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THRIVE, BY DESIGN

In which we tell you how to find the career of your dreams with the application of design thinking principles.

What is 'design thinking' you ask?

It is a step-by-step process, conventionally used by product designers, to create products and solutions by building on a user-centered approach. So how can design thinking help you?

Well, if you’re feeling the urge to hit the reset button on your career, we’ve come up with a four-step strategy that can help you land a fulfilling and inspiring career using design thinking principles.

Step 1: REFRAME

If you find yourself in a place of discomfort in your career, first reframe the problem you that find yourself with. In this case, question all that beliefs you harbour that are detrimental to you and hold you back. For example, instead of saying “you’re not supposed to enjoy work”, you can reframe it as “enjoyment is a guide to finding the right work for you”.

Step 2: INTERVIEW YOURSELF

Examine the underlying assumption that you’re already supposed to know what you desire because you’re a particular age or at a certain stage, etc. The beauty of using design thinking is that you don’t always have to know what you want. Start with interviewing yourself and asking some hard (and right) questions on what have you enjoyed doing the most so far? What do you like to do with your free time? What challenges do you face on days that you’re unhappy with your work? All of these questions point to what you genuinely care about and enjoy doing.

Step 3: DEFINE

Once you have all the data, you need to analyse it to identify the problem you are seeking to solve, so as to define it accurately. Start to draw connections between your answers. Do you see a pattern emerging? What are the skills, industries, causes, etc. that appeal to you?  Review the information that presents itself. The goal here is to arrive at a statement that centres around addressing a specific issue that you have isolated. By narrowly defining this, you bring clarity to what you want. Most importantly, choose a specific path to explore and resist the urge to explore everything at the same time. You don’t to find just any job; you want to find the right one.

Step 4: IDEATE

Brainstorming is the most fun part of the process. Reason and imagination have an equal say in the matter, and all ideas are welcome. Since you’ve already put in so much work discovering yourself, you can start to identify the kind of career that appeals to you the most. Create lists for narrowing down your choices and categorise them according to what’s most important to you. ‘Most fun’, ‘most lucrative’, ‘most fulfilling’ are all great launchpads.

Step 5: PROTOTYPE

Once you have isolated a few career options, your next step is to get a sense of what they feel like in real life. Your equivalent to building a prototype, in this case, would be to set up an informational interview with someone in the industry you desire, go to a workshop, or meet with a mentor. Do whatever that is in your power to gain some real world insight into the careers you have picked. Pay close attention to the pros and cons of each industry so as to make informed decisions about how to move forward.

Step 6: TEST

Testing out your career choices allows you to validate your findings of what career you think you desire and what might be a good fit for you. It is also a way to confront any limiting beliefs you have about what career options might be impractical, unrealistic or beyond your skill set.

Design thinking is an enjoyable process that can be applied to any aspect of your life with many benefits. The principles ensure that there is something to test and learn from to keep you moving forward.

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