is a method for solving problems. I use this approach in many of my design projects. It consists of four main parts:
This process is the initial outline I bring to every project. I will give an example of how I would implement design thinking into a real-world situation. Keep in mind this is not a real project I am working on. I am simply going to freestyle an example of my methodology.
Right now the news is full of headlines about debit cards. Some major banks have begun charging account holders a monthly charge for having a debit card. Times are tough and people need all the money they can save. It seems like everything has some sort of fee associated with it. At some point it is just too much. So what is the problem? This requires research. I did a quick search on rising debit card fees and found the following: banks are choosing to raise the rates on their customers due to new financial regulations. Under the old laws, banks were able to charge merchants large fees for every debit card transaction. New laws passed under the Obama administration now limit the amount banks can charge. In response, many banks have chosen to make up this money by passing new fees along to their account holders.
Next, I would research the way people interact with their money. Afterall, our money is what keeps banks in business. However, cash is almost entirely out. I find some merchants seem surprised when I pull out cash; Iím old-fashioned, I guess. Most bills are paid electronically. Some people still use paper checks, but mainly for personal payments. I do most of my banking online, as do many other people. A typical day in my financial life includes paying bills online, using credit/debit card for everyday purchases, and getting electronic bank statements. If you put this all on a visual map, you would find that I actually have very little need for a physical bank! Next, I would do a little research into branch banking, popularized in the mid-twentieth century. I can sum up branch banking very simply: there are too many. I did an internet search for banks in my area. I live in a city with a population of about 100,000 people. I came up with 110 results. The size of my city is about 25 square miles. This means that I can find a bank every quarter-mile in every direction. Based on my research so far, I would frame my problem as follows: The United States Banking industry is not living in the twenty-first century. The way they do business and their associated products and services can be streamlined using modern technology. Savings from this upgrade could be passed along to retain existing customers and attract new ones.
Everything I have described falls into the research category. If I were going to go on, the next step would be idea generation. Off the top of my head I would suggest banks look to the past, when they maintained fewer physical locations. It would be much easier for a bank to operate with a lean budget if they had only a handful of locations. We all go to one of only a few locations to get groceries, hardware, and books, just to name a few. Imagine if we had to have one of everything within walking distance, what a disaster. Of course this is just one idea. Design thinking requires that I come up with lots of ideas. I might try to come up with fifty or a hundred different ideas. Some of them would be absurd, others just stupid. It doesnít really matter. The process says you just let the ideas flow. I weed through the good and the bad in the subsequent steps, and then begin the process of implementation.