Design thinking and journalism
Design Thinking is a methodology used by designers to solve complex problems that involves conducting user interviews, defining an opportunity space, freely and openly ideating, creating prototypes and then testing them with users.
Empathy is at the core of design thinking practices since the goal of this type of research is to deeply understand audiences for their core values, beliefs and attitudes.
This methodology is vastly becoming more relevant to journalism as media companies must compete for attention amidst the noise and over cluttered digital space. The idea is not only to understand how an audience consumes content but also to empathize with the audience’s experience during consumption. Al Jazeera documented their long-form storytelling design thinking sessions on packaging a 10,000 word feature story (with 20GB of multimedia content mind you!) about Nepal’s Comprehensive Peace Accord and routinely publishes their experiments on the AJ Labs Medium page. A group from Stanford Design school recently used design thinking to examine issues with virtual reality storytelling from a user experience (for journalists that translates as our audiences).
From September – December 2016 I worked with two other VR enthusiasts to execute the design thinking process for creating a VR media product for scientists and doctors. The objective with our endeavor was to undergo the process and learn to cultivate, iterate and develop new media products and story narratives so other journalists and media companies would benefit from our ability to execute design thinking in newsrooms. Below are photos from our experiences and my final report will be posted here soon.