As a human-centered designer, you are trained to identify problems and to design and develop suitable solutions. Depending on the topic, the problems presented can be very complex. Presumed solutions are sometimes hasty and overwhelmingly technology-driven.
When I was still a design student, I often worked with methods of speculative and critical design. The approach of these methods is to tackle a topic less solution-driven and more “discourse-driven.” It was particularly in our master thesis, considering political dialogues in digital spaces, that my team and I asked ourselves the question: Is it really important and appropriate to bring another presumed solution to market? Or is it more important to open up a space for experimentation, to involve users, and stimulate discourse on the subject to achieve desirable solutions in the long run? That’s exactly what we did because it’s more valuable to open up these experimental spaces ahead of the development of potential solutions.
I also embrace this mindset in my professional life. This means getting together for brainstorming sessions, involving real users in workshops and utilizing methods such as Crazy 8 to push ideas to their limit or into extremes. It’s about questioning solutions once again and becoming aware of the responsibility you have as a designer. And ultimately, you should not be afraid to change a developed feature if the desired effect has not been achieved. In the end, these experiments will get you closer to the final working product.