Design Thinking. Creativity apply to software engineering

Design Thinking is basically a method that helps us to resolve problems more effectively thanks to the application of a high dose of creativity.

As its name suggests, Design Thinking originally appeared within the ambit of design, although for some time now it has been appropriated by other professional fields. Although it may a priori appear to be a method that is far removed from the reality of a software engineering company such as Kurago, it has in fact proved to be very useful for developing solutions within an environment such as ours. Contrary to what one might expect, software development requires a large dose of creativity, which explains why this method provides a series of tools that pave the way for the transition from a concept to an actual product, with this entire process revolving around the customer.

The stages for applying this innovative method are readily understood, yet not so easily implemented. They require effective teamwork, in which each member contributes from their own perspective without the self-imposition of any restrictions. This involves banishing any preconceived notions and thinking outside the box.

But what does Design Thinking actually involve? How can this method’s huge potential be exploited for finding solutions to complex issues?

  1. Start by understanding the problem

The first stage in Design Thinking involves empathy. This may seem straightforward, but it is not always the case. We sometimes think we have understood the customer’s brief, yet what they are actually telling us is not always the cause of the problem. We should analyse it and dig below the surface. Our experience should guide us in this exploration of requirements in order to go beyond a customer’s beliefs and find the root of the problem to be resolved. Only in this way can we please a customer with our results.

  1. Clearly define the requirements

Once we have managed to put ourselves in the user’s shoes, we should be in a position to define the needs our product will cover and the order in which we are going to address each one of the required functionalities. The customer should once again be involved in this definition, and needs to be kept up to speed at all times, as this will bolster their confidence throughout the entire process.

Although it may a priori appear to be a method that is far removed from the reality of a software engineering company such as Kurago, it has in fact proved to be very useful for developing solutions within an environment such as ours.

  1. Unlimited ideas

Once the requirements the software needs to fulfil have been identified, the next stage involves considering how to resolve them. This is the moment of truth when greater creativity is called for, and so we should avoid imposing any limitations. The people involved should feel free to brainstorm, without fear of saying the wrong thing. It is important to generate as many ideas as possible.

  1. The prototype is the key

There is no need to have a perfectly formed idea at this stage. As soon as we have something we can try out, we should do so. Only then will we know whether the idea works or whether we should return to the drawing-board and explore new pathways. The important thing is to be able to prototype quickly and economically.

  1. Testing to begin again

The prototype needs to undergo a testing stage, as this is the only way we will know whether it works. The customer’s feed-back is crucial, not only for confirming that we are on the right track, but also for reaching conclusions that will enable us to adapt the objectives and revisit previous stages to continue finetuning our systems.

There are obviously many ways of finding solutions. Indeed, the bulk of our work as software developers is precisely to provide tools for making work easier and more efficient. Design Thinking is one such method, as an innovative and effective way in which creativity helps us to ensure that our solutions are the best ones. Like any other method, its implementation requires considering certain important issues, but our experience with it thus far has been highly positive. If you want to know what nobody told you about design thinking you can find out more here.

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