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Mastering the 5 Steps of Design Thinking with Online Learning Videos

Design thinking is a process that emphasizes creating human-centric solutions to common business problems. While this general definition explains the primary goal of design thinking, it doesn’t really cover the how of the process.

For employees to successfully apply the principles of design thinking in a consistent framework, they need to first master the basic steps of the process. The process is typically divided into 5 steps:

  1. Empathy. Who is this solution/process meant to serve and how? How will they use it? Basically, empathy is keeping the end user in mind.
  2. Define. What is the problem/challenge that needs addressing? How does this issue affect the end user? The goal is to find out what’s wrong with the existing process/product.
  3. Ideate. How can you solve the problem from Step 2? Are there other possible solutions? Essentially, this step is a brainstorming process of potential solution ideas.
  4. Prototype. Will the solution from Step 3 work? The basic goal of Step 4 is to create some kind of prototype—like a demo, test model, or working concept—that can be tested.
  5. Test. Hand the prototype from Step 4 over to the end users and get their feedback! See how they interact with it and what the impacts are.

While the specifics of these steps might vary from one instructor to the next, these definitions should provide a rough idea of how each step works.
Helping employees learn how to master each of these five steps can be a daunting task—even if individual lessons are relatively simple, they still have to be delivered to everyone. This issue of scaling lessons is a major challenge for any organization that spans multiple offices or more than a small handful of employees. However, this can be overcome by utilizing shareable online learning videos to deliver lessons.

Finding the Right Online Learning Video Solution

Online training resources, like prerecorded videos featuring lessons on specific topics, can be incredibly useful for making sure that training can be scaled across the whole of your organization.
For one, unlike in-person seminars/lectures, each employee is free to access the training video at a time and location of their own choosing. This alleviates the headache of coordinating around dozens of employee schedules to work in trainings.
It’s important to keep in mind that some online video learning platforms have other limitations. For example, some solutions have limited “seats” available for each lesson. This makes it so that only a certain number of employees can access the lesson at any given time.
Big Think+’s own online video learning platform eschews the seat limitation to prevent this problem and can deploy a customized curriculum that’s tailored to the specific learning needs of your organization.
Another concern in finding a truly effective organizational online learning solution is whether or not that resource actually has knowledgeable experts who can also inspire employees and keep them engaged with their lessons. Boring, rote online lessons with unknown and impersonal lecturers aren’t likely to catch and hold a viewer’s attention.
Big Think+ uses conversational content and lessons featuring world-renowned experts like:

  • Tim Brown, the CEO of IDEO;
  • Roger Martin, Dean of the Rotman School of Management; and
  • Jim Collins, Author of Good to Great.

That’s just to name a few. These experts also happen to be masters of Design Thinking—or are helping to redefine it. To add further personal context, you can include your own organization’s internal experts. There are hundreds of these video lessons available in Big Think’s catalog, and more are added each month on a range of topics.

Using Video Content to Master Design Thinking’s 5 Steps

Once you’ve found the right online learning platform, it’s time to create a lesson plan for your employees—something to provide some structure of their learning so they can make a logical progression from one lesson to the next.
The natural starting point for any design thinking lesson plan is Step 1: Empathy. Simply driving home the lesson of keeping the end user in mind when it comes to creating/modifying a process or product can have a huge impact on success—just ask Roger Martin.
Back in 2000, Proctor & Gamble was experiencing slow growth and even losing market share for 7 of its top 10 brands. Yet, a decade later, they experienced a significant increase in market share for all of those products. What was the secret? As Martin said in an article for Big Think:
“It wasn’t turning the organization completely upside down, bringing in lots of outsiders, making acquisitions… It was changing some small, subtle things about the way the company reviewed its strategies, how it strove to work with people outside the company, how it thought about its customers.”
That final point is especially important for design thinking, as it focuses on the needs of the end users of Proctor & Gamble’s products. The company made some changes to their products to address the two “moments of truth” that customers experience with them: the first moment in the store when they choose a product, and the second when they actually use the product.
By considering both aspects of the customer experience, P&G was able to make its products appeal “more holistically to the consumer as a whole.” Stories like this can be effective ways to confer the importance of lessons to learners—which is why having expert-led lessons is so important. True industry leaders and luminaries have a deep reserve of these stories to draw on and share with learners.
When using video lessons, incorporating your own organization’s thought leadership can be useful. This not only creates a set of unique content that is highly applicable to your organization; it also allows you to guide the overall direction of lessons with more granularity than whatever pre-existing videos the video learning platform provider has.

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