Before starting MSc Innovation, Entrepreneurship & Management I had no idea what Design Thinking was and how it is applied within a wide range of industries. Through The Design Thinking for Innovation module, taught to us by Dr. Ileana Stigliani, my team and I had to identify a problem (not a SOLUTION as she repeated over 100 times) during the first week and walk through the solution-generating step-wise approach of design thinking to come up with our optimal solution. My team and I were interested in exploring loneliness in London amongst young professionals, particularly since, to our surprise, London has been voted to be one of the loneliest cities in Europe.

 The whole process is very engaging and hands-on; we had 2 white plain boards to work off, which by the end of the 8 weeks were not close to being white (see video below). We started by conducting desk research, which was followed by in-depth interviews with our target audience. We moved on to extract common information from what we’ve gathered to identify themes and insight statements on how our audience feels and thinks. Moving into the next phase we generated how might we questions which led into the idea generation phase and in turn to concept evaluation and selection.

 

The process was indeed not an easy one but immensely enjoyable – I have developed an obsession, or more like a mother-daughter relationship, with my colourful boards (particularly sticky notes). Being able to play detective and piece together all bits of gathered information in order to generate an effective and useful solution for our audience was definitely a rewarding journey. What got to me was the fact that all of a sudden we were generating tens and tens of ideas on how to solve the problem and I am one who does not consider herself an ‘ideator’ per say. The step-wise approach offers this structured process that magically leads to the best idea.

By the end of the journey, it was pretty cool seeing how each tool used along the path contributed to the generation of our final product; which got more and more exciting the closer we were to your SOLUTION. Having completed the module, I am now interested in exploring how the methodology is implemented at Design Consultancy firms, within accelerators and within organizations as well. I would like to complete my work placement at any of the aforementioned to explore this field further and decide on my future career aspirations within Design Thinking.

Leen is studying our MSc Innovation, Entrepreneurship & Management programme.