THE DESIGN PROCESS

Design thinking. Human-centered design. Strategic design. Service design. Design, design, design. Why do we think a design process is the right approach to our challenge?

Design thinking combines creative and critical thinking that allows information and ideas to be organized, decisions to be made, situations to be improved, and knowledge to be gained. It’s a mindset focused on solutions and not the problem.

WHY OSLO is a project. But more importantly; it's a process - and that's what's interesting. We believe the only way organizations can change, implement a strategy, innovate, or gain competitative advantage is through projects and the right process. The problem is, however, that it's so easy to create projects that has no actual impact in the end. Many are based on the need to just "do a project", and is not necessarily based on real user needs.

It is the things that we don't know that will lead us to new ideas

A design process is the process of going from unknowns to knowns. Design helps you make sense of things, and we as designers must works as interpreters. Not just analyzing, but interpreting situations, needs, words and systems. Both from the inside and the outside. 

We strive to keep people at the center of our research. It's about really understanding the experiences, needs and desires of the people you are designing for. So that in the end, you’ll know that your solution will be a success because you’ve kept the people you’re looking to serve at the heart of the process.

 

We have been (almost) everywhere

We have talked to educational institutions, scientists, our friends, clients, international students, large companies, small startups, Norwegians with many international friends and some with none. We have read and read and read: reports, articles, case studies and interviews. We have spoken to HR departments, tax offices, social entrepreneurs and our grandmothers, uncles, sisters and colleagues. We have hosted workshops, held presentations, had Skype meetings, countless phone calls and stopped people on the street. 

We go everywhere and out of what might seem like the "obvious" way to go, to see if we can frame the challenge in a new way. Completely immersed, our job is to not let anything be based on assumptions, and to learn from the people we're designing for. And in fact, to make sure we actually who that is. More on that later -- that's a whooole other blog post.

Design Thinking is basically a mindset - a way of thinking when solving problems. Did you know that Google formally allows 20% of their employees’ time to think? That says a lot about the value of thinking.

 

the process: Inspiration - Ideation - Implementation

"In the Inspiration phase you’ll learn directly from the people you’re designing for as you immerse yourself in their lives and come to deeply understand their needs. In the Ideation phase you’ll make sense of what you learned, identify opportunities for design, and prototype possible solutions. And in the Implementation phase you’ll bring your solution to life, and eventually, to market.

Expect to find yourself shifting gears through the process, moving from concrete observations to highly abstract thinking, and then right back again into the nuts and bolts of your prototype. We call it diverging and converging. You’ll diverge and converge a few times, and with each new cycle you’ll come closer and closer to the solution that is best suited for the people you’re designing for."

// From the IDEO +Acumen course 'Design Kit: The Course for Human-Centered Design'

 

How can we make Oslo feel more like home for internationals?

This is our challenge. A pretty open one, that could have a million different solutions. How can we make sure we're doing the right project, not only doing the project - any project - right? We believe design thinking is the right kind of thinking, because it provides tools to go from the unknown to known. Making sure it's based on real needs, and not our assumptions in the process.

New to design thinking? Spaghetti put together a short intro a while back - check it out!