Design Thinking Forward – Session 5: Test

Testing is one of the most critical parts in design thinking. A major reason is that we must demonstrate an experience even though we don’t have a fully functioning product but only a prototype. So presentation is the key – it must focus on the user experience.

To challenge the students in this session, I gave them only 10 minutes for creating a prototype to the point-of-view:

“How can we help Lucy Loose to feel confident and get creative in a situation where she feels too much pressure to get a job?”

After completing this super-quick prototyping exercise, I encouraged the students that it is ok to have a prototype far from perfection – it is called a “shitty first draft”. The value of a shitty first draft is that it is good enough for demonstrating how our persona (a design student with low self-esteem) can fulfill her needs with the prototype as an experience – a complete contrast to a feature presentation of the prototype.

After just a few minutes more, the students did an excellent job for the user experience demonstration.

One group demonstrated various user scenarios with a digital multi-service app with a cardboard container:

Full-service App

Full-service App

Other groups groups showed the instant relaxing feature of their prototype, or the coaching experience to build up the persona’s self-esteem.

The overall students’ feedback reflected their surprise how effectively they could build a shitty-first-draft prototype in only 10 minutes. Personally, I was very happy because one of my design thinking principles is “start with doing – not discussing”.

The whole group gave feedback about each prototype on the feedback grid I like-I wish-New Idea-Open Question, just like in conventional design thinking.

After that, I taught one essential step from psychological methodology how to improve the subsequent feedback integration:

The team processes the negative feedback (derived from “I wish”/”Open Question”) and “New Ideas” into hypotheses. Hypothesis testing in psychology is statistically founded and I love it so much – but it has no relevance in the design thinking context, so I left it out painfully. Instead, I taught how you formulate hypotheses inspired by three psychological models (simple linear regression, multiple linear regression, moderator test). According to these models, everybody formulated his/her hypotheses and thus generated the input for the subsequent design thinking cycle. And that was it!

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