By Eliot Kersgaard and Braeden Miguel
In May 2014, in a design thinking certificate course, two of the Myra Makes founders met for the first time. In this crash course in design thinking (sometimes called empathy based design or human based design) taught through Design Stanford, Ted and Braeden learned a lot about designing for the human experience and laid the foundation for years of friendship and collaboration.
At the end of that summer, Ted and Eliot met through the biomimicry club, a student group dedicated to inspiring people and developing the tools needed to apply the patterns of nature to our lives. These two design systems, biomimicry and empathy based design, are at the core of how we operate as a company. We’d like to share a little bit about what we think they are and how we apply them in our operations. While presented in a linear way, understand that in reality, design can’t happen linearly, and through a process of iteration and exploration, we bounce between the different steps all the time:
|Empathy Based Design||Biomimicry|
|Define problem or area of interest||Define system of interest|
|Start with the user: what do they need?||Scoping the system: what is the current state of affairs?|
|Survey available options: what is missing?||Define the functions that need to be fulfilled|
|Rapid ideation: how can we solve this problem?||Research biological systems that accomplish the function|
|Prototyping and testing: create proof of concept models and test them with the users||Find patterns in how biology approaches the problem|
|Return to step 2||Ideation: how can we apply these patterns to our system?|
|Prototyping and testing: create something, see if it works, ensure it actually follows the patterns you identified|
|Return to step 3|
So what does all this mean for us? It means that we place our users first, focus on function, and seek to create designs that will harmonize with other healthy systems. Stay tuned for more in-depth looks at our design process! For now, you can find create resources on these design systems on our old Boulder Biomimicry website and from the Stanford D School.