Friday, July 08, 2016

Personal Design Thinking

I'm currently reading the book Design the Life You Love by Ayse Birsel. The book takes a look at Design Thinking and applying it to your own life. It is based on the success that the author has had as a product designer.

The book takes you through a four-step process; Deconstruction, Point of View, Reconstruction, and Expression. She uses examples from her own design career to help illustrate the steps of the process. 

In the Deconstruction phase, there are exercises to break your life down into some of its pieces. For example, in one exercise you start with the number of areas including family, work, friends, and hobbies and break those down into more meaning for you. It's really just a mind map that you're trying to create. 

The section on Point of View is meant to help you try to look at things differently. For example, she talks about how Steve Jobs looked at a rice cooker with a magnetic power cord and thought that would be a great idea for a laptop. The idea is taking something in one context and moving it to another context. 

Reconstruction is taking the pieces that have been identified and put them back together in a different way. 

Finally, Expression is about how you externalize this effort. There are some different ideas including vision letters and vision maps. 

This really is a workbook that you want to spend time on every day to go through the exercises. I would not recommend getting the book in an electronic format, it is much more practical to have the physical book that you can draw in as you go through the exercise. There are some exercises that involve drawing, mind mapping, etc and throughout the activities, you want to go back and review earlier work. 

I'm working through the last section, so I don't know how it will all turn out, but I have had some valuable insights. The book is laid out logically and it does get you to think. 

In closing, there is a quote from Ralph Caplan, author of By Design;

When it comes to life,
There is no such thing as design
There is only redesign

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