‘Design Thinking’ for Life

Design thinking and the idea that principles from design can be applied well beyond the conventional ideas of what we commonly think of as design have been around for some time.

So, I was interested to read this New York Times blog post in which a Stanford Professor has applied it to a specific aspect of life – namely, developing effective life habits

New Year Times Blog Post – Design Thinking for a Better You

The element of reframing a challenge or problem is prominent in his thinking. The key seems to be that the design thinking protocol of five steps allows for looking at the issue in hand from different perspectives – what he calls ’empathizing’ which in turn gives the scope for a bigger array of potential solutions to be considered because the issue or ‘problem’ at hand is looked at from a variety of perspectives.

When he talks of empathy, I read this as meaning both empathy with others and the world around us, but also with ourselves. Too often, when confronted with our own habits that don’t lead to the best outcomes (or the ones we want) it can be very easy to lose that empathy with one’s self – to be tempted to put the lack of effective outcome down to simple weakness or failure to do what was necessary. The approach outlned here enables a more sensitive and nuanced understanding of what’s got n the way, what the desired end outcome really is and then the exploration of ways to achieve it.


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