Publications

Design Thinking, Design Research, Human and User-Centered Design can be difficult to grasp. Practitioners use various titles and process steps to define these terms however the central principle is the same; to investigate and learn how to make a design, product, service or experience meaningful and relevant to people. 

Michele authored a series of articles and activities for Autodesk Academy to help readers increase their understanding of these principles and further their own creative, problem solving skills. The articles break the process down into Autodesk's five Design Thinking steps: Understand, Explore, Prototype, Refine, and Solve. 

The series also includes several homework assignments for students of various levels and encourages hands-on practice. They teach how to understand the people you are designing for, how to generate ideas, how to prototype them, how to solicit feedback, and ultimately how to lead to innovate. They also help build the collaborative and interdisciplinary skills required to succeed as a Design Thinker today. 

Design Thinking: Understand Phase:

Understanding the people you’re designing for — the ones who will use your products and services — is the crucial first step in the design process. Developing empathy for people is not only a pillar of design thinking, but essential throughout the whole process. We must uncover people’s true wants and needs in order to understand and frame the problem we’re solving. By placing people at the forefront of our approach, and by removing our own bias, we unearth the learnings that will guide our process. The Understand phase of design thinking encompasses the study of these people, the empathy we develop, and the findings that emerge...
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Design Thinking: Explore Phase:

Finding solutions to the problems we’ve uncovered requires us to generate a wide range of ideas on how we might meet people’s needs. Much like the approach to Understand, there are both active and passive methods we might employ. This article discusses these methods, how and when to use which, how to generate a wide range of ideas, identify biases and sideline them, assumptions and challenge them, the importance of working quickly, and ideas for how to push your ideas even further...
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Design Thinking: Prototype Phase:

Prototyping is about turning an idea into form in order to validate concepts. It's where we get things at size and scale and in a usable state. This allows us to not only garner feedback on the individual components or requirements but also determine how they all work together as an experience. With prototypes, we can easily communicate the size, features, functionality, and other key intents. The desired result is to give us a sense of the whole in order to gather constructive and timely feedback so that we might invest learnings back into product or service improvements...
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Design Thinking: Refine Phase:

This is the checks and balances phase. It's where we revisit the original design challenge and its success criteria to ensure our solutions are meeting set goals. We take a fresh look at our highest fidelity prototype, review it, and take stock of how it meets the original and possibly revised goals. There are several suggestions on how to refine your design, prompts to simplify it, why you should revisit your research and how to evaluate if further studies would be helpful...
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Design Thinking: Solution Phase:

This is the final step in Autodesk's Design Thinking process and where you present your final work. Doing this well is just as valuable as producing outstanding work, if not even more so. It’s paramount that you do not underestimate the importance of this final deliverable. In fact, work that’s presented thoroughly and expertly will often outshine work that that isn’t as well done. Why? There are several reasons...
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