A design thinker’s cheat sheet

October 23, 2013
Fellow, 2013-2014


guido-post-itsAs an entrepreneur, I have been designing products, services and solutions for most of my professional life.

Still, I have never considered myself a designer — not until now.

So, what changed?

The one concept that has helped me bridge the gap between being “someone who designs” and being a “designer” is this notion of being “mindful of process”. This is one of the first concepts that you learn at the d.school. In other words, being “mindful of process” means being thoughtful not only about what work you do, but also how you do it, and more importantly how you can improve your methods the next time you do that same work.

d.school Fellow Guido Kovalskys presents his design thinking "cheat sheet". (d.school, Guido Kovalskys)

d.school Fellow Guido Kovalskys presents his design thinking “cheat sheet”. (d.school, Guido Kovalskys)

So, the long and the short of it is, you too can become a designer. I suggest you try it using these three steps:

#1 – Pick one among the challenges you face daily. It can be as simple as refining the best way to commute to work, or as complex as designing your own methods to put your baby to sleep with minimum crying and maximum speed. Just pick one.

#2 – Develop an awareness for the process you follow to tackle that challenge. In particular, notice some of the changes you’ve made recently to improve your outcomes. Be mindful about what works and what doesn’t, and how you iterate your solutions to make continuous improvements.

#3 – Now comes the hardest part. Say this to yourself: I am a designer.

Done! You are a designer. We all are! Welcome to the club!

Now, becoming a good designer is a whole other ball game. It really takes a lot of practice. Honestly, I am not even close, but I think I am getting better every day.

In the meantime, I am happy to share my own Design Thinking Cheat Sheet. Here it is, I hope you find it useful:

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  1. Chaitanya Bist

    Greetings Guido,
    This is really insightful!
    Your process shall help me in the initiative that I’ve undertaken – ‘Should ‘ Design Education ‘ as a subject be introduced at school level in India?’ ( http://lnkd.in/2cjzZS )
    Many thanks for sharing this. Keep it up!

    Warm regards,
    Chaitanya Bist

  2. guido

    thanks Chaitanya. yours is a fascinating project, indeed. (and a very meaningful one i think). i may suggest a slight change in name from “Should Design Education as a subject be introduced at school level in India..?” to “How might we introduce Design Education as a subject…”

  3. Chaitanya Bist

    Hey Guido,
    I somehow (luckily) happened to revisit your post, almost after a year n noticed your reply. Forgive me for replying to your comment this late.
    Anyways, many thanks for appreciating my project. To get this kinda positive response, that to form a dschool fellow, really means a lot to me. Thanks Guido. :)
    Well yes, you’re absolutely right. The “HOW TO” actually does occupy the most crucial part of the project. And I’m happy to share with you that things have actually started developing in India. The National Council Of Educational Research And Training (NCERT) India, have started publishing books on Basic Design & Graphic Design for the Secondary & the Higher Secondary…


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