According to IDEO, there are three phases to design exploration and thinking:
- Ideation and
For our purposes, we’re looking more at the Inspiration and Ideation part of this triumvirate.
When starting a project and trying to discover what the solution could be, we need to do research in order to get the inspiration for an answer. And to do this we need to start with the people, who the project is for, who is going to take part in it, develop it, use it, and so on.
As its heart, design exploration is a human-focused and human-driven methodology. And to this end, the tools that fall within design exploration deal with exploring the company you are in, and/or the one it is for. Talking to and interviewing stakeholders, researching the available resources, be these human resources or physical or digital resources that you may require. Doing quantitative and qualitative research of the product and services to be delivered. And doing an industry and competitor analysis, as well as finding out what your brand perception is, both internally and externally.
As all of these tools and processes are human-focused, the activity of using them is of a collaborative nature. Even if you may be a solo-freelancer, you will still be working with others to find the answers to the various points. Likely it will be with the client and their team then. As each tool has a reason within the overall exploration process.