How Design Thinking Has Influenced Our Work

Watch the Replay


Michael Woo: Hey everybody. It’s Michael Woo, UX Manager at UpTop.

Thomas Wu: And this is Thomas Wu, also at UpTop, unrelated to Mike. Today, we’re going to talk about design thinking. I think design thinking, it’s a mindset if anything. I don’t like to follow it so rigidly saying you have to … Yes, you do have to empathize, right? But whether or not each step is equal weight for every project, that’s not necessarily true, weight and meaning, how much time and energy you spend on each step.

Thomas Wu: Say if you’re doing a research project, you might spend a lot of time doing work around empathy, discovery, right? And if you’re doing, envisioning … A lot of our projects here is prototyping, right? So you kind of have to get to that design prototype stage pretty quickly. So we have to kind of ramp up on the empathy stage really fast. So whatever that means, whatever that looks like, it’s pretty fluid. There’s no one way to do it, but I do agree with it.

Thomas Wu: You do have to understand the problem. You have to understand your users, you have to understand what all your stakeholders are going through in order to arrive at a definition of the scope of a project. From there, you arrive at ideas and a prototype because you can’t jump straight into it. So that kind of coincides with agile. So that’s a hole other kind of school of thought where you kind of just jump straight in.

Michael Woo: So same question back to me, right? I agree. I mean, just like [inaudible 00:02:03] says, it’s a methodology, a tool set, right? And I totally agree that in the real world, you’d be lucky if you were able to use every single one of those tools, but I think how it’s impacted UpTop at the very least is it’s reminded us of the important parts of a design process that we should strive to hit on.

Michael Woo: To your point, to do as many of those as possible is great. But you may not, and that’s totally fine. I think it’s made designing more approachable to me because I know before I was introduced to design thinking, it felt like design had to follow this kind of waterfall process of really doing each stage with so much granularity before moving onto the next.

Michael Woo: And then something wasn’t really designed until you got into the visual stage and it was handed off to a client. But I think with design thinking, again, it made things much more approachable. It condensed the process almost for me because it focused on the end result of, is it really usable for the user? And rather than having to go through each of those stages, research wire frames, visual design, you know, et cetera, it was hey, let’s figure out how do we get to the end state as much as possible so that we can get the reactions from those users and learn?

Michael Woo: Because it’s all about learning, right? I don’t know. I think, again, it just made it so much more easier to do that. And I don’t know if it just removed a level of complexity for me, but again, it’s just a different way of thinking, right? Like this acceptance of being able to do things and fail is totally okay. I mean, that’s what the book is basically telling you, that we want to get to the point where we know if something is a failure or not.

Thomas Wu: Yeah.

Michael Woo: So that you can learn from it, revise it, and put it out again as quickly as possible. I don’t know. I really appreciate that. Thanks everybody for listening to Thomas and I banter about design thinking. Now you can start your next design thinking project by downloading this design thinking playbook, which will hopefully help you get through all of the things that you need to get through. It’s free, and download it now.

Thomas Wu: Yeah, downloaded it but also, if you have questions or comments about it, comment below. We’d be happy to answer your questions. Let’s get the conversation started. Thank you.

Michael Woo: Thank you.