Written by DTGUSA
For 10 weeks this summer, DTG invited master’s degree candidate Dhairyata Jain to examine processes, pain points, and opportunities to improve the experience of our team of consultants and experts. This journey map project was a critical step amid our team expansion and increasingly heavy workload. Here is her wrap-up.
My Summer Design Research Internship Experience with DesignThinkers Group
As a designer, I often heard that design thinking was changing the way user-centric research was done to help businesses innovate. To better understand the meaning behind those words, I applied for and was offered an internship as a design researcher with DesignThinkers Group (DTG), and soon enough the summer of 2022 became one of the most fulfilling but challenging experiences I’ve had as a designer.
At Savannah College of Art and Design, I am a graduate student in design management, an interdisciplinary and strategic practice that integrates the valuable role of design within the functions of an organization. As a student, I always wanted to acknowledge the role of empathy in design, user-centric research and development, interdisciplinary teamwork, co-creation, and strategic innovation in a research process.
During my 10-week internship at DTG, I was responsible for examining existing insights and product designs to generate hypotheses about how the organization might improve both products and services for clients, and the processes and support provided to consultants who work on client projects. This was an essential opportunity not only to practice incorporating empathy in design with real clients, but also to dig deeper into the user journey and refine my problem-solving skills.
My journey with the research question and the problem statement started by getting to know the challenges DTG was facing as an organization and understanding the aspirations of the primary stakeholders. I used this context to define the user experience journey and develop a research plan to:
- Understand the motivations and problems that team members currently face
- Identify how they find their way through these problems
- Understand what they seek in team collaborations
- Recognize patterns in their journeys to identify the pains and gains
- Validate assumptions through the interviews
- Use data to form insights and create hypotheses
- Synthesize and conceptualize recommendations to redesign the product and service offerings
Following these steps, I designed, planned, and executed user research projects in collaboration with colleagues and external collaborators and used sensemaking to communicate research findings and recommendations to internal stakeholders. With a background in graphic design, I always had a good sense of visual thinking, and was able to combine these visual design skills with service design and innovation strategies.
In one of the projects related to the design of an organizational strategy development product, we had a lot of content to communicate with the clients. To solve that issue, I designed an infographic that helped deliver the content in a visual manner. Visual design is a key to simple communication, and using these skills I was also able to plan and design a research canvas that allowed us to navigate the flow and facilitate interactive conversations during research interviews.
Throughout this internship, I have been exposed to a different perspective of problem solving and co-creation that I could never have imagined as a student. I was not only working on the tasks assigned to me, but also initiating and participating in new challenges and smart ways to solve problems. Every project helped me develop empathy and shape my approach to the design research process. Moving forward, the experience I have gained working with the DTG team will play an important role in my aspirations to become a responsible design strategist and researcher.
I am thankful to the DTG team for giving me a chance to develop a new skill set while working with extremely positive, supportive and encouraging team members. This internship is definitely one of the best decisions I have made in my career as an aspiring design researcher and strategist.
Dhairyata Jain is pursuing an MA in Design Management from SCAD in Savannah, GA, USA. With a background in graphic design and interests in design research and brand strategy, she is exploring opportunities in planet-centric innovation, systems thinking, and transformation.