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Design Thinking – Think Like a Designer

Overview

Thomas Alva Edison is thought to be one of America’s greatest inventors and businessmen. Contrary to what many believe, Edison did not go about it alone. Instead, he surrounded himself with great thinkers at his Menlo Park lab. Edison’s team-based approach focused more on learning than proving a hypothesis. Design Thinking is based on this model.

Design Thinking is an iterative process, matching people’s needs with feasible methods and technology in a way that creates value for the consumer and the provider. It calls for repeating cycles experimentation, implementation, and evaluation. Think this methodology can’t work in the NPS? Think again. Providing experiences and services to park visitors that create memorable and lasting impressions is an important part of the Park Service’s mission. To do so requires innovation at the park and service wide level. An interpretive program created in collaboration with maintenance and resource staff will likely be better than one solely created by interpretive staff.

The NPS needs to be able to attract and retain new visitors. It will take all of us thinking, creating, and working together to ensure our parks remain relevant to future generations.

From the Article

As more of our basic needs are met, we increasingly expect sophisticated experiences that are emotionally satisfying and meaningful.

That sounds like the profile of the younger generation of the visitor population the NPS is actively pursuing. Design Thinking may help us create powerful, meaningful experiences for all visitors and reach out to the next generation as well.

The three spaces (stages) of design thinking:

  • Inspiration—problem, opportunity or both
  • Ideation—process of generating, developing, and testing ideas that may lead to solutions
  • Implementation—charting of a path to market (or visitor)

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