BottomUp - Skills for Innovators

Learn how to use empathy to design new products and stories by being user-centric. Get practical tips on how to research what users need and how to capture your insights into user journeys, stories and prototypes.

Show Notes

Hello. Hello and welcome to the bottom up skills podcast and Mike Parsons. I'm the CEO of Qualitance. And today we are starting a brand new series of the podcast. We're going to go deep into the world of design. Thinking, and I have to tell you that when I discovered design thinking, it answered so many questions in my mind.

Um, the biggest one is how do you, if you've really got a great product and I feel like design thinking really answers that, but really, uh, from a. Human perspective from a desirability perspective. And so I'm really excited to start this enormous 14 part series a where I've taken design thinking and just broken it down into really snackable, bites, size pieces for you to use, uh, for you to learn from.

And maybe even give you a bit of inspiration as well. So, This series, we're going to talk about case studies. We're going to go through all the different tools we're going to go really, really deep. And my hope is that you'll be able to use empathy, which is really key to design thinking, understanding others, um, really feeling on their behalf will you'll be able to use empathy.

Not only on the outside of your business or company with customers, but also on the inside too. Um, hopefully I can help you generate a few new ideas. Maybe it's a feature, maybe it's a product. Hey, maybe it's a business who knows. And in quarter, that is this other goal that I really hope we can achieve together, which is developing user insights, really validated shoes about it.

What your users, what your customers need. And lastly, how to test these assumptions and make sure that they become validated insights. So there's so much to get out of design thinking. And, um, I think it's perhaps good to start with, uh, talking about what actually is design thinking, because it is used quite a bit, uh, in business and you'll find no end of people talking about design thinking.

But I often find once you get into the practice, um, there's still, a lot of people have a very, the thin layer of understanding of design thinking. So let's, let's get in and really talk about what it is. Let's build a foundation for the next 14 episodes of the bottom up podcast. So you can go really deep and you might find some particular areas.

If you're a well-practiced designer, builder, entrepreneur, you might find that, you know, some of this material, you might find that there's one or two things you'd like to go deeper on. And if you want to go deep, you can go to bottom-up dot IO, where you can actually get an entire masterclass. It's absolutely free.

So jump in there and this will help you design products from scratch, make existing products better. Um, and as I mentioned earlier, I do think that this is an essential piece. Uh, if you want to build a new company, Okay, so design thinking, um, let's put this in a context of work. I think design thinking is a powerful problem solving tool, which puts the empathy for users at the heart of the process.

Now, the reason that this is so important is way too often. Um, when people think of a new product feature service, um, They're not really sure what problem they're solving or even worse. They assume they're the problem. And the solution and design thinking is all about putting that to the test. No more guessing.

Let's know. That's test learn. Let's validate. So first concept here in defining design thinking, it's a problem solving tool. And if there's a user in this story, then you can use design thinking to solve that problem. So it might be, uh, creating something in the digital world, like a new app. It could be something in the analog world, like how you navigate an airport, you could use design thinking to solve the problem that it takes too long.

To find your flight or to fly, to find your gate, or perhaps you could go for a hike levels, a challenge, but maybe flying makes some people anxious. So you could, again, you could use design thinking for that. Now the question is like, how does it do this and this word that you're going to hear a lot. When we talk about design thinking.

Is empathy. Empathy is really, really central to this. If it's about solving problems. Well, um, the how is really with empathy and I cannot tell you in my life, um, When I've been fortunate enough to be part of a team working on a, on a product that's done really well it's because we solved the problem well for the user and understanding what users really need is, um, so fundamental now what businesses do most commonly in my experience is that they prioritize the business's requirements.

You know, make money, our compliance constraints, whatever it is in terms of the business. So they, that those requirements, um, become more, more important, more primary then the user's needs. Now, nowhere is this more prevalent than financial services? So banking financial services, very highly regulated environment.

So often the need for compliance and regulation or the big one is actually the constraint of legacy systems. These are all business things. They've got nothing to do with what the user is trying to do the job to be done. In the user's mind, what happens is all of these business requirements, tight, the product or service, whether it's, um, if you're at a bank, the teller experience, when you're in branch or when you're online, know your customer, GDPR legacy systems, all those sorts of things, they just get in the way.

Of helping the user. So this is the paradigm that design thinking addresses rather than letting the business requirements, dominate the user experience and push down what the user actually needs. What it actually does, is it prioritizes what the user needs, because the beauty is if you serve the user yeah.

Can thrive too. So design thinking. Is fundamentally problem solving by putting users at P Cole. Now there is a five step process that the Stanford D school has, uh, invented, which is generally become the standard for design thinking. And this five step process. Funnily enough, it starts with empathy, naturally empathy to get out there, to understand the user then to go in a process which uses to define their needs, ideate, how you meet them, then prototype, then test.

Now there's many different, um, variations of this theme, but in essence here, the big takeout put the user first. This is what's key and continually go back to the user. To check in about how you might solve their problems. Now, this is the five step process, which is generally considered the defective standard of design thinking.

If you want to get deeper on that, check out the masterclass at bottom-up dot IO and you can, you can really unpack that, but there's something else that happens on design thinking. When we think about defining it and, you know, For me, it is the capability of design thinking to shift from a guessing paradigm to knowing, to make sure that we are solving a problem.

But what design thinking I can also do is to help you, um, solve a problem. And this is key that is worth solving. So you want to get up to the house, highest order of problems for users. Why, if you not small little problems, but if you solve a really big problem for a user, then guess what they want to use.

This service are lot. Guess what? If you're solving a problem that's worth solving, they will pay for it. And lastly, you can actually frame the technology requirements or the analog constraints very well. When you know, What's viable. I what prepared to pay for, and also what's desirable. You found out how to unlock the aha moment, the wow moment.

They really want this because this is solving a really high order problem. And therefore you can frame the technology to do the job, to unlock, uh, this problem. Perhaps to do it at scale, and to ensure that it is a viable problem to solve because not every problem is worth solving. So this is where design thinking is that at its best, it is about really coming to terms with what users want.

Using this five step process. It's about thinking critically, no more guessing, really starting to know. And this plays in beautifully to some other practices that you can hear about on bottom up, which is such as lean, rapid prototyping, um, agile, they all, all come together and be the innovator's toolkit, which is exactly what we're about.

Understanding here at the bottom up skills podcast. Okay. That's the first step into a huge, a mammoth and Epic journey of design thinking. Um, I hope this frame will serve you well for the next 13 episodes. It's been great to start this journey with you. We'll catch you next time on the bottom up skills podcast.

I might pass this. That's a wrap.

What is BottomUp - Skills for Innovators?

The volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous world we now live in makes it impossible to innovate from the top down. We must now take an empathic, experimental, and emergent approach to innovate from the BottomUp.

Mike Parsons breaks down all the components of what it takes to discover, build, test, and launch radical new products, services, and cultures. You'll get in-depth instruction on the most effective methodologies, interviews with experts, and case studies. All in under 15 minutes.