Decoding Human Centered Design Mind set

Human centered design has succeeded across industries, in making products that customers love. To Here are the essentials to understand the foundations on which human centered solutions are built.

Human centered design has succeeded across industries, in making products that customers love. With core philosophy around understanding the customer and designing from their perspective, human centered design has emerged as a creative and reliable approach for solving problems. It is a detailed process that starts with understanding end-user’s pain points and ends with implementing the solutions, with lots of ideas, prototypes, feedback and iterations in between. 

To practice the approach, it is essential to understand the foundations on which human centered solutions are built. 

The Foundations of Human Centered Design

Creative Confidence

Creative Confidence is the notion that you have big ideas and that you have the ability to act on them.’ – David Kelley, Founder IDEO

Creative confidence is the belief that everyone is creative, and that creativity isn’t the capacity to draw or compose or sculpt, but creativity lies in the way of understanding the world. Possessing creative confidence will nudge towards doing things differently, trying different combinations and learning all along. Creative confidence is the key to human centered design because to arrive at innovative solutions it becomes imperative to have and test various ideas and approaches. 

Make it 

“As human-centred designers, we have a bias toward action, and that means getting ideas out of our heads and into the hands of the people we’re looking to serve”  – Krista Donaldson, CEO D REV.

Human-centered design relies on the power of tangibility. When the goal is to get impactful solutions that strike a chord with the audience, making ideas into tangible prototypes and testing them is vital. Making an idea real is an incredibly effective way to share it. Offering tangible prototypes to the users will invite real and authentic feedback and reduces the risk of ambiguities. Also, making is a fantastic way to think as it helps bring into focus the feasibility of the designs. 

Learn from Failure 

I have not failed; I have just found 10,000 ways that won’t work. – Thomas Edison

Failure is an incredibly powerful tool for learning. Designing experiments, prototypes, and interactions and testing them is at the heart of human-centered design.  So is an understanding that not all of them are going to work. As we seek to solve big problems, we’re bound to fail. But we should adopt the right mindset and learn from the failures. 

It is through openness to listen, think, and refine as we move along that we will find the answers to the problems. 


If there is any one secret of success, it lies in the ability to get the other person’s point of view and see things from his angle as well as your own” – Henry Ford

Empathy is the capacity to step into other people’s shoes, to understand their lives, and solve problems from their perspective. Empathy is the core of human centered thinking. It’s the ability to look at the world from the eyes of potential customers or beneficiaries, understand their pain points, their experiences and behaviors. 

Spending time with the end users, shadowing their lifestyle for substantial time, and observing their behavior, studying their emotions and understanding what motivates them by immersing in their world not only allows distancing from preconceived ideas but also opens up new creative possibilities.

Embrace Ambiguity

“Embracing ambiguity actually frees us to pursue an answer that we can’t initially imagine which puts us on the path to routine innovation and lasting impact.”  – Patrice Martin, Creative Director and Co-Lead,

One of the qualities that sets human-centered designer apart is the belief that there will always be more ideas. Embracing ambiguity around what a user might finally like and looking at different solutions impersonally until solutions that people want to have are arrived at, will allow opening up to different creative possibilities and might result in most unexpected innovations.


Optimism is the thing that will drive you forward – John Bielenberg, Founder, Future Partners

Hitting dead ends is common while solving complex problems. In addition to driving us toward solutions, optimism makes us more creative, encourages us to push on when we hit dead ends. Approaching problems from the perspective that there will definitely be a solution infuses the entire process with the energy and the drive that is required to navigate the thorniest problems.

Iterate Iterate Iterate

“This is one of the most important lessons of the scientific method: if you cannot fail, you cannot learn” – Eric Ries, Author – Lean Startup

Human-centered designers adopt an iterative approach to solving problems which makes feedback from the end users a critical part of how a solution evolves. By continually iterating, refining, and improving the work, designers put themselves in a place where they can try different ideas and a variety of approaches, unlock creativity, and arrive more quickly at successful solutions.

The Human Centered Design is as much about the practical application as it is about the philosophy that goes behind it. It is these core mindset values that form the foundation of applying the HCD in practice. 

Kukkoo Khare | Assistant Manager – Program Design and Strategy

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