Design Thinking: The DORIS Process
AT DORIS, we pride ourselves on our methodical, people-centered approach to research. In order to create a consistently delightful outcome, DORIS uses a problem solving method called design thinking. While design thinking is not unique to DORIS, we do use a unique design thinking process developed over years of iteration and refinement.

What is Design Thinking?

At its core, design thinking is a process for solving complex problems. That’s it! 

For some background, design thinking originated in social sciences, as academics distilled an effective technique for tackling complicated challenges related to the design of cities and communities. In the past decade or so, design thinking has been popularized by its use to develop innovative tech products by companies like IBM, LEGO, and Microsoft.

However, because design thinking is a process, it can theoretically be used to create anything: products, spaces, experiences, programs, services, communities, even a party!

There are many different versions of the design thinking process. Different groups have created their own specific versions that best serve them. For example, DORIS has an 8-step process geared toward workplace research. IDEO has developed a 5-step process specifically for educators. When most people think of design thinking, they might think of the nearly universal, four-step design thinking process. No matter what version you are looking at, you will see steps similar to these: Empathize, Define, Ideate, and Prototype!

What is the “Design” in Design Thinking?

Many times, people believe that design thinking refers to visual design – such as the layout of a website or an app so that it is as easy to use as possible. However, the “design” in design thinking is actually referring to a much broader scope: the design of everything from physical products to communities to abstract experiences.

”We spend a lot of time designing the bridge, but not enough time thinking about the people who are crossing it.” 

Dr. Prabhjot Singh

Director of Systems Design, Earth Institute

The DORIS Workplace Research Process

Below is an example of the DORIS 8-step workplace research process. This process was adapted from the orginal, basic design thinking process.