on to provide a Solution without defining the problem. I went on with my assumptions.

Understand/Benchmark the problem: Understood the Problem

* Mom needs 2 onions which are in Room 1

I ended up going to Room 1 (Jumped into development) and then asked my wife (Customer) about its whereabouts.

Ideate: Sketch the way to provide a solution

* Her mind was  now easily able to ideate that she first needs to go to Room 1, probably the directions to reach Room 1. Pick up 2 onions. Go back to mom and give her the onions.

I went to Room 2 and got 2 small onions and gave it to my wife.

Build and Prototype: Was able to incrementally provide a Solution with Reviews from her mom (Customer)

* Executed as per her thinking and came back with 2 small onions and gave to her mom.

* Now comes the incremental part, mom wanted 2 big onions, which she was too young to think about. Nevertheless, when she gave 2 small onions to her mom, she told her that she wanted 2 big onions.

Wife is not happy and I ended up passing the blame on my wife that she didn’t give the right information.

Learn: Was able to learn how to solve the problem.

* Now the next time, her mom asks to get 2 onions from room, her only question would probably be “Big or Small?”.

Both My Daughter and Wife are happy.  😉 Both Me and My Wife are passing the blame on each other. 😡
Customer is happy and the Developer is also happy. 🙂 Customer is not happy and the Developer is annoyed that after doing so much of development, Customer is not happy. 😡


It’s quite simple. It’s all about how you think and what you think.


Customer will always give you a statement which you will feel is very simple. But the real important thing is how and what you think, which would definitely make a difference in providing a solution to his problem.  The usual problem is that we believe that we have understood the problem statement (probably due to matured mind, as in my case 😛 ). So always think with a clean slate (empty your mind before looking at the problem, but definitely use your experience) to arrive at better proposals. The above example may not be a perfect example of Design Thinking (Definitely not a Design Thinking Template either), but specifies the importance of approach of looking at the Customer problem. Change the way you look at the problem and set up your attitute, which should be your first step and Design Thinking (Larger Picture) will start becoming a part of your development with time (Of Course there are many tutorials that can help you follow Design Thinking).


Follow the basic principles as per the Standard Design Thinking Process:

  • Define the problem
  • Understand and Benchmark
  • Ideate
  • Build (Prototype)
  • Learn

Happy Design Thinking 🙂 !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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2 Comments

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  1. Abhik Shome

    So SPARTAN, nice read. Simplifies the idea for a layman and drives home the point that design thinking is prevanlent in everyday chores, albeit sub-consciously..

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