One of the key activities in Design Thinking is doing design. Hence the irony that Design Thinking actually involves design doing. Not exactly in what designers do, but brainstorming solutions, prototyping them, learning and validating, iterating and improving. Rinse and repeat.

I like to use the analogy of simulating and experimenting during Chemistry lab to describe the Design activity in our workshops. For example the experiment of splitting “H” and “O” from H2O. I could never get my test tube with the Hydrogen to pop in my first go. I would need to try the process a few times before I get it right.

I found it therefore interesting when Ken Rosen explains (perhaps oversimplifying) how the differences of the Airbus A380 and the Boeing 787 could have been better determined through a simulation mindset.

Start a simulation mindset for major strategic decisions. Determine the minimum viable model you can use to represent your situation. Use that model to create a game, discussion, or workshop. Play.

That is Design Thinking at its best. Applied holistically to simulate scenarios of the hardest problems through the eyes of your stakeholders. Use a sketch, lego blocks, a game, full-size spatial mockups, anything that will give you a “quick and dirty” way to get real quick. With a little effort, you can learn so much about the wicked problems you are trying to solve.

3D Printed Toy Car

Wouter Scheublin, in cooperation with the Dutch research institute TNO, designed this wonderfully minimal pull back car made through 3D printing.

Wouter leveraged on some of the strengths and advantages of the 3D printing process, in this case laser sintering, to design the car and the pull back mechanism all in one go,

Every part, including the gears, axles, wheels and pull back spring all come out from the printer as a complete assembly. The only assembly required is the 4 rubber bands tires and perhaps packaging.

I applaud Wouter’s amazing experimentation and sublime Industrial Design. This product really got me excited. However I was quite surprised to note that this car is on sale on his website at Euros €180, and obviously made to order.

I wonder if a designer is experimenting in such advanced manufacturing processes should he not also experiment with an advanced business model as well? Why not sell the 3D file at perhaps €10-20 and possibly make a whole lot more money, and at the same time save on shipping costs and effort?

With 3D Printing cafes exploding all around us, I think selling the 3D file of your design is the way of the future.

Via: Website

As you may know from our last post, we worked with ETPL (the technology transfer arm of the Agency for Science, Technology and Research in Singapore) to develop 10 wearable prototypes for the Next to the Skin Technology Showcase.

What was notable in this program was not just the 10 meaningful wearable solutions, it was also how design was integrated as a strategic activity in the formation of the program, the way it was run, and the value the program offered the business.

ETPL-Design-Thinking-Bootcamp

We kicked off this Design Led Innovation program with a 3-day Design Thinking Boot Camp where teams of investors, designers, engineers, scientists, technologists and commercialization people got together to create a shared vision of what the future of Wearables could be.

A_STAR Workshop Observation Card

We also got the scientists out of their lab and into the field to observe or speak to humans doing what they do best. We gave the participants one of our Design Thinking Tools, the Observation Card, and showed them how to be amateur ethnographers for a week.

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Through this ethnographic activity, we manage to get the scientists and technologists in our teams to shift their thinking from one that is technology driven, to one that is user centered and focused on how their customers would experience the benefits of their technology.

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After that, it was a design implementation activity where we worked with the core team, the scientists, and external industry experts to fine-tune the design of the 10 wearable propositions. It was a fully iterative process filled with mad scurrying and sleepless nights. Luckily we had Apples and chips to keep us sane!

Anyways, this short video pretty much documents the process of how we did it. Do have a look and I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below?


Can’t see the video above? Check it out here on YouTube.

Stay tuned to our website for the full case study where we will be showcasing the complete project and the deliverables soon.


If you can’t see the video click here.

What a great snippet of a 1996 film by Preston McLanahan. I really like how Paul Rand bridges the gap between art, aesthetics, form, content and ultimately design.

Aesthetics is the study of the interaction and fusion between form and content. —Paul Rand

Via: @johnmaeda

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