Systems Design Thinking | NTU Systems Engineering
For decades human centered design has impacted how we live, now it’s beginning to shape how businesses fundamentally work and operate. Design thinking has fundamentally changed our way of life and given us a new framework for teaming, for facilitating co-creation of projects with our clients and end users.
Not only that, it is helping all of us to make decisions faster and it’s keeping humans at the center of everything we work on.
What is Design Thinking?
It is always helpful to think of design thinking as a mindset as opposed to design in the physical sense of the word, because often, right as soon as you start to think of design as solely ‘product design’, it, unfortunately, boxes design into a pretty narrow space.
What is often not known to many people is that ‘design thinking’ encompasses a much broader scope. When Design thinking can be thought of as a kind of Mindset or even a Tool set that you use to focus on any kind of problem or challenge in the world, it opens up design to do a lot more than just making designer products.
Principles of Design Thinking
Inherently, the process of design thinking is focused on user outcomes, leveraging on diverse empowered teams and the restless reinvention.
1. Continuous Iteration
Design thinking can be thought of as a loop of continuous understanding.
Every time you observe, you are understanding a little bit more about the world around you. Every time you reflect, you are understanding a little bit more about your own design team in which you can do for the world, and every time you make, you are understanding a little bit more about the solutions or the potential solutions that exist.
In design thinking, we have to treat everything either as a prototype, or an unfinished product that will always be iterated and always be reinvented
2. Don't be afraid to Ask Questions
If you’re on a design team and you’re trying to do design thinking don’t be afraid to ask questions
I think we spend a lot of time assuming that someone else has the answers or that someone’s already thought of this and that the logic is watertight and the story adds up and so often you find a team that actually people don’t have the answer.
By asking those questions they begin to prompt the real discussions that need to be had.
3. Being okay with Ambiguity
If you’re managing a team doing design thinking, the best thing you can do for your team is to be okay with things getting a little messy. To be okay with ambiguity, when the team comes back at you and says I don’t know give them the room to fail, give them the room to be wrong a couple times before they get it right. There’s nothing like being able to iterate on a problem and being able to understand it you know the build your understanding over time, not trying to get it right the first time all the time.
So when you give teams room to fail, you give them the space to be more audacious and more sort of courageous but the ideas that they’re going to come up with and that will inherently lead to more breakthrough outcomes. It may not feel like it at first, they may feel like you know you’re seeing more failures than successes, but over time your team is going to have better ideas, they’re going to have a happier team and ultimately your users are going to be happier because you’re coming to better ideas faster.
Past Systems Engineering Projects
To demonstrate the use of design thinking in real world projects, here are some actual projects which show cases the how systems design thinking has been used in the design process.
1. Randomized Fire Arm Target Training Platform
Terrorism and its threat to our homeland security are increasingly a huge concern for local law enforcement officers.
Because of this, it means that proper training in urban close combat for hostage rescue scenarios are becoming more important. However, it has been observed that there is no proper fire arms training platform specifically adapted for a volatile hostage scenario. This project aims to fill this need by creating a functional proof-of-concept prototype.
2. Guard Tour Management System
With the safety and security landscape becoming ever more dynamically evolving, and Singapore companies and business are faced with very real threats of various forms, such as terrorism, corporate espionage, and unauthorized intrusion.
This guard tour system project aims to explore and tackle the administrative and logistical challenges that Singapore companies faced when managing their teams of guard tour officer by designing a guard tour patrol system that addresses these security vulnerabilities and security risk businesses are exposed to on a daily basis
Read on to find out about the Guard tour system design project and Learn how we solve the challenges commonly faced by conventional guard tour system in singapore!
3. Time Attendance Tracking System
As the workforce and economy are increasing ROI focused and focused on productivity, companies, and businesses are facing challenges of tracking and managing their employees hours worked. This human-centered design project aims to address this workforce management logistical challenge by leveraging on RFID & Biometrics technology for a reliable identity authentication and time attendance system implementation. Read on to find out about the Time Attendance System design project and Learn how we solve the challenges commonly faced by conventional Time Attendance System in Singapore!
4. Visitor Management System
In today’s dynamic security landscape, companies and organizations these days are constantly faced with the constant threats to safety and security of personnel and assets in their buildings premises. This includes unauthorized intruders, competitors with intend to conduct corporate espionage, or even armed terrorist. In this project, we attempt to design a RFID visitor management system to automate the accurate identification and tracking process of the daily incoming visitors to pro actively prevent any breach of security.