Double Diamond of Design: A roller coaster experience

And we mean it in a fun way.  

This simple visual of the Double Diamond of Design (Inspired by the UK Design Council) contains the key principles of design to frame problems and solve problems by putting the people at the very heart of the process, early often and throughout.  

During the problem space (the first half of the diamond), we are presented with many nuggets and knots of information.  We start first with some hypotheses of the problems we are solving for. We begin to empathize with the people we design for by diverging into the world of their feelings, needs and desires. Lots of findings are created at this stage. At this point, it feels like we did a deep-dive on the ride of the roller coaster when we start to decode all the information and make sense of what really matters. 

We rush not to jump to the solution space or inject ideas yet. Instead when we carefully decode and synthesize all the inputs, we begin to frame specifically what are the priority problems that our customers wish us to solve for them. We finish this first ride of the roller coaster by defining the problem as a question to solve together “How Might We….?”. Some hypotheses. Some uncertainty. But it’s OK. We are entering the next part of the diamond with powerful questions to answer, to unleash future solutions. 

Then on the second half of the diamond, this is when the fun begins and we start to breathe a bit when we begin to spark ideas in the world of ‘ideation’. We continue to put ourselves into the shoes of the customers, to be empathetic to the problems we have defined in the first phase but we now turn our energy to brainstorming lots of ideas, possibilities and choices to solve our priority problems. We diverge again, sparking hundreds and hundreds of new and alternative ideas. “Where are we heading to?” we ask ourselves. Rush not to choose ideas or question your ideas. It is important we keep our minds open. Be imaginative.

We are now at the peak of the roller coaster at our most divergent. When we reach the climax of the experience, we face the next question “What’s next?”. This is where the transition begins within this solution-space part of the diamond.  We move from ‘divergent’ to ‘convergent’ mode to make choices, to narrow down options and to validate, with our internal and external customers, what really works – or not. Ideas are prioritized, tested, iterated, and MVP’ed. Time to touch base and put our feet on the ground, to gain critical feedback on which solutions are the most impactful and can deliver the highest return on investment. 

As you can see, the power of the Double Diamond of Design is that it helps us to see where we are in the ‘design process’ – to stay open-minded, exploratory while being focused, to take our next steps with confidence. It is indeed an emotional roller coaster. It is not for the faint-hearted but definitely for those who are keenest to ensure they truly solve the right problems to solve the right problems for their most important people. 

Are you ready for this experience? Let’s talk.

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