If you’re just joining us within our design thinking series, we recommend starting your reading at our first post of the series, Design Thinking Exercise in Real-World Application. There, we cover the purpose behind our team’s design thinking, empathy-building exercise.

Specifically, this article will cover the challenge, insights, and recommendations of Persona A, Kristi: 20-year-old student at ASU going for lunch (walking).

The challenge

Persona A, a 20-year-old student at ASU going for lunch (walking), faced the challenge of finding a dining option that met the following criteria:

  • Relatively low prices
  • Walkable from campus
  • Healthy options
  • Casual
  • Not too busy—i.e. would allow customer to hangout for a bit after eating before next class begins
  • Not a quick and cheap sandwich spot like Jimmy John’s

The insights

Our team’s design thinking, empathy-building exercise generated the following insights regarding customers who frequent the same ‘neighborhood’ area (e.g. Tempe’s Mill Ave., Chicago’s Lincoln Park, Portland’s The Pearl, etc.) on a regular basis:

  • Customers are overwhelmed by the number of dining options and don’t want to consider all options.
  • Customers are annoyed by internet searches resulting in restaurants they have zero interest in.
  • Customers find themselves going back to the same place(s) because they cannot easily find recommendations that fit their requirements amongst myriad of choices.

The solution

At the intersection of these insights is where the idea for a new application, tentatively named “In The Hood,” stemmed from.

“In The Hood” would house neighborhood areas, or hoods, from around the country that include all dining options within said hood. Users would create profiles, choose the specific hood(s) they’re interested in, and create one or more customizable ‘moods’ (e.g. lunch spots for in between classes, cheap dinner, etc.) based on personal preference and needs by answering a series of questions.

While more time would be required upfront for users to fill out their profile, the end-result would provide them with a quick and easy way to find dining options based on their given ‘mood,’ or what they care about in that instance.

Examples of hoods include:

  • Mill Ave (Tempe, AZ)
  • Lincoln Park (Chicago, IL)
  • The Pearl (Portland, OR)

In conclusion

As we noted earlier, it is practice that makes perfect. Practice, not just in the sense of using design thinking skills, but in experiencing the results of design thinking and building confidence in the fact that they do indeed often, if not in general, lead to unforeseen insights and solutions.