Many designers are familiar with incorporating design thinking into their design projects. But how many have ever considered applying the design thinking model to their own daily workflows? 

An efficient, effective workflow can make designers faster and happier at work. A workflow with major bottlenecks or points where everything has the potential to fall apart can add stress and unnecessary delays. 

Applying design thinking to your workflow to refine and improve it can make all of your projects smoother and more efficient to complete. In this article, we’ll explore how to use the design thinking framework to boost your daily workflow and productivity. But first, let’s dig into what design thinking means. 

What is Design Thinking? 

Design thinking is a unique process for solving problems and creating better experiences. It’s based on the idea that when the possibilities are endless and barriers are removed, innovative solutions emerge. 

By definition, design thinking is a human-centered design approach that consists of five parts, which can be tackled in a non-linear way. Those parts are: 

1. Empathize 

The first step in the design thinking process is to empathize with the user. In the case of applying design thinking to your workflow, the user is you. You’ll be exploring your own needs and wants in this stage. 

Think through what you need from your workflow. Do you need flexibility? Efficiency? 

Collaboration? Or something else? Make a list of what you need from your workflow. Include everything you can think of. This list can include both concrete things as well as things like how you should feel while working. 

2. Define 

Defining the problems is a key step in figuring out how to solve those problems. If you’re still not sure, consider recording your entire workflow on a project, making note of the parts that feel less than ideal. That will give you a good idea of what the problems really are. 

Once you’ve compiled enough research, you can identify the true problem and its root cause.