Design Thinking process: Empathize, Define, Ideate, Prototype
Get started now, because it is a lot of work. Due Tuesday AFTER Spring Break. Woo hoo!
For the next two weeks you are going to work on designing and prototyping a device that Michael Johnson, an auto racer who is confined to a wheelchair, can use to shovel snow in his driveway. As I explained in class (and in the video below), you will be using the Design Thinking Process for Innovation to generate a solution.
Complete the four phases below. (we will not be doing phase 5, Test, that is in the diagram above)
Who you are helping: People with limited mobility who need a wheelchair who have trouble putting on pants.
You MUST design your solution with these constraints:
- The person does not have any leg mobility.
- They use a wheel chair, either manually or motorized, but your solution must benefit both audiences
- The person cannot lift or push themselves up with their arms. They don’t have the strength.
- They must be able to do this alone, and at a somewhat normal speed, like anyone else.
- Your final invention should not cost the user more than $200.
- Your final solution can NOT already exist in ANY FORM. For instance, you can’t have them just wiggle into pants while lying on the bed or pay someone to come help you. There are devices that exist, so don’t use those. They don’t meet all the constraints.
Michael Johnson spoke to CAS 110 students about his experience and the difficulties of maneuvering in a wheelchair. Michael broke his back racing motorcycles when he was 12-years-old. Now he races fast cars, thanks to modern technology. (Michael’s cool 🙂
EMPATHY (put yourself in the user’s shoes)
Before you can design a solution for someone, you need to learn about understand them, their lives and the challenges they face.
This requires RESEARCH of all kinds, including:
- spend time in an ordinary chair and try putting pants on without much arm strength. Use a wheelchair if you can find one.
- visit the library and ask their expert and helpful librarians for materials surrounding mobility
- interview someone confined to a wheelchair
- search the web for answers.
NOTE, EMPATHY IS NOT ABOUT YOUR INTUITION OR IMAGINING WHAT THE PERSON GOES THROUGH, so don’t list what you think about the questions below I won’t count them, although these can be clues that inform your search for real answers.
Write 10 facts total about (5 for Mobility and 5 for Physics)
- Mobility: Write and number at least five full sentences describing some of the mobility challenges someone in a wheelchair has, particularly when putting on pants, in or out of the wheelchair. (You can try it yourself and explain what you went through.
- Physics: Write and number least five full sentences explaining some of the of the physical forces involved that would prevent someone seated from being able to cover their lower body. Don’t make this stuff up. Research it.
UNDER EACH OF THESE TEN FACTS YOU MUST EXPLAIN WHERE PROVIDE THE SOURCE: If you do not include where you got a fact, you will NOT get credit for that entry.
- Include links, if relevant.
- Include article or book titles, if relevant.
- If you interviewed someone, put their name and contact info.
- If you tried to do the task yourself (highly recommended) in a wheelchair or a chair, explain the circumstances and include a SELFIE photo with you in action.
DEFINE (Write a single “problem statement” in the form of a question. What are you really trying to solve?)
Once you have a general understanding of the needs of the user from Phase 1, Consider the problem you are trying to solve, which was said to be how a person with limited mobility can put on pants.
As yourself questions like:
- Do they have to wear the same kind of pants others put on?
- Do they have to be in a wheelchair to put them on?
- What are you really trying to achieve? What is at the core of what a person in a wheelchair needs? To cover up their legs with what appear to be pants?
Once you determine the breadth of the problem, ask a question that is open-ended, that could suggest many possible solutions. For instance, if you ask how someone could put on pants while in a wheelchair, then you have already built a part of the solution into the question: 1) you’re defining pants in a conventional way and 2) saying they must do it in a wheelchair. Think of a broader way to ask “define” the problem, the challenge. What is it that a person with limited mobility REALLY NEEDS? Ask a question like that.
Another example, not pants related, if you ask how the city can build a bridge across a river, you can pretty much guarantee they’re going to wind up with a bridge. But if you ask, instead, a broader, more open-ended question, like, “How can we get people and vehicles across the river?”, you would get many other ideas, like tunnels, ferries, slingshots and the like.
What Makes a Good Problem Statement? (from https://www.interaction-design.org)
Define exactly what the problem is that you were trying to solve using the guidelines below.
A problem statement is important to a Design Thinking project, because it will guide you and provides a focus on the specific needs that you have uncovered. It also creates a sense of possibility and optimism that allows you to spark off ideas in the Ideation stage, which is the third and following stage in the Design Thinking process.
A good problem statement should thus have the following traits. It should be:
• Human-centred. This requires you to frame your problem statement according to specific users, their needs and the insights that your team has gained in the Empathise phase. The problem statement should be about the people the team is trying to help, rather than focussing on technology, monetary returns or product specifications.
• Broad enough for creative freedom. This means that the problem statement should not focus too narrowly on a specific method regarding the implementation of the solution (such as, “How can I design a better shovel?” If you ask for a shovel, you’re going to get a shovel. How can you better ask this to allow many other possible solutions?) The problem statement should also not list technical requirements, as this would unnecessarily restrict the team and prevent them from exploring areas that might bring unexpected value and insight to the project.
• Narrow enough to make it manageable. On the other hand, a problem statement such as , “Improve the human condition,” is too broad and will likely cause team members to easily feel daunted. Problem statements should have sufficient constraints to make the project manageable.
As well as the three traits mentioned above, it also helps to begin the problem statement with a verb, such as “Create”, “Define”, and “Adapt”, to make the problem become more action-oriented.
