Tara Parker-Pope in The New York Times:
A strategy called “design thinking” has helped numerous entrepreneurs and engineers develop successful new products and businesses. But can design thinking help you create healthful habits? Bernard Roth, a prominent Stanford engineering professor, says that design thinking can help everyone form the kind of lifelong habits that solve problems, achieve goals and help make our lives better. “We are all capable of reinvention,” says Dr. Roth, a founder of the Hasso Plattner Institute of Design at Stanford and author of the book, “The Achievement Habit.” I’ve applied design thinking to my own life the past few months, and it seems to be working. I’ve lost 25 pounds, reconnected with close friends and refocused my energy on specific goals and habits. Design thinking has helped me identify the obstacles that were stopping me from achieving my goals, and it’s helped me reframe my problems to make them easier to solve. In the words of Dr. Roth, design thinking helped me “get unstuck.” To get started, design thinkers focus on five steps, but the first two are the most important. Step 1 is to “empathize” — learn what the real issues are that need to be solved. Next, “define the problem” — a surprisingly tough task. The third step is to “ideate” — brainstorm, make lists, write down ideas and generate possible solutions. Step 4 is to build a prototype or create a plan. The final step is to test the idea and seek feedback from others.
Design thinking is normally applied by people who are trying to create a new product or solve a social problem or meet a consumer need.