Let’s see how you can use design thinking (DT) to design a better life for yourself. If you replace the “user” with “me” then you can run through the five steps of DT to solve any of your own problems. After this first struck me, I learnt that two professors at Stanford, Bill Burnett and David Evans, teach a course called Designing Your Life which uses the same DT principles. In fact, they have written a book called ‘Designing Your Life: How to Build a Well-Lived, Joyful Life’. What follows is my simplified approach to living your best life.
Step 1: Empathize
Try to understand yourself better. Write down your most important beliefs, needs, aspirations, etc. You need to stop judging yourself and detach yourself from you before applying empathy (first time?!) towards your own self.
Step 2: Define
Articulate the problem you are trying to solve or a goal you want to accomplish. Try to be as specific and clear as possible. How well you solve your problem will depend on how well you define your problem.
Step 3: Ideate
Let’s say your problem statement is “I want to change my career”. Come up with different alternative careers freely without worrying too much about your constraints or social obligations.
Step 4: Prototype
Prototype your ideas by coming up with the steps you would need to take to embark on each alternative career. Speak to people with the jobs you desire to test if your steps are realistic. Experiment until you find the ideal choice.
Step 5: Test
This is THE MOST important step when it comes to life design. Suppose you want to change your career, you should test drive your best alternative career in parallel with your current career/job to see if it works out as expected. Most often, your original assumptions will fail and you will have to redefine your original problem. However, by applying DT you can pilot and test your ideas without much risk. Doing this isn’t as hard as you might think it is and is in fact very much possible in most cases. The bottom line is that for whatever you want out of life, you can run through these steps quickly to test out and validate your original assumptions, ideas and solutions to see if they are yielding the returns you DESERVE.