IDEATE (think of ideas)
For this part of the assignment you must generate ideas and then choose one that you will be prototyping next week. To do this you will be making lists, similar to past assignments.
You will be generating ideas two ways:
LIST 1: Think about pants. List ten things about pants.
Think about who, what, why, how, when, where? Do these words spark any thoughts? This will get the idea of pants rolling about in your mind…
LIST 2: Generate 10 ideas where a your solution involves a wheelchair.
List ten (10) ideas involving a wheelchair (as full sentences) that might solve the problem. Be imaginative!
LIST 3: Generate 10 ideas where a your solution DOES NOT involve a wheelchair in any way.
List ten (10) ideas involving a wheelchair (as full sentences) that might solve the problem
Again, if you ask for a wheelchair solution, you’re stuck with only thinking that a person with limited mobility must put on his pants from his wheelchair, but maybe there are other ways to solve this problem that don’t involve a wheelchair. What else might he be able to do? But don’t forget the constraints listed above.
PROTOTYPE (build a physical model of your best idea)
Now it’s time to choose converge on your most workable idea and make a prototype of it.
YOU WILL ACTUALLY BUILD A THREE-DIMENSIONAL, PHYSICAL VERSION OF YOUR IDEA OUT OF CARDBOARD, TAPE, PRINTED FROM A 3D PRINTER, ETC. NO DRAWINGS! YOU MUST BUILD THIS.
WHAT IS A PROTOTYPE?
According to the (Interaction Design Foundation), a prototype is a simple experimental model of a proposed solution used to test or validate ideas, design assumptions and other aspects of its conceptualization quickly and cheaply, so that the designer/s involved can make appropriate refinements or possible changes in direction. Prototypes are not meant to function but rather to let users interact with them so as to provide feedback. Prototyping is a crucial part of iterative design processes, design thinking, and user-centered design.
Prototypes can take many forms (cardboard, printed on a 3D printer, steel, etc.) and about the only thing the various forms have in common is that they are all tangible forms of your ideas. You can physically interact with them.
Choose your best idea and
- Make a 3D, physical model (prototype) of it. (see video below)
- Write a detailed, 1/2 page explanation of how it would work.
- Take photos of it
1. MAKE YOUR MODEL: Your prototype must be ABOUT THE SIZE OF A STANDARD TOASTER (about the size in the video below), something you could carry around, if need be. Don’t make it life-size, or super small. I recommend you use cardboard or boxboard (what cereal boxes are made of). You are welcome to add any other materials you like, but your model must clearly convey the working mechanism of your design. If you like, you may use a 3D drawing software to create your model.
WATCH THIS VIDEO:
Boxboard or cardboard: Using scissors, tape and boxboard (the kind of cereal boxes are made of; it’s easy to cut) or any type of cardboard, Boxboard is used by in almost all packaging and you can find it at any recycling center…or you can pour out a box of cereal…Be careful cutting thicker cardboard with knives or other razor-sharp tools.
Bendable or rigid materials: Using bendable materials, like pipe cleaners, straws, coffee stirrers and thin rigid materials (like toothpicks, Q-Tips, wooden stirrers and the like).You can glue and tape these materials.
2. WRITE 1/2 PAGE EXPLANATION OF HOW YOUR IDEA WORKS
3. TAKE PHOTOS: When finished, TAKE THREE PHOTOS of your model with a clear background (for example, a blank wall behind it, not a busy living room) and good lighting.
- One photo from the top
- One from the side
- One from an an angle that that shows three sides (top, two sides). See 3/4 photo.
(NOTE: SAVE YOUR PHYSICAL PROTOTYPE! AFTER GRADING, WE WILL CHOOSE THE BEST 10 BEST IDEAS. IF YOURS IS ONE OF THE 10, YOU WILL BRING YOUR PROTOTYPE TO CLASS TO SHOW TO MICHAEL. HE WILL SELECT HIS THREE FAVORITES BASED ON WHICH ONES HE FEELS BEST SOLVES HIS PROBLEM. THOSE THREE WILL WIN A PRIZE.
HOW TO SUBMIT THIS ASSIGNMENT
Combine all of your phases into ONE, four-page document.
SUBMIT AS A PDF FILE! IF YOU DON’T KNOW HOW TO DO THIS SEARCH IT ON GOOGLE. If you are having trouble uploading it, call the D2L helpline. They’re awesome there, and always there!
PAGE 1 of your document:
- AT THE TOP OF THE PAGE PUT YOUR FULL NAME
- UNDER THAT, ADD THE LABEL “PROBLEM STATEMENT” AND WRITE YOUR PROBLEM STATEMENT FROM THE “DEFINE” PHASE.
- UNDER THAT, ADD YOUR RESEARCH SEPARATED UNDER THE HEADINGS “MOBILITY” AND “PHYSICS.” LABEL THIS “EMPATHY.” BE SURE TO INCLUDE YOUR SOURCES.
- AT THE TOP OF THE PAGE PUT THE LABEL “IDEAS“. ADD YOUR IDEAS FROM THE “IDEATE” PHASE SEPARATED UNDER THE HEADINGS “LIST 1“, “LIST 2,” AND “LIST 3“.
- LABEL THIS PAGE “PROTOTYPE.”
- UNDER THIS PUT YOUR 1/2 PAGE EXPLANATION OF HOW YOUR IDEA WORKS.
- COMBINE YOUR THREE PHOTOS ON A SINGLE PAGE. LABEL THE IMPORTANT PARTS OF YOUR INVENTION.
Upload your SINGLE document to the dropbox, “Design thinking assignment“