I often get asked about my writing process – what inspires me and what my strategies are when putting fingers to keyboard. For me, writing is the ultimate creative process. My approach is the use of innovative techniques such as Design Thinking to make engaging, relatable content. As I do with nursing informatics, I look to technology principles, particularly Design Thinking when creating a piece. More thoughts below.
The best health technology and writing require great design
In clinical practice, providers and administrative staff use technology every day. Whether in a patient care delivery setting or non-clinical care environments, users harness its power to give the best care possible to patients, engage and provide them with the best experience possible. Every type of healthcare technology used is an invention – an innovation that started with an excellent idea to solve a problem. All medical devices, gadgets, and applications, have been created to give precise, high-quality care to patients and improve the experience of clinicians.
The most successful electronic healthcare equipment would not exist, be adopted or regularly used without great design. Nor, would a great piece of writing be read and appreciated.
A solid blog, article, book or customer content with captivating content, seamless fluidity, impeccably edited, with an objective to engage readers, to be read and reread by a specific audience for adding meaning to their life or work requires innovation. Written pieces are products that need thinking, creativity and a defined process in assembly.
Therefore, great writing requires thoughtful design.
Design Thinking is a process that approaches complex scenarios in product development creatively. Solutions perfectly in sync with needs and wants of end users can help achieve amazing products. It utilizes empathetic, creative, critical, and analytical skills in the development process. Driven by their needs and experience, Design Thinking uses an iterative framework to unearth it, repeating a cycle until a practical solution comes to fruition. Optimizing problem solving can result in a viable profit center. With user behavior as the focal point, Design Thinking devises evolutionary ways of problem-solving. The key to the success of this model is its focus on the needs of end users and the ability to follow the process.
The methodology of Design Thinking is applicable in all industries, not only to develop sophisticated technologies for human consumption. While Design Thinking is most widely used to create technologies that solve problems, it’s principles and cycle can also be also used in writing.
Connecting the 5 Steps of Design Thinking to writing
For a moment, think of a writing topic as a problem to be solved and the reader as an end user.
Now consider a written piece such as a blog, article, book or customer content as a product. The inspiration is an idea the writer (the topic) for end users (readers), prototyped (uniquely written), refined (edited) and disseminated and tested (published). With this mindset, the principles and steps in Design Thinking, generally used in technology development, can be applied to writing.
Many Design Thinking models for technology development currently exist, and a simplified, widely accepted industry standard framework can apply to excellent writing. Most Design Thinking models have five steps and objectives:
- Empathize: Learn about the audience for whom the designing (writing) is for
- Define: Construct a point of view (topic) that is based on user (reader) needs and insights
- Ideate: Brainstorm and develop creative solutions (organize and write content)
- Prototype: Build a representation of an idea to show others (a final blog, article or book)
- Test: Return to the original user group and test the ideas for feedback (publish).
The iterative process in Design Thinking for writing becomes Editing. It can be used cyclically for quality improvement of written pieces to satisfy a reader (end user) or needs or for the writer, to hone it to satisfaction if it is a subjective piece without specific requirements from a customer.
A compelling aspect of using the Design Thinking model for writing is Testing. It can be thought of in a different way than hands-on trying out the usability and quality of technology, but in the scope of reader response in the form of likes, shares, claps, linking out to pieces, ratings in reviews, sales, referencing and in comments left by readers. It is testing the waters to find out about the impact of a final piece from the reader perspective. Also, Design Thinking can serve as a starting point for a great piece to innovatively develop content that will engage an audience, or in the writer’s overall personal process to continually improve their writing – more creatively, more successfully for ultimate growth.
Design Thinking: It isn’t just for technology
In writing, there are many potential audiences to consider based on the writing project. It may be a niche healthcare specialty, a business, or one other. A writer is not always solving problems for readers, but the genuine connection to an innovative model of how writing, in general, follows a structured, creative process can be considered.
The element of innovation needed to develop great content lends itself to the technology Design Thinking process.
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