Design Thinking (aka Human-Centred Design)

What is Design Thinking?

Working in partnership with Providence Health Care’s Research & Design (R&D) team, the Residential Care for Me (RCfM) team adopted R&D’s method of design thinking (or, human-centred design) to guide their work of creating innovative solutions for residential care.

Design thinking is a creative problem-solving method that encourages seeing through the eyes of those for whom we want to make a difference, and co-creating solutions together.  It empowers residents, families and staff to share their voices and emphasizes the need to think beyond current norms.  

Design thinking is both a process and a mindset that employs the following principles:

  • Human-centred
  • Collaborative (co-creation)
  • Optimistic
  • Experimental (build to learn)
  • Focus on experience (empathy)

Why Design Thinking?

PHC’s R&D team uses design thinking to solve longstanding, complex problems for which there are no obvious solutions – or, the obvious solutions have already failed. It can be applied to products, spaces, services and systems. Design thinking is not only the application of a method, but also a mindset that brings new ways of thinking to the organization. It forces us to not jump to solutions and to truly understand the problem by using different methods to see the issue from different perspectives. The insights gained by taking the time to examine the issue often lead to a reframing of the problem, resulting in innovative solutions that address the true issues. The iterative, action-oriented nature of the prototyping and testing steps also ensures that we don’t spend too much time developing the wrong solution.

“Fail early to succeed sooner” - Tim Brown, IDEO