Design Thinking for the New Normal


The global pandemic of 2020 has changed almost everything for everyone. Literally everyday businesses, schools, services are having to retool, rethink, and repurpose their very existence to address the challenges of daily survival, and long-term sustainability.

We look around and ask though: where do we even begin? If the answers were easy to find, then this pandemic would be nothing more than a large bout with the cold.  But sadly we have to reassess and look back at frameworks and methodologies in the hopes of leveraging these for an uncertain future.

We asked our resource person on Design Thinking, Mr Jag Garcia, for his thoughts on how to proceed:

Fortunately, some frameworks are far more future-proof than others, such as Design Thinking and Human-Centered Design. Design Thinking challenges us to reframe problems and develop solutions and innovations, taking into consideration the human perspective.   And now more than ever, we have to look at human behaviour to guide our business solutions.

Here are four ways to leverage Design Thinking to navigate the new normal.

Underlying Needs

We don’t simply ask ourselves “what is the problem?” we dig deeper. We get to understand not just the business, but the customer and the stakeholders; we make an effort to really understand their root motivations, aspirations, and deepest desires. We ask “what do they really need?”

Jobs to be done

Not the “work” job, but the “goal” job. In the JTBD framework the “job to be done” is an evolution and a state of being, it’s the result of a successful process or journey through a problem and discovering underlying needs being satisfied by the solution.

Ideation and Prototyping

Design Thinking espouses exploring multiple options, it promotes divergent and exploratory thinking when finding possible solutions to problems. “Fail fast, fail often, fail cheap” is a mantra that Design Thinkers live by… it’s not being afraid to try, and more importantly, building upon the learnings derived from testing possible solutions in their low-resolution form.


Design Thinking is a very optimistic and positivist framework. It always asks “how might we.”  Its very nature is one of exploration, questioning, discovering, and understanding. Beyond a process Design Thinking is a mindset. And in this uncertain and changing economic, political, and social landscape, what we need to change first is not what we do, but the thought of how we will change the world.

Creativity and innovative thinking were considered as one of the most essential skill of the future. That future is now.

Garcia will conduct a virtual workshop on “Creativity and Innovation through Design Thinking: Techniques and Processes to Create User-focused Solutions in the Workplace ” on August 4-5, 2020.

For more information about the workshop and schedule of online courses offered by Inquirer Academy, please email [email protected], or call (0945) 2158935 and look for Jerald Miguel.

The author is the Executive Director of the Inquirer Academy.


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