Design Thinking is a state of mind!
The more I navigate this practice, the more I am convinced this is a great truth.
I trust the Design Thinking approach as a problem-solving framework. It helps me to break down complexity, plan the execution of a design option(s), and eventually measure the outcome’s impact compared to the expected result. Now, what’s the link between a design-related approach and the parenting experience? How do I consider this practice as a tool to enhance the parenting experience? How I use the Design Thinking framework for navigating through the parenting-related uncharted waters?
As soon as these questions started to pile-up, I started to see a bridge between how I rely on the design thinking approach as a designer and how I try to solve problems as a newby parent.
Here’s what happened:
My fantastic journey as a parent marks one year, and so far, it looks like a rollercoaster of emotions and feelings that comes with new tasks and duties that keep piling up. Retrospectively looking at this first year, I tried to figure out how I performed as a parent of a brand new human being.
What worked fine?
What didn’t work?
What will I improve in the short, mid and long run?
As a newbie in a parent’s role, I found myself applying behavioural patterns that looked familiar to me. I looked back at the past twelve months, and I surprisingly found myself using the design thinking approach’s critical steps, such as empathising, defining, ideate, prototype, and test!
- Step 1, I empathise as much as possible with my client AKA my son. This exercise is very much complex because I am learning a new language. The third of my life! I need to be proficient in using a communication tool made by tears, smiles, inapprehensible hand gestures and lately, many “abubabbu”. These inputs are the basis of our communication, and I need to rely on them to figure out the problem(s) and understand the feedback.
- Step 2, I quickly jump into the problem definition thanks to a shortlist of possible scenarios. Of course, my supervisor, AKA my wife, provides such a list! I’m referring to basic stuff such as: did he eat? When was the last time we changed his nappy?
- Step 3, very often, I have to face a compressed timeline to ideate a solution. If my buddy cries loud, the cause could be a combo of more reasons. Maybe he’s hungry, perhaps he has a stomach ache, or some external factors piss him out. The majority of times, I cannot solve more than one problem at once. Hence, I always ideate a plan for the short term to gain time for the long-term solution.
- Step 4, I react fast and in a pragmatic way. This is the moment where the fun begins! I quickly set my solution up based on the critical point of the list I mentioned in point 1. A handy TODOs list is beneficial to focus on providing the best option for the current pain/problem in the shortest timeframe. I consider this approach valuable because it makes the “user” feeling safe. After all, he perceives I am working on the solution. In the end, we need to build trust, don’t we?
- Step 5, since the feedback will be impressively responsive, I will immediately learn if I’m or not on the right track. By observing the “user” reactions, I can understand what will be the outcome. I check the response and pray to my god that my initial assumption was correct. On the contrary, I try to keep my faith and quickly start the process over.
Hold-on, I oversimplified the reality, didn’t I?
Yes, I did because I have learned that being a parent is, at the same time, the most natural and complex life’s experience. It requires a lot of mental and physical effort. Lucky me, I am supported and guided by the best in the field, the mum of my son! Women are problem solver creatures by nature. Observing her navigating the different stages of this experience gives me a great starting point for improving myself as a parent. It is a strenuous exercise, though, and I make the wrong choice from time to time.
I heard that success is a sequence of failures, so I keep rolling and “abubabbu”!