In today’s increasingly volatile and complex business environment, project teams need new tools and models to operate in a more flexible, discovery-driven capacity. Design Thinking has gained prominence amongst innovative organizations as a powerful technique for delivering innovative solutions that delight their customers.
Design Thinking enables project teams to solve business problems by following an iterative process and focusing on their user’s standpoint.
But what exactly is Design Thinking?
There are many different thoughts on Design Thinking. Is it an innovative mindset? Is it a methodology or approach? Is it a practice? Or is it all of the above?
From the outside it can seem confusing and unpractical. But in fact, Design Thinking is a very practical, user-centric methodology that embraces trial and error and the immediate feedback that teams achieve through user testing and validation of prototypes.
The good thing is that Design Thinking is not an exclusive property of designers. All great innovators in literature, art, music, science, architecture, engineering, and business have practiced it.
Design Thinking will help you move your teams from status quo to innovation.
“Design thinking is a system that uses the designer’s sensibility and methods to match people’s needs with what is technologically feasible and what a viable business can convert into consumer value and market opportunity.” — Tim Brown, IDEO
Let’s examine some of the key attributes of Design Thinking:
- Problem solving approach – Design Thinking helps organizations and teams focus on the right problems to solve. It helps to systematically move from “what is” to “what could be”.
- User-centric methodology – At the heart of Design Thinking is the aim to improve products and services by analyzing and understanding how users interact with products/services and investigating the environments in which they operate. Design Thinking helps teams to maintain focus on the user throughout the discovery and development process. By deeply understanding the user’s environment and interactions with the product or service, this helps with prioritizing direction and ultimately the right solution.
- Experiment with trial and error – A key attribute of Design Thinking is sharing concepts and ideas in a physical form. Often, initial concepts will miss the mark and will require teams to adjust or even reject early ideas all together. The ability to experiment and take small risks early in the development process will save the business from more costly mistakes later on.
- Iterative testing with prototypes – Similar to other contemporary methodologies, Design Thinking places great emphasis on testing concepts and prototypes with intended users well in advance of formal launch. Iterating on concepts and early designs helps teams to zero in on what the user really wants/needs and removes unnecessary waste from later in the process.
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