Design Thinking is an internationally established method for creative problem-solving and creates good conditions for interdisciplinary work on societal challenges. Design Thinking has primarily been developed by the American design consultants at IDEO and has later been recognised and developed by researchers at Stanford University and the Hasso Plattner Institute in Berlin, among others. Design Thinking takes on a given challenge through 5 steps – Empathise, Define, Ideate, Prototype, Test – which guide work at DDS. One of the most important aspects of Design Thinking is iteration, which aims to work through the 5 stages of the process several times as work progresses. Iteration also provides the background for the motto: Do something first – Think – Do it again
Digital Demo Stockholm works based on politically anchored vision documents such as the city’s Vision 2040 – A Stockholm for All and the county council’s Future plan for health and medical care and Regional transport service provision programme for Stockholm County, as well as other strategy and policy documents such as the City of Stockholm’s “Innovation strategy (Nov 2015)” and “Strategy for a smart and connected city (April 2017)” and the county council’s “Digital innovation agenda”
Understand the challenge from the user perspective.
The first step when it comes to taking on a challenge is to develop an understanding of users and what they need. At an early stage of the process, this challenge may involve contact with a number of target groups and user types. Iteration in the Design Thinking process will develop a more in-depth understanding of the challenge and how relevant solutions need to focus on a more defined user group and meet their specific needs.
Check questions:Do we know enough about the needs? What target groups are we working with? What strategies do users apply at present to resolve their challenges? What can we learn from extreme users? Is more research needed? Are there any other initiatives we can learn from?
Define the challenge and formulate a problem.
Established industry with technology and industrialisation intelligence, together with the operations in question, help to expand upon the issues based on what available technology can provide. Academia assists by providing available intelligence in the field to expand further upon the issue. A number of problem formulations are defined from a user perspective – Points of View (POVs).
Check questions:Are the issues relevant, given the target group? Is the definition sufficient? Can we clarify further from a user perspective? Is iteration needed in further workshops?
Propose technology to meet the challenge.
Companies provide their intelligence, research and experience of digital solutions. Academia contributes the latest research in the field in question. The operations in question contributes ideas and requirements based on knowledge of the operations and the current user scenario.
A number of proposed solutions are devised and developed into a small number of supporting project proposals.
Check questions:Do the ideas meet the needs of users? Do the supporting project proposals have a designated project manager from any of the founding organisations?
Form a project team, apply for funding and launch a demo project.
1 Form. The project manager forms a triple helix group where a representative from the public sector acts as the specifier and is the project owner with the support of his/her local operations. The project manager is appointed by the project owner who develops a project description according to
2 Initiate. An application for external funding is completed. The project manager is responsible for holding together the application and the consortium.
3 Build. An agreement is drawn up within the project. A schedule is drawn up that also includes output measurement, and this is then communicated to a think tank and the communication council. Technical options are communicated to the technical council.
Check questions:Does the proposal meet the criteria for a demo?
Test and validate the technology.
The digital solution is tested and validated by the project team and representatives from the target group through workshops, presentations, interactive user studies or similar fora which offer users opportunities to interact with the technology and its effects. The project team is responsible for ensuring that the solution is evaluated in accordance with the demo criteria.
Check questions: Has the solution been tested by the intended users? Does the project team validate the solution based on output measurement in line with the demo criteria?