What is Design Thinking?

Design Thinking is a methodology that is a proven and repeatable problem-solving procedure that any business or profession can employ to achieve exceptional results. As a style of thinking, design thinking is generally considered the ability to combine empathy for the context of a problem, creativity in the generation of insights and solutions, and rationality to analyse and fit solutions to the context. The term design thinking is becoming ever more popular throughout the design and engineering industries as well as business and management practices. Its broader use in describing a particular style of creative thinking-in-action is having an increased influence on modern day education across the disciplines.

There is currently momentum to create an awareness of design thinking processes that designers use to ideate and translate it into modern day educational systems. By understanding how designers approach problems and try to solve them, individuals and businesses will be better able to connect with, and invigorate their ideation processes in order to take innovation to a higher level. To a designer, the process of design thinking is hardwired into their systems; it has become second nature to them. The process becomes part of their everyday thought process, from tackling multi-million pound design projects all the way down to what to make for dinner. There is a process to every step of the journey in order to create the best outcome.

When starting along the design thinking process you must first DEFINE THE PROBLEM. This sounds simple enough but it can often be one of the hardest parts of the process and is one of the most important parts. If a problem is not clearly defined from the outset of the project then the end result will not serve to solve the problem. Design thinking requires for the problem or the brief to always be challenged to help gain a full understanding of the problem and to gauge or remove any preconceived notions of project parameters. At the forefront of design thinking is observation, in order to understand the problem you must see what people do rather than what you are told that they do. In order to think outside the box you must first step outside of it, see the problem for what is really is. Defining the problem involves observing a number of different perspectives and the constant and relentless childlike questioning, why? Why? Why? Until finally the simple answers are behind you and the real problem presents itself. One final key element to defining the problem statement is to withhold any form of judgement. The right words relating to defining the problem statement can help to increase creativity and remove any preconceived ideals. For example, it’s not “Design a chair”, it’s…..”Create a way to suspend a person”

Most successful design thinkers will work in teams to CREATE AND CONSIDER NUMEROUS OPTIONS. This will allow for each option to be carefully judged and considered equally. One way to look for multiple solutions is to look at the problem from as many different perspectives as possible, this will yield richer results and the combination of multiple perspectives can create a wider array of opportunities. The trick is to view the solutions not as a finished product but as opportunities to build on and develop. Design thinking suggests that working as a team of 5 on a problem for one day achieves far better results than 1 designer working on a problem for five days. The key is three-dimensional thinking, with multiple perspectives, every one adds a different block to the pile and eventually you will end up building a skyscraper.

Once you have a handful of promising results you must REFINE ALL POSSIBLE DIRECTIONS. You should nurture and embrace the wide array of possible directions. Ideas need to be given the opportunity and prospect of growth, design thinking allows for their full potential to be realised by creating environments conducive to growth. With some experimentation and the acceptance that mistakes will be made along the way, the potential for extraordinary results increases tenfold. You should ask yourself, can the ideas be refined to boost their potential? Can the multiple ideas be combined? Why? Why? Why? Any designer will tell you, no project is ever complete; there is always something else that can be done.

At this point, it’s always advisable to step back and REVIEW your results from a new perspective. Can the current project be developed to incorporate new opportunities? Is it the outcome that you imagined? But most importantly, does this outcome tick all the required boxes to solve the problem?

Now you have a winning formula it is time to COMMIT TO THE PROJECT, pledge resources and see your project come to fruition. Upon arriving at this point you have covered a number of elements. You have reviewed, observed, understood and successfully outlined the problem. Created a wealth of solutions, reviewed and analysed these opportunities and focused on a desired outcome and you are now ready to solve the problem.

Design thinking however cannot be completely defined in a step-by-step guide and as much as it has been already and will continue to be, design thinking as a process is a unique experience to every individual. It cannot be defined in one concise process. Design thinking is ultimately an individual’s thought process through a problem solving task. To a designer, design thinking is the process they have subconsciously created through the many years of their design career. It is an amalgamation of a process which is now second nature to every designer. The stages of Design Thinking can be taught but Design Thinking as a process is truly unique to each individual.



