Feeling Creative?  Try this…

What do building a phone app, developing global mobility policies, and even stocking your pantry have in common? All these projects can benefit dramatically from using a structured approach to complete them.

At Living Abroad, we’ve begun to talk about what’s next for the International Relocation Center, and we’ve found the structured approach of design thinking to be a very useful tool.

Design thinking is usually comprised of these stages:

  • Understanding the feelings and experiences of users. Be a good listener and ask good questions.
  • Defining the specific problems users need to solve. Identify what it is that users need, and why, very specifically, they need it.
  • Brainstorming solutions to those problems. Encourage all ideas in a friendly, relaxed, supportive environment.
  • Prototyping one or more solutions. Consider factors like quality, complexity, and cost.
  • Testing solutions to see if they meet user needs. Does the solution solve the identified problem? How does it affect the user’s feelings and experiences?

Design thinking stages may overlap, occur out of order, or even repeat. But making specific time for each stage can yield results that are innovative and even offer solutions for the future. They also help us achieve our most important goal: making users feel truly heard and supported.

Want to read more about design thinking? A good place to start is Google’s The Design Sprint, a guide to setting up a five day “sprint” for tackling all sorts of business challenges.

(And if you need a short break between stages: The puzzle game Wordle has taken the Internet by storm, but have you tried Globle? Instead of a five-letter word, you must guess a country by name on an unlabeled globe. As you get geographically closer, the color of your guessed countries gets darker and darker. Just like Wordle, you can share your progression through the game with others every day.)

Written by Erin Fitzgerald, GMS, Content Manager