What is design thinking?

Here at AYANA, our vision is to empower the youth to take a leading role in their communities. Therefore, an important initiative of AYANA is to incorporate the design thinking model so young innovators can take the first step in creating change. The Design Thinking Process harnesses particular steps to achieve an end goal, and emphasizes the importance of experimentation. The model encompasses creative thinking and encourages innovators to brainstorm endless possibilities. This particular design process focuses on human-centric methods, and develops one’s understandings on how to approach complex problems.

Here are the 5 Stages of Design Thinking:

Empathize: This first step is a key component that makes Design Thinking distinct from other established models.This stage allows individuals to acquire a greater understanding of the problem and the users involved through research. Empathy allows the innovators to have a personal connection with their work, bolstering personal motivations to create solutions. Through empathy, a strong foundation for the project is built.

Define: Through the research conducted in the previous stage, a problem statement can be constructed. This stage allows for organization and team members can come together to draw new conclusions based on their research.

Ideate: This stage encompasses the opportunity to create a limitless range of solutions for your problem. Collaboration is crucial and allows ideas to expand and build.

Prototype: This phase involves creating representations of possible solutions to identify which work. Altering prototypes are necessary based on feedback from others, and therefore, experimentation stimulates new solutions in the Design Thinking process.

Test: This final stage allows a completed product to be experimented using the information discovered during prototyping. Although this is identified as the last step, design thinking processes are not linear, and testing results in more improvements for the product. After testing, innovators can now implement their solutions.

At AYANA, we support young people to take an active role. in community problem-solving We believe the Design Thinking process can help empower these young innovators, and help dispose of their preconceived notions that they have a limited capability to make a difference. We encompass this design model in our programs and support the youth in developing nations to have a responsibility and be part of a narrative for advancement. Through our Youth Innovation Labs, we hope to incorporate this model and further influence our upcoming generations across the world that they can indeed be a catalyst for change.

This post was written by Fumika Hasegawa, AYANA team member.