What is Connected Thinking?
Put very simply, it is the next evolutionary step of Design Thinking.
Design Thinking has been preached about and in practice for the past 20 years. It defines the same process that all design firms use, which usually goes something like this - Discover/Immerse, Define, Design, Iterate, Test, Refine, etc.
This is a tried and true philosophy and process that still works today, to a limited extent. The philosophy was initially created for stand-alone products, such as hard goods or industrial design. These products were not connected, nor did they have a need to scale themselves or recreate themselves into multiple formats or different instances, such as for multiple screens in multiple environments. Nor does it account for how technology wants to evolve.
Connected Thinking takes the traditional Design Thinking and evolves it by looking at the rapid changes that is happening to humanity today. The world we live in today is a connected world, where information is rapidly updating and changing our environment. It is making our immediate environment an extension of ourselves at a micro level, and making the global environment into a Super-Data Organism at a macro level.
Connected Thinking inserts what we call “Connected Awareness,” which is essentially looking at the layers of information produced by today’s connected world. This information can include - but is definitely not limited to - things such as personal preferences, location, time of day, network connectivity, and more. Connected Thinking introduces ways to make a product function at a very personal level for the user; to evolve and change for the user based on the user’s state; and follow the user from form factor to form factor.
Fundamentally, Design Thinking was a great process for solitary, isolated, hard goods and products. Connected Thinking will take product design into a brave new world where products will have absolutely no form factor. Tomorrow your phone and your favorite apps will not live on a Samsung or iPhone but will live on your chair, your desk, your wall, your shirt and will follow you and evolve for you. The products of tomorrow need to be built with a full understanding of Connected Thinking.