Fast Company – “Design Thinking… What is That?”

Wikipedia – Design Thinking


The generation of the lost designer.


Every year there are 1000’s of design graduates entering the race for the seemingly limited job vacancies within the design industry of their dreams. Each graduate having worked hard with many years of dedication to get the qualifications they need to reach the dizzy heights of their dream job, for the honour of being able to call themselves a design professional. However, many of these graduates and being brought back down to the harsh realities of life with one foul swoop and many are facing the prospect of unemployment, with the most common reply to a job application being seen all across the country. “Sorry you do not have enough experience” is a phrase that has been seen in all corners of the UK at one point or another, but where does a designer go from there?

After years of studying to become a professional within their industry, thousands of designers are having to defer their skills to other industries such as hospitality in order to pay the bills, many of which get caught up in a routine and never pursue their dreams of becoming a top designer. Thus the UK faces the prospect of generations of lost designers. Thousands of underutilised, creative thinkers with professional skills that can help create the change we are all craving within this country.

The harsh reality that design graduates now face is that “it is not what you know, but who you know”. This is a phrase that could well be used within many industries, so what is it makes designers special? Well the truth behind this statement is that it is not only the privileged or connected that have those vital and illusive connections that everyone needs these days, the truth is that we all ‘know someone’ that could help us achieve our goals, it’s just that we don’t always realise it.

We all live, play and work within a community and sometimes we are so disconnected to what and, more importantly who, is on our doorstep that we could be missing a great opportunity to not only help ourselves succeed but also help develop the communities around us for future generations to come. There are thousands charities and communities across the UK desperate for volunteers and those working within those industries will tell you that the volunteers that they do have are not always utilised for their specialities. So why can we not work together to help benefit everyone? Instead of charities working to better the awareness of their own needs, should we not look to form connections with other local resources to help develop the goals and potential of everyone involved?

The Design Wire aims to create a network where designers can not only benefit their own personal design skills and develop their portfolios but they can also help their local communities in the process. And through these connections, designers can not only use their professional skills to help charities and communities develop their design projects but they can also use their local knowledge to create connections, opportunities and help create a foundation to launch their careers. In return for their time, skills and expertise that the charities can utilise they can also help launch the careers of the designers through the development of their own design projects.

Everything in life is about making the most of the opportunities set before you, utilising the skills you have and helping those around you to develop their own. Let’s help bring back the emphasis to the importance of community led design. Instead of a host of individuals all striving to make the world a better place, why can’t we work together to make our own world a better place, the world that exists on our doorstep.


Welcome to the Design Wire Community!

Welcome to the Design Wire Community, we are a community focused, design network. The Design-Wire is a small design organisation that is thinking big; aiming to promote and develop stronger links between Communities and young professional Designers who have a wealth of fresh new ideas to support their local communities and charitable industries. The Design-wire aims to show just how young, new talent can bring creative and innovative solutions in these challenging times and are ready to offer their services in order to develop their CVs.

The Design-Wire believes in communities working together and recognizes the huge benefits that can come from local designers working in and with, their own communities; promoting community ownership and collaborative working. We work with communities to help create an understanding of the role that design can play within a community and the impact it can have within the social and economic development of the surrounding environment.

We offer FREE design consultations, where we can discuss how we can help achieve your community goals and ambitions through local design resource collaboration and the creative development of existing service targets. We aim to create a local design volunteering and project service platform enabling communities to access professional design advice and services.

We are working to promote how design can have a larger impact on the communities that shape the way we live today. We believe professional design should be made accessible to everyone and we aim to bring local designers to the table to support their community needs and bring much needed fresh ideas and innovative solutions in these difficult times.

If you would like to find out more about the work we do and how we can help your community projects then check out our website www.design-wire.co.uk or simply email us at Info@design-wire.co.uk