Bryan Taylor

Thinking About Design Thinking 5: From Macro to Micro

Design thinking exists on three planes.

On a macro level of design thinking, big ideas are born fast and loose with little regard for detail or refinement. The bigger and faster, the better. No idea is bad until we get some feedback and begin to refine.

On a middle level, design thinking requires some discipline. “Strangle your darlings,” said Hemingway. There is a space in the design thinking process where some darling ideas have to be refined or cut, where connections have to start coming together and show how they are tied to strategy.

On a micro level, every single detail matters. Every piece of the outcome has to be tight and right and in harmony, such that the experience is communicating and demonstrating a unified message.

If we care too much about detail early on when we're at the macro level, we limit the design thinking process. If we care too little about details just before we wrap things up, we will hamstring the potential that the whole design thinking process can provide. But when all three levels are in a rhythm and working together, beautiful things can be built.