Solving Mundane Problems With Design Thinking

A hands-on workshop by Women in Product, Chennai

April 09.2019 


Saturdays are for winding down, especially after a hectic week.


However, for us at Paperflite, Saturdays are for meeting new people, learning new things and more importantly sharing what we know. 


Last Saturday (Apr 6), we hosted a Design Thinking-based workshop led by Women in Product, Chennai. Women in Product (WIP) is a non-profit organization that dedicates itself to providing women with equal access and representation in product management careers at all levels.


Padmini Janaki heads WIP Chennai and introduced 'Design Thinking' to a gathering of thirty aspiring product managers. "Every problem that we face in our daily lives can be solved using Design Thinking," she explained.


Bedlam broke loose when the participants were asked to draw a picture of how they perceive themselves. What we learned from this exercise was that illustrating yourself was one of the most challenging and innovative things to do.


A product manager always uses an innovative approach to solving a problem. However, when posed with an unenviable task of addressing business, technical and people's needs, innovation takes a backseat.

Where is the sweet spot?

Raji Sundaram and Haridhra Shankar, members of WIP Chennai, addressed it lucidly saying, "Innovation happens at the intersection of business, people and technical needs. The key is to maintain a delicate balance between all three components using a design thinking approach. That's where the sweet spot lies."


 Women in Product Workshop based on Design Thinking


To experience it hands-on, participants were divided into four groups and needed to work their way through three use cases:


1. How can a user track his progress at work and fitness goals using a common app?

2. How can a person know about upcoming events/workshops in his city?

3. How can you design a parking maintenance system for a hassle-free experience?


Each group had a customer who explained her problems to others for five minutes. These customers were swapped with others to ensure that teams were able to draw wireframes for the problems independently without their presence.


 Women in Product Workshop Design Thinking


Give it a 'Nudge'

Group one called themselves as ThinkClan and named their solution as 'Nudge.' It bridges together data from a user's fitness and performance apps (such as Jira).


Users can set and use a customized dashboard to track their performance across parameters, get notifications of what is pending, and their daily/weekly/monthly goals. It provided for a customized privacy policy as many enterprises will not share data.


'ParkMe' Now!

The second group named themselves as 'Eclectics' and called their product ParkMe. This app lets a user book a parking slot by filling in details such as destination, time, type of vehicle (sedan, 2-wheelers) and tells her if parking is available or not.


A slot once booked is available to the user for 30 minutes and then reallocated. Malls and shopping centers will sponsor the app's maintenance and provide parking inventory data for users.


 Women in Product Workshop Design Thinking


Where Do I 'ParkIT'?

The third group too chose to tackle the parking problem with a solution called 'ParkIt.' However, they used real-time image processing and Internet of Things to capture images and convert them into data. A back-end algorithm will convert this data to be used by vehicle owners/drivers.


It integrates with Google Maps and payment gateways for seamless parking and paying. It lets users rate the app and even serves push notifications if a user has registered for events/conferences in the city.


I Ain't 'Missing Out' on Anything

Team four called themselves as 'Asterix,' and their solution addressed the fear of missing out (aptly called 'Never FOMO'). It lets event goers tie their interests with upcoming events in their cities. 'Never FOMO' takes a user through a journey of signing in with their social accounts, get event suggestions, know event details (including conference rooms and sessions), recommend to others.


It integrated with food, parking, and transport apps and let an event goer know if her friends have signed up for it. The solution allows users to share their thoughts on social media during and after an event.


The workshop helped people understand how a problem can be broken down figuratively into tinier components. Participants were thrilled to know how a collaborative design thinking approach can solve perennial problems. 

Strangers, no more!

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