Design doesn’t come with an on and off switch. It’s not something you magically acquire the minute you step in to work. No, design thinking, once you have truly understood it, stays with you forever.
It is a condition that makes you analyse everything around you and come out with better ways of doing things. It’s mostly just simple hacks like folding your socks a certain way or the way you create contraptions to save your laptop from overheating. If you go to a designer friend’s house, you will see how most of the things are not readymade goods picked out from a shop. They would have tinkered around with them by making use of a few easily available stuff and customized it according to their needs. The Indians have a word for it. Jugaad. Many mistake it for coming up with cheap and low quality alternatives of doing things, but it really is getting the job done smartly with available resources.
And it’s not just the ones with a design degree hanging on the wall who have this ability. If you look around and think of the smartest people you know, you will see how they have designed every little aspect of their lives. The best example is probably your mother. Just step into the kitchen while she is cooking and watch how she orchestrates the entire process. Her spices and ingredients are sorted as per requirement, her utensils are arranged according to usage and in what may perhaps seem to you as chaos, there is complete order. Think of how often has she messed up her meal? Now compare those odds with big companies boasting of their six sigma systems.
We should all incorporate this design philosophy in our lives. We have got to stop being just consumers, and become creators. You never know, maybe while designing something for yourselves, you might end up designing something for the whole world. All great inventions, everything that you see around you right now has come into existence the same way. Think of the chair you’re sitting on. The guy who probably invented it was not thinking of inventing a chair. He was just tired of sitting on a rock. Hence, do not be complacent about the little problems that you face. Challenge every existing thing around you and create things of your own. Why is your mouse designed that way, can you not think of a better way to scroll up and down, why are coffee mugs always cylindrical, do all mobile phones need to be rounded rectangles, how can I reach home faster today, what personalized gift can I make for my mom and why can’t I design my life and things the way I love.
The late Apple visionary Steve Jobs always believed in making products that he himself would like to use. He wasn’t the smartest person alive, nor was he technically superior than those around him. What he had was firm belief in his ability to change the way of things and confidence in his vision. He understood and preached a very simple fact about life, that “Everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you and you can change it, you can influence it, you can build your own things that other people can use.” And see how far his vision has influenced our lives today.
So keep asking those questions and keep experimenting and one fine day you will have your eureka moment. And from that moment on nothing will ever be the same for you.