• Melissa Whiteside

Design Thinking and Diversity



Diversity in design is an important aspect to design thinking. Design thinking is defined as a solution-based method of problem-solving focused on the human experience. Having a diverse team is crucial in evaluating and finding solutions to specific design problems.

Design thinking is a five-step process. Careful consideration of each step is the key to creative problem-solving. However, like most creative processes, it is not a linear process. Moving through each step can lead to reevaluating the previous ones to have a holistic view of the end goal and a human-centred design.


Design Thinking


The five steps that characterize design thinking are empathizing, defining, ideating, prototype, and testing.

  • Empathize with the client. Figure out their pain points and empathize with what they need. Observe, engage, and gather evidence of the problem.

  • Define the problem and analyze the situation from different points of view and perspectives. Be open-minded to unconventional possibilities.

  • Ideate is another way to say brainstorm. Brainstorm ideas, be creative listen to everyone on the team with the goal of problems solving. Move past obvious solutions and dig for deeper ones.

  • Find concrete solutions and make them tangible. Create solutions and observe results.

  • Test those solutions and repeat the process as many times as necessary.


Importance of Diversity in Design


Diversity in design limits group think. Groupthink is the opposite of creativity and can stunt the ability to move forward with ideas. Groupthink occurs when individuals reach a consensus without critical analysis or evaluation. It is detrimental to design thinking and innovation.


The best way to avoid groupthink is to have a diverse team from different backgrounds focused on guiding the team to creative problem solving and finding solutions.


DEI: Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion


The principles of DEI will bring the workplace together and create an atmosphere of creativity and acceptance. DEI stands for diversity, equity, and inclusion. This concept is a pillar of design thinking.


Diversity because including people from different socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds can strengthen understanding of the human experience in design problem-solving.

Equity permits that everyone is allowed an equal opportunity and given the same treatment and advancement.


Inclusion means creating an environment where everyone feels welcomed to participate.

These three principles create a workplace that fosters a unique perspective and are a core tenant of design thinking principles.

LEED Principles in Design


LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. It is a green building certification program. Using LEED principles in design helps build a sustainable future and should be considered in building practices in today's world.


Switch Engineering Focuses on DEI and LEED Principles


At Switch Engineering, we use LEED principles in our design and have a diverse team who go through DEI (diversity, equity, and inclusion) training as part of our DEI program. We understand the global necessity to use LEED principles in our design.

We care about creating a sustainable work environment that lets our diverse team exceed and meet design challenges head-on with the customer's needs at the forefront.


Contact us to talk about your design needs.


Sources

Boston University Sustainability: “What is LEED”

Built In: “What Does DEI Mean in the Workplace”

Harvard Business Review: “Why Design Thinking Works”

Interaction Design Foundation: “5 Stages in the Design Thinking Process”

About the Author:

Tony is the Principal of Switch Engineering and has over 19 years’ experience in Construction Management and Engineering Design. He also has 13 years’ experience in Engineering Management and Municipal Infrastructure and over 12 years’ experience in Land Development.

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