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Pay attention! Design thinking is everywhere.

Updated: Aug 31, 2021

Letters live.

When I moved to Auckland 3 weeks ago, my studio functioned as a place for living, not an area for working. The desk was lame and groggy, and there was no bookshelf for me to build my "library". The dining table was too big and took too much space in my living room. Besides, I don't expect to entertain whole lot of people at my studio..

So the next thing I did for my "little Kyoto" was to buy the furniture I needed to build my working station at home. Then, I spent a couple of days assembling the desk, bookshelf, and new coffee table. And I returned the original furniture to my landlord.

The experience was more than enjoyable. It reminded me of the time I was a product designer ten years ago in my undergrad. I started thinking about how these boards, metal racks and nails were designed and organised by the designers. Also, I realised how vital furniture assembling manuals are to me, even though I am a well-trained product designer. While assembling new furniture for my studio, I made a couple of mistakes to the point that I had to disassemble and do it all over again to get it right.

The Table 丨 Kun Lu

Each small step in the assembly process has its purpose. Every single nail plays a crucial part in the final product. Behind the manual, there is always a tremendous amount of calculation made by the engineers and designers to deliver the expected load-bearing and stability.

Back to the topic of design thinking. I listed three different design process frameworks for comparison: furniture design, UX design and DMAIC (quality control).

Furniture design process:

  1. Research

  2. Design concept

  3. Create a scale model

  4. Build a prototype

  5. Product testing

  6. Presentation

UX design process:

  1. Requirements gathering

  2. Alternative design

  3. Prototyping

  4. Evaluation

DMAIC (quality control) process:

  1. Define

  2. Measure

  3. Analyse

  4. Improve

  5. Control

You would be amazed at how many similarities these three frameworks have even though they are widely applied in different businesses.

They are all circular processes. It is all about continuous improvement, and we need to acknowledge that there is always improvement that can be made.

These methods are all data-driven. There has to be supportive evidence to back the design. It can be quantitative or qualitative data to convey the expectation from customer insights.

The fundamental purpose of these examples is to solve problems and ultimately enhance customer satisfaction.

I am surprised that I could come up with these many thoughts while assembling furniture. Now, I am sitting in front of the exact desk I assembled three weeks ago, uploading the painting I’ve drawn on it and writing a blog about it. Sometimes, our brains work at their highest potential when we are occupied with an activity that requires us to use our brain and hands.

Auckland will go through at least two more weeks of lockdown. So, stay safe at home but don't stay still.

As the Holy Bible stated: "There is nothing new under the sun." So, go and observe something that has always existed around you, but you have not paid attention to and spend some time thinking about it.

It will surprise you.


Book to read:Steal Like An Artist” — Austin Kleon

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