Ali Cainiao Design thinking sharing session – ‘the first design thinking lesson for young people’

On the morning of 19 December, two UED designers from Cainiao Network of Alibaba Group Company, Dave and Sanyang, came to the School of Design of Hunan University to give the teachers and students ‘the first design thinking lesson for young people’ and share the lecture with the theme of design thinking and service design. The lecture was presided over by Hu Ying, the lecturer of service design and business model in Hunan University. Lasted for two and a half hours, the activity attracted many students from our academy and other majors.

The lecture was divided into three parts: 1. Dave, the head of the Design Thinking team of Cainiao, introduced the content and application of Design Thinking. 2.Sanyang, the experience and service designer of Cainiao UED, shared his thoughts and practical cases about service design thinking. 3.Ask questions on the spot.

Dave first started from the essential concept of design, combined with the specific practice of design process and the propositions of various well-known design companies, demonstrated for students that design thinking really exists in our design activities and plays an important role. He believes that the most important skill for designers is the ability to solve complex problems. Therefore, design thinking can be a powerful weapon for designers to provide a clear idea for solving a series of complex design problems.

He cited the internal use of Cainiao design thinking patterns as an example, which mainly includes four stages, namely ‘definition -- exploration -- prototype – evaluation’. Definition phase: define goals and outputs; exploration stage: what are users' pain points; prototype stage: scene presentation, supplemented with details; evaluation phase: internal solution and optimization, external feedback and data.

He stressed that it is not difficult to understand and use the tool of design thinking, but difficult to ‘practice and precipitation’. Practice refers to the fact that people can use this set of thinking mode to solve any design problem or even life problems, while precipitation refers to the fact that long-term training of design thinking can cultivate people's insight so as to more accurately hit the point, which is the core meaning of design thinking.

In addition, he also gave a brief introduction to the Cainiao Design Thinking workshop. He said that in-house workshops were a highly efficient collaborative format, and often many people who had attended still ask to attend again to improve the quality of the design output.

Sanyang focused on applying design thinking to service design. He first clarified the concept of service design for students, namely ‘systematic solution of user experience problems’. He pointed out that there was an inevitable connection between service design and design thinking, and quoted the well-known design company IDEO that ‘service design is based on design thinking’. According to the characteristics of service design, he summarized how to carry out service design in three aspects: 1. Full-link thinking; 2. Multi-role perspective; 3. Design thinking derivation.

After theoretical discussion, Sanyang focused on an actual case of Cainiao company, that is, a project of Cainiao overseas purchasing business——American Desert Hills Outlets Shopping Center. In his presentation, he explained that the initial focus of the project was biased, which led to difficulties in the subsequent work. After re-examination with design thinking, they found that they did not pay attention to the real needs of users before, so they adjusted the design goals. Through this process from failure to success, Sanyang showed the importance of design thinking in service design to students.

After the sharing of the two designers' lectures, teacher Hu Ying, the host of the lecture, summarized the content of the report and expounded her own thinking from the perspective of the course. Afterwards, many audiences asked questions about their bewilderments and the content of the lecture. The two designers actively communicated with the students and the atmosphere was pretty warm.

Dave: Currently working at Alibaba Cainiao UED, an expert in experience design and creativity. Head of rookie Design Thinking team. Committed to the practice and promotion of design theory, good at experience and creative execution through design strategy. He is also keen on the practice of Design Education.

San-yang: Experience and service designer of Alibaba Cainiao UED, master of service design from Tongji University and Politecnico di Milano. With an interdisciplinary background in communication and design, good at service design methodology and tools, able to do systematical experience design and embrace new technology trends.